You won’t often find me quoting Meek Mill. This may actually be the first and last time. But I was thinking lately that there are indeed “levels to this ish” when it comes to dreams and aspirations and all that good stuff. Now, he may have been talking about chains and cars and whatever else rappers talk about these days, but I am talking about how at each new level you achieve there will ALWAYS be another waiting for you.
You work your butt off. I mean you put in the long hours, you miss friend’s birthday parties, and all the other sacrifices that comes along with pursuing your dreams. It’s all to get to this imaginary place called “Made It.” That moment when you can say confidently that you made it, whatever it may be. You think that you’re hot stuff. You got in Door A. And you’re strolling through heading to Door B, like “Haha, I made it suckas, see you at the other side,” only to have your access denied at Door B.
What’s the deal here? So you’ve scrapped and scrambled to make it up out of wherever you were trying to escape from only to find out that there are more doors and each one has a different swipe key. And though you thought that you were on the inside with your key to Door A, it’s worthless when trying to get into Door B.
Some of you get where I am going, but I know others are like, “Ashley, what the heck are you talking about?” What I mean is that no matter how much success we obtain, there will always be another bouncer in the club of life telling us that we don’t have the credentials for this particular door. For example, you’re a singer and your hit finally takes off. It’s getting played all around the country, you’re setting up your tour but it’s opening for a better known act like a K. Michelle. Time passes, you kill the tour and now you’re on K. Michelle level. You finally get an invite to the GRAMMYs but you go and can’t get access to any of the parties. The next year, you get into the parties but when trying to get into the VIP of the party they tell you, “Well, you’re not Beyoncé.” So then you have to become Beyoncé. So you see the point of this story is that we all have to become Beyoncé. Just kidding.
But in either case, you see what happens here? There is ALWAYS a level someone won’t think you’re on and they won’t want to give you the respect you deserve because of it. I mean come on, we’ve seen it on numerous occasions. Kanye is Kanye but he is not Ralph Lauren and so the designers turn their noses up. (I mean this was before the holy shirts. None of us get that.) Then you have Oprah, who still gets thrown shade at the Hermes store because clearly being Oprah isn’t enough. So this leads me to some very important conclusions about how we must navigate this journey to whatever we have defined as success.
First and foremost, remain humble at all times. Some people don’t like the idea of humility because it makes them think that they are supposed to think lowly about themselves and only want meager things. But that’s just not really how humility works practically. I find a great way to sustain humility is remembering at all times that you still have to poop like the next man. I know I am on a roll here but just come with me. No matter what, no matter how much success we have obtained, no one has figured out a way not to have to sit on the throne in the most humbling stances with pants around their ankles. I think that in itself is enough to keep you humble.
If that is not enough for you, then just think of Jesus as the example. Jesus was dope. Way doper than any of us. Yet he remained humble here on Earth. Allowed them to call him names, drag his name through the mud and endured many more heinous acts. If the son of GOD, like GOD, can humble himself, then my friend, so can you. At each new stage just try to stay in remembrance of where you came from and remember that each milestone and each success is a blessing and not something to be taken lightly.
Secondly, I will always scream from the mountain tops that you have to know who you are outside of what you do. See when you don’t know your identity, someone slamming a door in your face or telling you that you are not “good enough” to attend a certain party or whatever it is will CRUSH you. But when you know who and whose you are, you know that your value is not dictated by people. You will be way better off spending time getting to know your value because you were created as opposed to basing it off of the accolades you may have been able to obtain.
Lastly, enjoy each step! We are in such a rush, to get here or to get there and how many of us have gotten to a certain point and realized it wasn’t quite as great as we may have thought when we were striving to get there? *Raises hand slowly* I remember that I couldn’t wait to make the type of money that I make now at my job. And now that I am here, I want to make more money! It doesn’t even seem like enough, yet it is the most I’ve ever made in my life. Can you say ungrateful? Either way, it just goes to show that in some ways certain milestones that we set for ourselves can be a little lack luster if we put more stock in them then they deserve.
Take your time. Success really is a journey as cliché as it is to say. It’s the truth. I spent so much time rushing the next thing and at 29, I find I am now trying to SLOW it down. I want to take my time. I want to enjoy the days. I want to make mistakes and learn from them and get better each day and each year. I want to love more and travel more and do a lot more things than just work. You can’t take it with you people! My hope is just to be able to make enough money from my passions to have options, to have freedom, and to be impactful. The rat race is for the birds my friend. Because there will always be someone waiting to tell you something contrary to what you believe about yourself.
Click To Tweet/// There will always be someone waiting to tell you something contrary to what you believe about yourself.
What do you think? Have you noticed there are levels to this ish? LOL. Tell me about it in the comments.