Hiding Success

This space we find ourselves, in Accra, Ghana, West Africa – is a weird space.  Don’t get me wrong, I try my best not to point to my village with my left finger. It is after all, the place where most of my dreams have come true.  It is where I have found my passion and fulfilment in life and I am so grateful to God and to Ghana for the opportunities I probably would not have found elsewhere.

In this journey of challenges, it has always been important to me the documentation of our individual journeys.  This is not to come across as boastful or prideful, but with sincere gratitude to create a lighthouse of entrepreneurial and or personal success for the young ones who have pushed their little boats out to sea not to crash onto the rocks of failure.

Or even when they do crash, to realise, that it is not the end of a dream, because the journey sometimes will entail changing your sails many times, and setting to sea from different shores.

A few months ago, a very successful man who had carefully curated a lifetime of memories for his beloved Mrs, had his name dragged through the mud by his own fellow Ghanaians.  And yet, we are pleased for the big film stars that we are never likely to meet when they finally have babies, or get listed on the Forbes list.  It’s okay for ‘others’ to have blindingly successful lives but not Kofi next door or Ama  up the street.  We must all be on the same level or better still on the ground.  Where does this mindset come from?  Can we think about that? Why do we say, “Oh small, small,” when people ask us how business is doing? Because we are afraid of people’s response to our success. Society cringes when we boldly say we are doing good.

There is an older woman at church that I have approached several times.  I so want to write her story. How she has become such a business success and how she has balanced her strong Christian principles and her role as a wife and a mother.

Each time I have approached her, she has firmly and politely said no.  I asked her a few months ago and decided I wouldn’t push it any more.  So where are the role models?  Who are our young ones looking up to?  Oprah?  The Kardashians? Beyonce? 

One is so reluctant to share news of success and so unwilling to discuss what’s happening in our lives. This is because the very people you are hoping to encourage are not open to that encouragement.  I discuss this a lot with my young folk, the lack of documentation, books on entrepreneurs and other role models and to be fair, I see that a few people are sharing their lives stories which is awesome. 

Yesterday I had a message from a young woman and this inspired me to write this. The Good Book tells us to shine our lights and not to hide under bushels and based on that I hope that we find the strength to make an impact and inspire one another.  I think even if one does not want to publicly share secrets to success, having one on ones with the young and upcoming, honestly talking about struggles, encouraging, strengthening and inspiring can make a difference to lives.   It can take people onto the path of success which is crucial for the well-being of all Ghanaian’s for we should be as best as we can, each other’s keeper.

Photograph by Steve Ababio

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