Today it finally dawned on me that I am not a managing director, neither am I a business person. I might just be an entrepreneurial thinker only. Someone with lots of ideas, but I struggle to have a plan to monetise my ideas or come up with elaborate business plans to make it work.
If I am really honest with myself, I knew this from the minute I raised my hand to be the managing director. I raised my hand because I thought my energy and motivational abilities would be able to bring back the excitement into the business environment I was operating in. I thought enthusiasm and mentoring by others who have been at it for a while would pull me through.
So what do I do now? Where does this leave me? Do I feel like I failed? On some level I think that I did. Because after all, a business is a business, and if you can’t meet the bottom line or grow the business exponentially, then you have failed.
Do I feel like I succeeded? On some level I think I did. I proved, even if just to myself, to never allow others to define you. I did the job the way I thought best. I enthused, I grew my confidence, I started believing that I am badass in what I can achieve when I put my mind to it.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to know it all to do the job. I’ve also learned that your challenges should be turned into opportunities. At every juncture of a business there is the ever present question, ‘What’s your plan?’ – four of the most feared words in my life since starting a company. And now I’m 55, what is next for me? Who am I at 55? What will I do at 55?
I know for sure that the plan for me is to be a teacher. My childhood desire was to become a preacher, to have a podium, to have people listen to me and be inspired to live their best lives. Growing up black meant that there wasn’t a lot to aspire to other than teacher, nurse, or preacher. I was a teacher for ten years after finishing university. I had a class full of eager minds to inspire, so a preacher of some sorts. I left it to enter the corporate world and eventually started my own business with two partners.
Like I said, today I know for sure that I am ready for the next phase of my life. I have to get back to what my main drive is: to leave a legacy; to be a conduit for other women to realise their own potential. To inspire and engage. That’s the plan.
That’s the one thing I’ve learned being 55. Be honest, tell the truth about the stuff you go through, get angry, and get over it, never allow yourself to be a one-dimensional caricature of a being.
I am a complex, messy person with lots of challenges and shortcomings, but I have a spirit that will survive.
… and now I’m going to cry a little.
‘I have been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.’ – Randy Crawford
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