I have had a group of friends for almost two decades now. We all met about the first week at the university. Strangely, no two of us studied the same course. We also varied in size, looks, background and tribe. I believe that some of the bond stemmed from finding humour in the same things, same values and pure loyalty.
When the race to success began, everyone struggled to get ahead. We looked in the same newspapers. Not too much going on in the e-media at the time, no mobile phones even! Word of mouth job hunting was prevalent. It was always what someone said. Someone said Y-bank or company was recruiting.
We pressed on. Burnt the midnight candle studying GMAT; wrote, failed and passed the tests, and then finally got on with our careers. Two of my friends knew early they weren’t going to be involved in the pushing and shoving of the corporate world, they never joined us in our rush to test grounds or in photocopying one million newspapers. They never joined in the ride to Victoria Island in a neighbour’s car or to catch the office bus.
They were clear their paths were entrepreneurial. One chose to be a clothier and the other a serious trader. Despite all the seemingly interesting office stories, they stuck their ground. Entrepreneurship it was. The best they could do was being guests at our official parties, if we needed them. We the blue-collar workers (isn’t that what is it called?) trudged on in our different fields – some shone very early and it appeared they were brighter stars. Early promotions, early management positions, spokespersons for their companies, everything that put them in the limelight early. Others took their time, some did three job moves to be able to get to the top, and others stayed on in the same workplace for a period and more and then made it to the top.
Recently, we celebrated a high-profile position for one of us in the group. In the end, everyone got to a shoulder-to-shoulder level, in a way, the entrepreneurs inclusive. Now, I can’t speak for certain that everyone’s success results in a fat bank account – I wouldn’t be in a position to say so. I can say confidently though, that everyone understood early their definition of success and has a good place in their field of endeavour.
This brings home my personal mantra that there’s a place for everyone at the table of success. Everyone who has the right attitude and drive, that is. Time is the only factor separating one person’s success from the next. My faith speaks specially about times and seasons, and I find that so true. There’s a time for everyone to shine and otherwise. My friend Ms. A often reminds me there was no buzz louder than MC Hammers’ in the entertainment world in our time… while he may not have faded out, he is most certainly not a Jay–Z or Kanye of this time! …and there are late bloomers!
Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, was 43 when he began drawing his legendary super-heroes and his partner Jack Kirby was 44 when he created The Fantastic Four. Now, Spider-Man is one of the most popular comic figures, appearing in movies, comics, cartoons, colouring books, games, toys, and collectibles.
Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, was 66 when he began to promote his style of cooking and created an empire. It is worth mentioning that as a young man, he worked in a variety of jobs that had nothing to do with cooking – working first as a farmer, then as a steamboat pilot, and later as an insurance salesman.
Julia Child changed the way Americans approached food, introducing French cooking to the masses. If you have seen the movie “Julie and Julia” you know that Julia Child did not even learn to cook until she was 40, and she launched her first masterpiece cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking when she was nearly 50.
Andrea Bocelli, although he has loved music all of his life, did not start singing opera seriously until the age of 34. Some ‘experts’ told him it was too late to begin.
Oscar Swahn proved that even in sports age does not matter as much as desire to succeed. He won a gold medal during 1912 Olympics, becoming the best shooter in the world. He was 64 years old. He went on to compete in two more Olympics, winning silver at the 1920 Olympics. At age 72, he was not only the oldest Olympian ever, but also the oldest medalist.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses was a happy, long-time embroiderer until arthritis made it too painful and difficult. In 1935, at the age of 75, she first took up a paint brush. Her paintings were discovered in a drugstore window by a prominent collector in 1938, and a New York Gallery show led to world-wide fame.
Here at home, our own Fatai Rolling Dollars is still forging on at age 86, we could go on but with our eyes on the message – If you have not made your big break now, don’t postpone those dreams and goals any longer; get on with it – your place is waiting!