In a world where anyone and everyone can have a platform and call themselves ‘influential’, where ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ can be bought and sold, where trends come and go as quickly as the seasons, what differentiates and characterises the high-profile women (and those who identify as women) amongst us who are truly successful?
Influence has become a commodity and is highly sought after. The truth is real success depends on the substance of your influence. Many women have been sold the idea that they need to ‘prove’ their influence through achieving certain parameters or metrics. Contrary to popular belief, finding yourself on an expansive public platform with access to an audience of millions, or on the ‘top 10 list’ of the moment doesn’t mean you’ve ‘made it.’ In fact, there is no such thing as destination ‘made it’ – not even for Oprah.
This means many women dedicate their lives to achieving a certain threshold of success, only to get there and feel kind of… Empty. They realise their brand looks more successful on the outside, than what it is on the inside, and the prospect of anyone discovering the truth about that is terrifying.
The secret is that true success is all about longevity. Your clients, fans and audiences are always assessing whether you’re the kind of leader they want to remain loyal to and they will expect you to constantly deliver to higher standards in order to maintain the privilege of their trust. In order to not only survive in this environment, but thrive, requires you to learn to play the long game.
Not the short game. Not the loudest game. Not the game scored with vanity metrics. Not the instant gratification game. Not the today game. Not the popular game. The long game.
What are three key components that define the long game?
1. Thinking beyond what you’re selling today
Regardless of the type of work you do as a brand, whether you’re a politician, a world-famous tennis player, a high-profile comedian, an entrepreneur, a television presenter, a member of royalty, you’re always selling something. Being truly successful involves understanding that what you sell goes beyond what you do, and especially beyond what you’re doing today. It expands into what your legacy is and the unique movement you’re building outside of your day to day work. It requires you to think beyond how the world exists today and into the future, and your role in not only shaping that, but pioneering it.
If we consider an artist like P!nk, she’s thinking beyond the music people love her for and expanding into human identity, expression, equality, empowerment and redefining beauty. She’s created the kind of brand that people are heavily invested into, regardless of whether they love her music or not – and unapologetically bucking all the trends in the process.
True success is really about creating a brand that’s timeless instead of passively evolving through the times. Are you existing amongst what is, or creating the future?
2. Toiling until the world can’t ignore you anymore
You won’t find truly successful women labelling themselves the number one expert in anything nor demanding that the world pay attention to what they’re offering.
Instead, they understand that it’s their market who determines when they are considered an expert and they fully surrender to this undertaking. Getting better results than anyone else in their industry is a non-negotiable and they’ll continue serving and toiling until the world simply can’t ignore them anymore.
Their toiling includes learning and implementing the art of positioning and leveraging their work in value add, strategic ways; always in a clever, forward-thinking fashion.
3. Trusting patience is your greatest ally
In the fast and furious world of mass production and quick fixes, the key to effectively achieving the long game is a deep investment in patience. True high-quality leaders understand that patience is about endurance - it was never meant to feel good in the moment. You therefore won’t find them chasing instant gratification or ‘feel good quick hits.’
In fact, the most revered leaders have an unshakable service mentality and often sacrifice personal accolade for their mission. They understand that the work they’re doing is usually ‘before the times.’ This means they understand that fundamental change may not be readily understood, accepted or adopted. In fact, it may mean the work they’re doing won’t become widely recognised until after they’ve died – and that’s a sacrifice they’re prepared to make.
What are you prepared to sacrifice today to be the kind of unforgettable leader we’ll remember long into the future?
Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.