Here is a quick pop quiz: Does this sound like someone at the top of her field?

  • Does not seek attention;
  • Prefers collaboration to competition;
  • Is quick to give credit to others on her team;
  • Does not have a lot of followers on social media;
  • Is not seen at VIP section of prestigious events;
  • No magazine cover;
  • More interested in the end result and in the challenge of the work than in promoting herself; or
  • Whenever she is asked about herself, she invariably replies with “we” instead of “I.”

According to society’s norms, there is no way these are traits of a successful person.

These are traits of invisibles, the unknowns.

Success for my parents and many other parents, was having a fair day’s work to do, for a fair day’s pay.

Success was having money left in your pay packet at the end of the week after the bills were paid.

Success was having the means to take care of your family and contribute to your community, often in ways that were not measured in rands and cents.

Success was doing work you were proud to have done.

Now success is measured in every conceivable data point and by comparison.

We try to keep pace and outdo each other, forgetting that how we measure success is a choice.

Success does not have to manifest in the form of million rands launches, grander titles, the most followers, or in the business class lounge.

Loudest does not always win.

In fact, some of the most successful people you know whisper.

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