Ah, bonjour mes amis! No, bazaar Magazine is not becoming French, otherwise they would be surrendering to the market trend (see what I did there? If you didn’t see, it’s a WW2 reference). It just seemed very fitting to greet you in French, as the title of this article is also in French.
Q: What do these three French words mean?
A: Always higher, ever higher, or higher and higher.
It’s an expression that I have always applied to my life. Whatever I accomplish or work on, the moment I finish it I think: How can I do it bigger next time? Standing still petrifies me. Comfort makes me ache, and arrogance makes me sick.
Arrogance is a killer of careers, a killer of advancement and an assassin of growth. It plays off your brain as a form of reward: I’m a status, I accomplished therefore I can position myself better. Yet accomplishment is never a destination, it’s a journey (I’ll wait, as you grab a tissue to relieve your tears from the depth of that sentence).
Every time I reach a milestone, I look back at previous ones and think: If this, today, is better than that which I did yesterday, then I am sure that what I would accomplish tomorrow will be way better than today’s results. And that thought makes me understand and grasp the concept of a journey versus arriving at a destination.
There is no one universal status that is maintainable, look at Hollywood for example. Choose any director or actor who’s an OG with classics under their belt and track back to their entire career. You would be shocked to find that you’ve probably never heard of some of their works, or that they weren’t well received, even though they were established as a respectable crafts-person (feminist points for me). The one exception to that rule is: Meryl Streep. Don’t ask, just accept it.
Therefore, being on top of the game, or a top MVP does not guarantee durability nor does it translate into “sit down, we’ll get everything you need or want”. It’s when you’re at the top that you need to work harder and stronger and further into your dream or company or career or whatever the case may be.
Hard work pays off either financially or mentally, respectively in success or failure. Financial success isn’t lasting and neither is status. Work hard. Work harder. Then work harder-ER. Work, until you need to get to the ER (pun score: 72627 gazillion points).
I said it before, I’ll say it again: survival is not only in favor of the fittest, but also in favor of the bold. And being at the top and working as if you’re in the bottom, is the highest ranking bold status there is.
It’s probably at this point that Yasmine, (Yes, you Yasmine. My editor at bazaar) might be wondering: what prompted him to even write this piece? Well, as we are moving to our new office, and working on the interior and painting the walls. This was when my business partner (also my friend) and I met with a friend as we were leaving, and she asked us a question to which its answer had me thinking all afternoon: Why don’t you hire someone and pay them to paint the interiors for you?
Now my in-the-moment answer was: I love painting, plus I have the time. But the thought kept bouncing around in my brain all day since that encounter.
Go and check every story of every huge company out there, companies that were able to make a difference in their industry and in their generation, not one of their stories started with “We hired a painter to paint our office .” The story always began with “we did it all by ourselves in the beginning”.
Now, our company is not fresh, this is our fourth year, but it is still very young and very small. To some, it might be big, but compared to our dream, it’s still very small. And when it becomes an empire, because we dream big and work for it, I want my partner or myself to be giving a public speech to the youth and be able to look back and say: We painted it ourselves. Then immediately, look forward and ask ourselves: “Now, what could be higher than this?”
Toujours plus haut. Paint away, my friends.
Photo by Yoann Siloine on Unsplash.