When I was little, my dad told me so many stories, parables really, about tortoises. How the tortoise got its shell. How the tortoise outsmarted the snake. Or was it the fox? My memory is really bad, so I don’t remember the exact details of the stories but I do remember that despite their slowness, tortoises were clever, patient, and intentional. So in the spirit of this turtleneck outfit, here’s another African proverb to consider:
A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out.
Translation: You have to stick your neck out if you want to move forward in life. This hit me SO hard as the year winds down and I reflect on 2017. Here’s how this proverb has played out in my own life.
Camel Waistcoat and Turtleneck Outfit:
Uniqlo Turtleneck (old, similar black turtlenecks)
Zara Camel Waistcoat/Sleeveless Coat (old, similar)
Express Straight Cropped Jeans (sold out, similar)
Zara Nude Suede Pump (old, similar, investment option)
Gucci GG Marmont Mini Bag (more affordable options)
J.Crew Orbit Earrings (sold out, VERY similar)
I used to be the kind of person who always played it safe. I had a plan and I stuck to it. So much so that I stayed in bad relationships and friendships for months (if not years) after I knew they were draining me. Although there is safety in doing the same thing over and over again, or not venturing off the beaten path, sticking to the script can be dangerous. At best, it leaves you in the same place as you were before, making no progress. I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to look back on my life years from now and think, what’s changed?
As I’ve matured, I’ve taken more and more risks with myself, my relationships, and my business. If a friendship wasn’t fair to me, I started to let it go rather than being afraid of what my life would look like with fewer friends. I put aside my vision of what I wanted my husband to look like and do, and ended up with someone I could have never imagined myself with, yet is the very best person for me. I tried different jobs, side hustle ventures, and business ideas. Some never got off the ground, some are still in the works, and some failed. And that’s ok.
The most successful people take risks. They stick their necks out, knowing that they might get hurt or even fail miserably. But they realize that the only way to make progress is to take those risks, and to continue sticking their necks out, just like turtles do.