I remember the first time I met Simon Sinek (he definitely won’t). I was in the Green Room at Winfield House, home to the US Ambassador to the UK (currently Matthew Barzun – my old employer). We were about to have one of our final meetings before our annual International Women’s Day Dialogue. There were about 12 women and 2 men in the room, Simon being one of them. I am not one for being easily daunted by celebrities or power but I am daunted by success. And in the room that day, there was a fog of success circulating Simon. A fog so thick, it made me question every achievement I had ever conquered in my life. Suddenly, when I looked back on the things that I had done, everything was just so…. insignificant and almost worthless.
Last week, just before we all involuntarily jumped onto the band wagon that is now 2017, Simon was interviewed on Inside Quest and we were told that we would learn the following from said interview:
- Why everyone has the capacity to be a leader.
- How to create environments that foster success.
- Identifying the signs of bad leadership.
- The meaning of courage.
- How to measure leadership.
- Why creating a work family is so important.
- Why we all have the right to love our jobs.
- Why Millennials struggle with career success.
The interview is an hour long. I made the mistake of watching it on my iPhone. Rather ironic when it reached section 8, perhaps the most informative part for me and the part of which I plan to discuss. Not because I didn’t find any of the other points equally as interesting, rather that section 8 is everything that is wrong with me.
There are three words which stand out for me in this video: ‘entitled’, ‘purpose’ and ‘lazy’. I remember when I was younger, my parents promised me the world IF I worked hard enough to earn my place in it. I still haven’t done that. I remember the talks we were subjected to at school, before our UCAS days of applying to university, “You can have anything you want in life if you just go and get it.” Well no, actually I couldn’t and I STILL can’t. I also, if ever given the choice, don’t want it. Immature, selfish and egotistical, I felt entitled that I should get the grades I wanted and not deserved. The body I wanted and not ate for. The friends I was easily rude to but never tried hard enough to keep. I was just lazy.
My parents were just incredible and I don’t think I have ever told them that. They challenged me and irritated me and questioned my judgements and supported my ever-fluctuating dreams. In hindsight now, they were more infatuations that dreams. A bit like having a boyfriend in your teens. You change your mind as soon as another boy walks into the room and remotely looks your way.
I stopped trying at school to the point I failed all my mock exams and my parents suspended me! But not by taking me out of school, but by keeping me in there. Every evening for an extra two hours and five hours on Saturdays. I was never allowed to leave the school grounds, apart from once to my grandfather’s house. I hated them. I hated what they were doing to me. I hated me for behaving like I did. I love them for sticking with it. Because without them, I wouldn’t have come this far. But the journey is, by no means, complete.
So no Simon, I don’t agree that ‘bad parenting’ is the reason I am the way I am. I am the reason I am the way I am. My sister is the reason she is a millennial. My friends are their own reason for being millennials. We are the unshakable generation of millennials where we struggle to shift this reputation we have created for ourselves.
As I sit here, writing this on my rather comfortable sofa suffering from the January lurgy, my phone still rests next to me, on loud. My notifications for Instagram and Facebook and emails are still on. I justify it in my head that it is for work purposes (I do PR, Marketing and Social Media), that I must be contactable at all stages just.in.case. The truth is I am addicted to this life. I am addicted to contacting my friends through avenues and apps created by my peers, my age group, my parents’s age group.
I am terrible on my phone. I have seen worse, but it hit a nerve when Simon discussed self-gratification. Of course I have opened my Instagram when someone else likes my picture. It wasn’t enough the first time when it popped up like a banner on my locked home screen, that I had to open the app (again) to see it refresh my likes.
Of course I have clicked on Mark Zuckerburg’s infamous F symbol whenever a red number appears next to it. You never know, we may even click on each other’s profiles afterwards to find out more about their lives. Their lives we will only ever really know through pictures and emoticons. How shallow we have all become.
It would be impossible to revert back to the 1990s: before mobiles existed; where yo-yos were a novelty; when writing letters were encouraged (my future children will not be escaping this art); where we fought over who would be which Spice Girl in the playground; where we spoke to each other, face-t0-face, at whatever age, in whatever situation. Don’t give your children an iPad to make them shut up – parent them, teach them what is right and wrong. Giving them a machine isn’t going to solve the long-term issues you are immediately subjecting them to by shoving a shiny, electronic screen under their snotty noses. (Sorry, but it’s true).
It’s a good thing Simon has been so successful as he has set himself the challenge of buying 7.4 billion alarm clocks. I hope I am on his list.
Someone else just liked my latest post on Insta. Best just unlock my phone again to refresh my feed. How conflicting.
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