Doing the Work vs. Wanting the Recognition

Black Woman At Laptop 2 Chs
Black Woman At Laptop 2 Chs

Growing up, I wanted to be a lot of things (doctor, astronaut, Janet Jackson’s backup dancer). But chief among them, I wanted to be famous. And not just a little famous, I'm talking Beyoncé famous. It wasn't enough to just enough to be a writer, I wanted to be the BEST writer. I wanted the fame and glory that came along with being at the top of my game. I wanted the recognition.

And, to be perfectly honest, it's something I still crave. Lately, I've been obsessed with making a 30 under 30 list. Even before the Forbes 30 Under 30 list debuted earlier this week, I’ve been plotting how I could someday land on one of these coveted lists.

Seeing as how I recently turned 28, I'm on a bit of a tight deadline here. And while I know that the work I'm doing to encourage and empower young girls is more important than receiving the recognition for it, I suppose a part (okay, all) of me still desires to see my name in lights. It's only human nature and I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with wanting that.

My downfall, however, has been allowing this notion to overcome my thoughts and emotions so much so that I feel twinges of jealousy whenever I see someone doing something similar to me and getting the accolades that I crave so much. It's like that Dane Cook joke, "I want that, why not me?!"

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not taking anything away from the people who are on these lists or saying they don’t serve their success. Not at all. I totally got my Taraji P. Henson on when I saw some of the bloggers I know and love in the media section of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and gave them their props on social media.

I truly believe that when one of us wins, we all win. And I definitely believe in supporting my sisters. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want my own shine every once in awhile. I am a millennial, after all, and patience isn’t exactly the most popular virtue among my generation. I want it all and I want it NOW!

Yet, I have to remind myself that I'm only 28. God willing, I have a long life ahead of me … more than enough time to do something great, whatever that may be. Conversely, if this is all over tomorrow I can say I’m content with the life I’ve lived and the legacy I’ll leave behind.

As my husband so rightly points out (and, man, do I hate it when he's right), hearing a young girl tell me I made a difference in her life is far more rewarding than any list will ever be. It's not tangible. I can't add it to my LinkedIn profile, put in on a plaque or hang the certificate in my future office (still in cubicle-land for now), but the value is so much more significant.

Besides, "It's better to have God approve, than the world applaud." Okay, okay, I get it.

So, for now, I'll keep my head down and focus on doing the work. The recognition will come eventually, or it won't. But I'll work on enjoying the process rather than focusing on the outcome. Because at the end of the day, life is really about using your God-given talents to make the world a better place. And besides, there’s always 40 Under 40! ;)

(Photo via CreateHERStock)