Striving for the Top Position

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Today’s television shows will have one to believe that mediocrity and ignorance is to be lauded. I’m guilty of viewing mindless television, but even I was taken aback by a script I read outlining a speech given by the lead character on the “Being Mary Jane” scripted television show on BET.

While I didn’t watch the show, my inner nerd was satisfied with reading the various articles and reviews of what occurred last night. In essence, the lead character gave a speech at a women’s luncheon lamenting that it’s acceptable to play the #2 position because it allow one to receive the benefits of the #1 spot without all of the pressures associated with maintaining the top position. She stated that while girls are taught to go after the highest marks in life, second best is acceptable.

On the surface, this perspective may seem realistic, as from a business standpoint, there is typically only one CEO, but being Vice President of the company isn’t too shabby either. If one were to delve a bit deeper, it would be apparent that winning and achieving in life is about striving for the top. We give our best because we deserve the best. I’m fortunate to have had a boss early in my career who trained me with the mindset that I should be trying to take his job. It wasn’t about me wanting his job, but he was speaking to the level of excellence that was to be demonstrated through my work ethic, as that is what would become my professional reputation.

The same is true in romantic relationships: strive to be number one in a person’s life because that is what you deserve and that will be your personal reputation, your character. With relationships it’s somewhat different because much of the work one puts in is with themselves. Becoming the best person you can possibly be, loving yourself unconditionally, and treating yourself with the utmost respect is the prototype for how others will treat you. The number two position isn’t for those who learn from and capitalize on the mistakes of number one, as Miss Mary Jane presumes; the second string player is typically the one who enters the game when there’s an obvious blowout and the win has been secured or if the star player is injured and they must resort to the next best thing. The second string doesn’t start the game because they aren’t considered the premier pick and when a win occurs, it’s usually the first string who will still receive the majority of attention. Why? Because we need the best to get back on his or her feet so that we can continue our winning streak. The best is who we count on to be that clutch player, the one with the highest salaries, the big endorsement deals, and the public recognition.

So while television will mislead one into believing that second best is okay, please recognize that accepting a lower ranking position with the mindset of being better than the top person, means that subconsciously you know that you are the lesser than striving for the top spot. More poignantly, if you do secure that top spot, you will then have the luxury of experiencing an opening in your position. Further, and this is for my younger followers: know that these celebrities and people who appear to have it all have paid a price for that appearance. The highest price is usually peace of mind. They may have big bank accounts, houses, fancy clothing and shoes, but what you don’t see is them numbing themselves with drugs and alcohol because they didn’t find the happiness they’re still longing for in these material possessions. They don’t post on social media the loneliness they feel due to not have genuine, authentic relationships. Remember: all that glitters isn’t gold, so don’t be fooled by facades.

If true love and happiness is your aim, start by loving, respecting and honoring yourself enough to know you deserve only the best life has to offer. When you build up yourself with the best, you will be strong enough to push away anything and anyone who isn’t able to meet you where you are, accepting those things and people who are willing to match and/or exceed your efforts.

Sincerely,
Shanika

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