Two weeks ago, billionaire and black girl magic extraordinaire, Oprah Winfrey, sat down with British Vogue editor-and-chief, Edward Enninful for her July cover feature to discuss a range of topics, from advice to her younger self to her hopes for the future. Amongst all the gems of knowledge, one tidbit stood out: she reminds young people that success does not happen overnight.
.@oprah ain't lie. https://t.co/p3gKf4hc0g— brian b.dot™ miller (@brian b.dot™ miller)1532110075.0
In response to Enninful's question, "What's the biggest frustration for you with young women in the world today?" Oprah explains:
"My biggest frustration is not just with young women, but young men, young people who think that success is supposed to happen *snaps* like that. They think there is not a process to it [and that] they're supposed to come out of college and have their brand. I recognize now that I have a brand, but I was resistant to be called a brand for many years… How I got to be a brand was every day making choices that felt like the right move, now that's the right move, and that's the right move… They don't understand that it is a process."
Yes, yes, and yes. We need to slow it down and reflect on our process. Society puts so much pressure on young people to figure everything out: "What do you do? What's your five-year plan? When will you have XYZ?" We're expected to have all the answers and take advantage of all possible opportunities, but it doesn't always work that way. Failure and uncertainty are important parts of the journey to success and the narratives we are constantly absorbing don't always paint the full story.
Later in the interview, both Oprah and Edward comment on how much pressure young people put themselves under, comparing themselves to the lives and stories of success we are constantly seeing on social media.
"You don't get to be the editor of Vogue magazine, by not working and working and working and working to get here. I love the theory of that there is 10,000 hours behind anyone who ever gets to be successful."
Behind every picture, every accolade, every #goals is a hustle, and likely a struggle, that will not make it to the headlines.
While it is so uplifting to see our peers and icons, both young and old, accomplishing amazing things, the majority of us are still figuring things out… and that's okay. This generation allows for unprecedented opportunities to succeed, but sometimes we just need to celebrate where we are right now and understand that there is no substitute for hard work.
Don't beat yourself up because you're not a self-made billionaire at 24 years old. Even Oprah had to serve her time and put in tremendous effort to succeed.
Take a deep breath, dust yourself off, speak your dreams into reality, and keep pushing forward. Success is a marathon not a sprint.
Edward Enninful Meets Oprah Winfrey | British Vogue www.youtube.com
Featured image via British Vogue/Still