The question I have for you today is, are you raising the bar? For those of you who are not familiar with this term - raising the bar means 'To raise standards or expectations, especially by creating something to a higher standard'.
To get to where you are going you need to be intentional with every move, there are so many of us fighting for a common goal which is success but if we do not raise the bar then we will continue to achieve the same mediocre standard.
Ask yourself what you can do differently each week to make sure that you are raising the bar. You are certainly not competing with anyone but you definitely need to make sure that you are soaring in your lane. Elevation requires consistent work, you need to be working at your dream even when no one else is looking. You might not get an applause for a very long time but that doesn't mean that you stop improving your work, it means that you pat yourself on the back and keep raising your standard.
Do your homework!
I remember being at school and when I was given homework I would be so annoyed, 'why are these teachers giving me work to do at home?' like i had not done enough work at school already. The essence of doing your homework is to recap on what you already know and if there is something you do not understand, you would be able to ask for help the following day.
Homework showed where there was a weakness or lack of understanding.
Are you doing enough homework to find out the areas you need to improve on?
Homework is often done alone, it requires sacrificing time usually spent in front of the TV or other to do some extra research. Often homework is hard and can be unpleasantly boring or it can be surprisingly pleasant as you find out that you were upskilled already and doing quite well for yourself. When raising the bar, homework is quite a necessity! There is always room to grow and improve. There is always time to tell yourself how well you have done too!
The beauty of learning is that you are never too old or young to learn and you never stop learning.
Make sure you do your homework.
Check out this week's interview with menswear fashion designer and brand director Ama Bonsu.
So Ama, why menswear and what inspired you to start the brand?
My family! I was firstly introduced to fashion growing up as a young child going to the factory with my mum where she worked to see her make clothes for all these high end and high street designers every other weekend. She would sometimes bring some clothes home to finish off in order to meet the deadlines for the designer clients and from when I was a little child, all I remember was fashion around the house. My dad used to go shopping for fun! He would only buy high quality garments and would store them for months until an appropriate event came up to pop the tag! When he passed away, we found over 30 unworn designer items in his wardrobe! As I got older, I started noticing my older brothers would follow suit and come home with huge Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Harrods bags filled with the latest designers every week. They would take so much pride and excitement in styling the items they bought and it fascinated me. My older brother in particular was so conscious of the fit of his clothes especially trousers/jeans so he would always make my mum taper them so they were slim fit if they were too baggy or too loose in certain areas.
When I was 14/15, they both used to call me into their rooms and ask me for my opinion on what shoes, shirts or jackets they should wear their outfits with to an event they had planned to go to in the near future - and I loved it! Whenever my two brothers or my dad got dressed, they always always looked amazing and would command this presence when they walked into a room. Clothes would fit them perfectly and the fit of the clothes that they paid so much attention to, made the biggest difference in and among a crowd. From young, I knew I wanted to dress men for a living and give every man the confidence and reaction my brothers and dad got when they walked into a room - that's when I decided menswear was my love and passion!
Who inspires you/who do you look up to?
The fear of being average inspires me everyday! I know that God has called me to do something bigger than me and everyday I think, I can't leave this earth without making my mark! So I would say God is the first inspiration as I don't want to let him down and I want to fulfill his will for my life! My mum and dad are huge inspirations for me too, they sacrificed sooo much for me and my brothers to have the life we do now. They pretty much gave us everything we wanted and needed even if they didn't have it- they made a way so my gratitude inspires me to work hard daily and give my mum back everything they gave us x100.
Will you be branching into women's wear too?
Haha! It's funny, I actually have a ladies wear line that I started 2 years ago but we are going through a lot of restructuring and re-branding so that's on hold at the moment but getting back into ladies wear is definitely on my radar...
Have you ever been close to giving up?
Many times! That's why I always say its important to have the right people around you at all times because at a time like that, they are there to pick you up and remind you why you started. Sometimes they are there to carry you until you are back to your fighting self and I thank my Mum, Husband and team daily for supporting me! Running a brand is not the easiest thing to do as it requires a lot of organisation, perseverance, faith and a good team! Sometimes you will be tried and tested and your ready to give everything up but you can choose 'do you want God to win where he will take you places beyond your wildest dreams or the Devil to win who comes to kill, steal and destroy?' - that question usually gets me back on track!
What would you say to anyone who is at the point of giving up and has lost their inspiration/motivation?
I would say, enjoy the journey! There will be so many hard times but the good times are so much sweeter when you had endured the rough patches! People generally think that running a brand or pursuing your passion is about the destination but its not, it's about the journey. I say this because once you reach your desired goal (the destination), there is always something else to strive for and as humans that's what we do, we move onto the next goal when we have achieved. So it's important that we don't just focus on getting to the goal that we forget to enjoy the journey to the goal! I would also say, focus on your own journey! Don't let someone else's success dishearten you because they may have achieved something before you, instead let it inspire you that what you're dreaming of is possible! Remember what your purpose is and don't be influenced by the noise of the world! Focus, focus, focus and swim underwater (work in silence) and when you look up/back, you will notice whilst swimming under water, you made ripples in the world by staying focused! Lastly, stay grounded in faith! Seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added onto you.