On my long drive back to Cornwall this week I listened to Meg Kissack's Couragemakers Podcast, and what she said about the notion of 'deserving' really resonated with me.
We don't innately 'deserve' anything.
There is not some calculated reward system which evaluates people's actions and decides what they deserve in their life. If there were, then a lot of people around the world would be doing a lot better than they are.
I'm 100% sure that there are women around the world who deserve more than me, but have less. Women who work harder, are more selfless, are more resilient, and have overcome much greater challenges. But they might have no home. They might not have enough to eat. They might not be treated with the respect that they are worth of.
There is no 'deserve'. There is chance and luck and coincidence and doing the very best with what you have.
This is something my Grandad wholeheartedly believed in. He could never comprehend how he could deserve to have a comfortable life when people in Africa did not. He often looked at Africa specifically, because this is where he studied and worked for much of his academic career. He instilled in me a belief that I am lucky, that we as a family are lucky.
On occasion, this has really troubled me. As a teenager I often felt a huge sense of guilt and a sense that 'I don't deserve this' - a self deprecation which I know my Grandad struggled with throughout his adult life.
In order to turn this negative worry into a positive outlook, I now try and focus on how lucky I am. For me, this means actively appreciating my financial stability and the emotional support of my family. These are the best things I have and I want to harness them and steer my work towards helping people who have less than they deserve. This sounds horribly cliche, but I think it is important.
I'm not sure what this will be yet, but I know that it is more important to me than chasing the top dollar for my own business growth. Watch this space...
“We cannot achieve more in life than what we believe in our heart of hearts we deserve to have.” ― James R. Ball