Failure has taught me more than success ever could - Aniyia Williams, Black and Brown FoundersFeatured
What's your personal definition of career success? Has that evolved over time?I’m currently redefining what “success” means to me, but loosely, I’d say it’s the combination of doing meaningful work, getting paid what I’m worth, and working with people whom I admire that also respect me. An abundance of all three things is the holy grail of career success in my opinion, and it may appear simple, but having all of them at the same time can be incredibly challenging.Only recently have I started to understand what it means to pursue this professional success alongside personal success. They are connected. As a wife and mom, overall “success” for me has to consider all of life's essential pieces—work, play, health and love—and seek balance among them. Making progress toward success in each of these areas is hard. Trying to be successful at all four at once is even harder. It requires either going deep on one area while keeping the others in enough forward motion to prevent lost progress, or making slow, incremental improvements to multiple areas at the same time. I know myself well enough to say that neither option is one that I like, but I've seen the damage caused by trying to push hard on everything at once. I’m finally starting to accept that there are constraints, and that success in these areas is rarely an end-point, but rather a status in a moment of time.I also believe that one's relationship to failure plays a role here. I’m a type A, overachieving millennial. I live for the gold star, and I act like “impossible” is a relative term. This means that I struggle with the idea of walking instead of running. It also means that I’ve long held the failure-is-not-an-option kind of views. But today, I’d say I've experienced enough of life to say that failure is ALWAYS an option. And failure isn’t such a bad thing. Failure has taught me so much more than success ever could. Luckily, I fail at things all the time. What saves me is confidence in myself, which reminds me that failure is not always an indication of ability or potential. Often, failure is simply a way of learning how NOT to do something. Aniyia Williams is the Founder and CEO of tech jewelry startup Tinsel, their first product was an audio necklace with the full functionality of headphones integrated into it. She is also Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Black and Brown Founders which is aimed at providing Black and Latinx founders resources and networks for starting companies without relying on venture capital and she is one of the Co-Founders of Zebras Unite, a movement which calls for a more ethical and inclusive movement to counter existing startup and venture capital culture.