Sure isn’t glamourous, being a snail.
I don’t have the plummage of a peacock, or the speed of a jaguar. I don’t have any disinguishing features that shout ‘Look at ME’! In fact, it seems almost counter-intuitive that a marketer, someone who makes her living out of publicising other people’s successes, should relish being a snail. But I do, because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
I used to be the go-getter. I was once the bright young thing who would go far fast, shining up the night sky (or business world) like a rocket. All drama, and noise and passion. It’s not a surprise that I’ve a second degree in Speech and Drama. Nor is it a surprise that my friends and family recognise that I have the propensity to be melodramatic. I was that rocket. Always moving, always competing, always at the front of the pack wanting to be the first to fly close to the sun.
Until that day I flew so close to the sun my wings burnt, and I crashed.
Of course, I licked my wounds and phoenix-like I tried again. I got another, better job, in which I worked harder, faster, more than ever before. Soon I had made up my time and I was once again flying close to the sun. Soaring, and spinning with heady freedom. There was even a cocky certainty in my flight path that I would get there, faster than anyone else. Until once again I crashed and burned.
There are many wonderful things about being a snail. Let me list them for you -
Snail’s carry all they need on their back. They are never homeless, and when things get too tough, the weather is inclement, or predators are on the hunt, they can retreat to the safety of their own home.
Snail’s are resourceful. They find food where they can and they leave a shimmery silver trail of experience behind them.
Snail’s are plodders. They won’t win Dragon’s Den, or X-Factor. You won’t see them celebrating overnight fame or celebrity. In fact you won’t see them celebrating any kind of celebrity, not just the overnight kind. Instead they will keep doing what they know to be true. Simply, surely they will keep taking the steps required to reach their destination.
I was criticised today, for being a snail. For not being the kind of creature who is all bells and whistles. For not being bright, bold or quick enough. My careful un-glamourous slog of late nights and working weekends. Of turning down pub quiz invitations or bike rides or nights out. I remember once turning down the street Christmas party because I had a project deadline of that Monday morning. I’ve missed out on a variety of things over the years as I slogged along trying to rebuild after that betrayal that almost destroyed me.
Working for myself and building a blog and business is not a particularly glam affair. There’s lots of agonising over content and posts, writers block, clients who don’t pay on time, clients who wont sodding hire you, and even those who purposefully take advantage and cheat you. There’s hawks around waiting to swoop, but despite that, despite the obstacles and the dangers I really am OK with other people not realising the progress I’m making. I’m OK with criticisms that enquire sharply (Is the blog making any money yet? Are you getting any work? Are your clients paying you?). All in all I see a huge progression towards my goals that I hold so clear and true to myself. I no longer need to prove anything, and I’ve learnt a great deal from those times in my life when I crashed and burned. I’m OK with being a snail – unglamourous, hard slog it may be, but from where I sit it’s a huge improvement on the alternative.
I’m reminded of a conversation between a young sarky journalist and an elderly woman, face crisscrossed with duvet-folds of wrinkles.
“So how do you feel about being so old?” The rude one said.
She smiled and her eyes sparkled with mirth.
“It’s a hell of a lot better than the alternative. Every day I’m above ground, is a bonus” she said.
Let’s hear it for the snails, let’s celebrate those who work hard and achieve success, for I fear that our society has swung too far back in its get-rich-quick, achieve fame tomorrow, world. Let’s hear it for those who take plodding steps in the right direction, for those who are already visualising success in those dog days and long nights. Those who keep practising, who keep on despite the nay-sayers, and the critics (legless men who teach running), and detractors.
Let’s hear it for those people who will reinvigorate this country. For the inventors on their 998th trial of their gizmo; for the writers and consultants burning the midnight oil in their coffee-stained dressing gowns; the Mums juggling baby’s bottles and their smartphones; the struggling business owner working a second menial job with which he supports his new business.
Hang in there fellow snails! We will get there. I just know we will.
Are you a snail too? Can you think of any other great benefits about being a snail and achieving success slowly?Image:Flickr CC