It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. Success takes time and given the era of instant-gratification, this can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow.
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ro Brahmand.
Ro Brahmand is the founder and creator of The Wilds Skincare, a clean, inclusive and planet-friendly skincare line built on a foundation that fosters unapologetic confidence, self-acceptance and the permission to be happily wild. Ro launched The Wilds during a global pandemic at just 29 years old with a promise to bring ethical skincare and scientifically driven formulas to her community and beyond.https://community.thriveglobal.com/media/bdb2bc3f56a7eca5c20f6679d1ccac25
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
They say you are a “product of your environment” and this notion definitely rings true for me.
Growing up on the western coast of Canada was incredibly influential. Some of the world’s most beautiful mountain ranges backdrop most of my childhood memories and the Pacific Ocean soundtracks alongside it. My relationship with the outdoors was so intimate and profound that from a very young age, I felt an intense responsibility to make sure the physical world around me was looked after. This sentiment has carried on with me into my adult life and remains at the forefront of almost everything I do.
The second experience is that of being my mother’s daughter. Much of my childhood was spent watching my mother navigate Western culture, a society unfamiliar to her at the time.
Growing up first-generation Canadian — my parents immigrants of the Middle East — I was always hyper aware of my differences. I spent the better half of my life feeling out of place and uncomfortable in my own skin.
But by the grace of wellness, as defined by my mother, I was able to start seeing things — and myself — differently.
Because my mother taught me that wellness or “self-care” is not just a cup of matcha in the morning or a bubble bath before bed but rather a 360° approach.
Nutritious foods, non-toxic skincare, meditation, positive self-talk, caring for the planet. That’s self-care.
This philosophy completely altered my view of myself and the world around me and eventually became the very foundation that The Wilds was built upon.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
I used to believe that success was a destination. A singular, static target. I also used to understand success only within the context of other people. Whenever my internal dialogue would begin, it was almost always in 3rd person, as if someone else was speaking to me. My financial or hierarchical achievements felt meaningful because of how I believed other people perceived them.
How has your definition of success changed?
My previous understanding of the word came with a lot of pressure, but I am now extremely at peace with my concept of success.
I now know that success as a definition is ever-changing and evolving much like us as individuals. In fact, the more it changes, the better because it implies that you are setting goals, achieving them and then creating new ones.
Success will look one way this year, and entirely different next year. The joy of this is that I am in competition with myself and no one else.
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
The pandemic forced many of us to slow down and look inward. This inspired many people (including myself) to do a complete audit of their lives. What are the strengths of our relationships? Do our careers make us happy? Do we spend enough time exploring interests and hobbies?
We’re seeing phenomenon’s like The Great Resignation and The Entrepreneurs Era — a term I’ve recently started using — because people are now so deeply committed to living a fulfilled life rooted in passion, not necessity.
This informs us that people are ready to take risks which I would argue is exactly what we need in order to access success in a post-pandemic world.
As my mother always taught me, in life, we must always follow our fear compass, because the opportunities in life that scare us are often the ones we should run towards.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic, specifically with the launch of your clean, genderless skincare line The Wilds? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
As we all saw, the pandemic served as a catalyst for a huge societal shift in thinking. People are more aware and observant than ever. People are prioritizing their health more than ever. I think overall, we have become incredibly enlightened.
- I feel so fortunate that the conceptualization of The Wilds took place within this evolved climate.
Because the foundation that The Wilds was built upon was so heavily influenced not just by own upbringing, but also the environment it was conceived in. Society now has the appetite for inclusion, acceptance, sustainability and our core pillars as a brand were modeled around those exact things. And not just because it’s what people wanted to see, but because for the first time ever, people actually cared. It feels amazing to be able to talk about these things to an audience that actually wants to listen.
- People are also now very wellness driven. Our community, representing all genders, ages and levels of skin-literacy are taking an interest in the practice of taking care. I spend most days in our Instagram DM’s talking to our followers about best practices, not just in skincare but wellness in general. Something we talk about often at The Wilds is this 360-degree approach to skincare which includes not just great quality topical products, but it also considers diet, hydration, sleeping habits and stress management. I think this is a philosophy people are really willing to adopt now.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”
- Understanding Your Motivators
At my first corporate job in my early 20s, I learned about the importance of “motivators” and how success can feel far more satisfying by understanding which of three main categories you are pursuing.
No category is “better” than the other, it’s simply a way to understand what drives you.
Category 1: Monetary Motivators. This can be quantified by your salary, bonus structure etc.
Category 2: Hierarchical Motivators. This can be quantified by your title at work or perhaps being able to refer to yourself as “Founder”.
Category 3: Education/Opportunity Motivators. This can be quantified by mentorship, an internship, or general exposure to something that will help expand your existing knowledge.
2. The Importance of Juxtaposition
Life is all about contrast. We don’t know joy unless we know sadness. We don’t know rest/sleep unless we know wakefulness. And we cannot know success without failure.
Creating space for failure or the time to reflect upon failure is as important as the achievement of success itself.
Before The Wilds, I ran a wellness blog/newsletter focused on “green wellness” (plant-based recipes, holistic healing practices, non-toxic skincare etc.). Although the subject matter was stimulating, I wasn’t experiencing the momentum I had hoped for, which, by the end, felt discouraging and was a bit damaging to my self-esteem.
Looking back now, I can see that my newsletter was an important checkpoint in my journey. It taught me resilience, perseverance, and how to remain confident in moments of “failure”.
And to now experience the incredible response I’ve received with The Wilds, it truly makes my wins that much sweeter because I know it wasn’t luck or good timing but rather, hard work and dedication.
3. It’s a Balancing Act
Success is more than just what happens within the four walls of your career. What does your career enable you to do? Does it allow for more time with friends and family? Does it afford you the opportunity to travel and create experiences?
I was once told that money doesn’t buy happiness. However, what it does give you is the gift of time, the ultimate commodity.
Example: You live in New York and want to get home to Chicago for your mother/father/sibling/best friend’s birthday. A small sum of money can pay for your gas expenses to drive yourself home in about 12 hours. However, a larger sum of money will grant you a plane ticket and will get you home in just under 3 hours.
I love this example because it reminds me that my monetary goals are not just dollar signs, but rather the opportunity to spend more time doing the things you love with the people that matter.
4. Success is Individual
I mentioned this earlier but it’s important to reiterate… success as a concept should be individual. Your understanding of it should be based on your own experience, values and beliefs.
While it can certainly be informative to observe your peers, that time is often better spent looking at yourself in the mirror. Am I giving 100%? Do I believe in what I am doing? What are my weaknesses? How do I strengthen them?
It will feel far more validating to achieve your goals based on targets that you yourself have set, not someone else.
5. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Success takes time and given the era of instant-gratification, this can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow.
Let’s look at Instagram as an example. As a business owner/content creator, it is time consuming and arduous to grow your account.
There is a quick solve: buy followers. This — seemingly — provides instant legitimacy to your brand.
However, the more effective and sustainable way to do it is to connect and engage meaningfully with audiences to create an authentic community.
When it comes to success, you really do have to play the long game.
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
There is a lot of pressure to achieve, often based on a set of criteria determined by someone else.
Social platforms provide so much (read: too much) access to the lives of the people around us and it can sometimes create a sense of “I’m not doing enough” or “I’m not doing it quickly enough”.
The benefit of making some of these changes is that it will hopefully result in less pressure to conform to other people’s version of success. It is incredibly challenging to try and reach a standard set by someone else, likely based on their own circumstance.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
I think other people will always try to impose their view of success. Don’t let that cloud your vision. Remain focused on your definition because it is the only one that applies specifically and uniquely to you.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
I think each person takes inspiration from different things. Personally, I am deeply inspired by story-telling. Podcasts, audiobooks, or even reaching out to my peers to hear about their journeys. During the pandemic, I would set up “FaceTime coffees” with anyone and everyone who was willing, and it was one of the best experiences.
Hearing about other people’s journeys and perspectives not only helps normalize the idea of failure or struggle but also encourages the celebration of different versions of success. I think it is one of the most impactful forms of education.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
Emma Grede comes to mind almost immediately. Her career trajectory is impressive to say the least… she has done so much at such a young age.
Her working relationship/partnership with the Kardashians is of course notable but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of their most successful endeavors have been alongside Grede.
It’s also inspiring to watch young, minority women succeed within the world of entrepreneurship, a space typically occupied by men.
How can our readers further follow your work with The Wilds?
There is truly nothing I love more than meeting people in our DM’s so if you happen to come visit us on @thewilds.skincare, please don’t be a stranger.
You can also shop with us at www.shopthewilds.com — you can shop our “routines” which are super easy to use (we’ll tell you what to use, how to use it and when) or you can shop à la carte. We also have short videos on each page to give you a little more information about each product.
Our goal is to make your experience as non-intimidating and easy as possible.
You can also follow me @ronakbrahmand where you will basically be inundated with food, wellness and dog content 🙂
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.