Marathoner Eliud Kipchoge’s win on his race against time last Saturday was a well-timed reminder that success is a team sport.
After his win, Eliud was quick to give credit to his team of 41 pacemakers for the part they played in his win.
His admission that he was not the sole source of his win reminded me of a trend I have noticed over the years as I have worked as a journalist.
When you sit down with a high-achieving woman and ask about her success, she will tell you about her personal struggles and then freely give credit to the team that she works with.
But when it comes to the role that the man in her life has played, many will be silent on it.
A man may have lent her money to start a business; he will have mentored her on to her entrepreneurship journey, or the climb up the corporate ladder, or he will have had no qualms staying home with the children on nights that she had to work, but she will be reluctant to admit that he contributed to her success.
I get it. A little bit. It’s rare for a woman to be young and even mildly attractive today and not have someone question the source of her wealth or success.
“She slept her way to the top!” is a common whisper around the water dispenser office gossip. There is the fear that by admitting one will be helping to feed the patriarchy machine.
What we fail to remember is that one of the most important career choices a woman makes is that of her choice of partner.
The type of man who a woman entertains determines, in a big way, whether she smashes the imaginary glass ceiling or manages to make that business thrive.
The person you share your life, home and sometimes children with needs to buy into your vision and not have a problem with having a successful, high-earning partner.
My single piece of advice for a woman seeking to work outside the home, whether running a business or in employment, is — if you can’t find a person who is supportive of your vision, then stay single.
You need to have a partner who is supportive, or no partner at all. You will not thrive otherwise.
These world class runners who ran for Eliud, of course, were paid handsomely for their effort. But no amount of money can buy commitment or loyalty.
This is why your romantic partner’s name should be right at the top of your list when you are giving credit.
We can never achieve success on our own. You get to the top not because of your own hard work and commitment but also because of the community around you who supported you. Acknowledging this fact will not take away your success.
If anything, the man you have by your side as you scale societal heights is one of your major life’s choices.
If he is a good, supportive man, then it’s just proof that you have a good enough head on your shoulders to make good life choices. What is there to shy off about?