"Be Present" - Angela Ahrendts Life-Advice Letter To Her Daughters
By Daniel Schmitz, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International
For International Women’s Day, Angela Ahrendts, the Senior Vice President of Sales at Apple and former CEO of Burberry, wrote a letter to her daughters about some of life's great lessons.
She describes the purpose of the letter as follows:
“I’ve always tried to lead by example when we are together, so I will do the same in this letter by reminding you of a few thoughts that will help you navigate your incredible life journey ahead.”
Mrs Ahrendts is a world leading businesswoman, a wife, and a mother of two daughters and a son. She gives the following advice to her daughters - to have a great life, to become the best human beings they can be and through that to be there for others.
Be Present In This Moment
We can all get lost in worrying about the future or regretting the past. How often do we make an effort to just be in this moment and not to constantly think about what the next thing is we have to do?
Being present is when we are calm and still. It often happens when we look at a beautiful sunset, appreciate the beauty of nature or are lying on a beach and listening to the sea. Here's what Mrs Ahrendts has to share about being present:
“Always be present, read the signs, stay in your lane and never back up more than you have to.
I have always tried to be present for you regardless of how old you were, where we were, or where I was. I wanted you to know that I am always there for you spiritually, emotionally and digitally.”
Build Trust, Empathise And Create With Others
She also makes the point in her letter that through being present it is possible to empathise with others and invest in relationships. This is the foundation of building trust with others:
“You know I am on 24/7 for advice, love, or just to share a funny filtered photo, bit emoji or laugh (even though I know I laugh inside). Being fully present, by listening, feeling, empathizing—always holding serious eye contact, and often the touch of a hand—builds trust.
Trust builds confidence and confidence enables you to look forward, dream more and focus on others vs yourself. Being present is the greatest gift you can give another person, and the greatest way to more closely connect with them. When you are present, you are living in the moment vs in your mind.
You are seeing, hearing, and feeling another person, and together you are even more empowered to do great things. This is a gift that often comes more naturally to women.”
Create a Solid Foundation In Yourself
Angela Ahrendts also emphasises the importance of building a solid foundation in her children's lives through learning and becoming aware of their values. In addition, she encourages them to be open to signs around them and to use those signs as a guide for making life decisions.
“I have also tried to share with you as many of life's precious lessons and secrets as I can so that when I am not here, you have a solid foundation of learnings and values regardless of what potholes in life you may hit along the way.
Stay open; always try to read the signs as you pass by them or they pass by you. I've often reminded you that there are no coincidences. Everything that happens in your life is for a reason or was predestined.”
Give Yourself Time To Find Your Passion
While the path of life might not always be clear and obvious, Mrs Ahrendts encourages her daughters to continue to find their passion and to give themselves time to figure it out:
“So please, please, please connect to your passion, and then just stay in your lane. Great athletes, musicians, scientists, etc., all have an expertise that they focus on and perfect.
Still, don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what your lane is yet. The path will illuminate itself so long as you stay present, open to the signs, and follow your passions. It’s all related.”
Don’t Look Back More Than Needed, You Have a Life To Live
Mrs Ahrendts closes the letter to her daughters with the advice of not to focus too much on the past and instead focus on the things they love to create in their lives:
“Lastly, my loves, never back up more than you need to, and this means in life, not just when driving. Just as you are blind to what's behind you while backing up a car, if you keep looking back in life and focusing too much on the past, you may find yourself running things over and over in your mind, often seeing or creating things that never existed in the first place. Even worse, living in reverse blinds you to what lies ahead: Your lifelong dreams waiting to be achieved, your destiny waiting to be fulfilled.”
Legends like Angela Ahrendts are aware of the importance of being present, living in this moment and not worrying about the future or being lost in the past! This gives us a strong foundation for our lives. Her timeless advice to her daughters encourages us to build trust-filled relationships and live life to the fullest while making a difference to others!!