By The Duchess, 20th February 2018

Climb the Ladder All the Way to the Top

But Be Careful Who You Tread on to Get There!

But Be Careful Who You Tread on to Get There!

I have always considered myself a modest person. I have spent most of my life being a people pleaser and for that reason I have never found it particularly comfortable to blow my own trumpet. I am one of those odd, and it seems rare people that get more pleasure out of helping other people achieve their dreams at the same time as working hard to achieve my own. I love to see the smile on someone’s face when they realise that someone recognises talent in them. I love to nurture the goodness in people and teach them how to make the most out of their qualities.

In my personal and professional life I have been a success. I have achieved more in my young years than most achieve in a lifetime. I have not only reached for the stars but walked with them – and I am not done yet!

I have turned down massive opportunities because they ‘didn’t feel right’ and I have taken risks that I knew in my gut would pay off.


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I have followed my nose; my gut instinct, and I have done well. I say this more now not because I am blowing my own trumpet, but because in a way I am almost trying to convince myself that what I have achieved in life has been positive. Because there are some days that I look around at the world I live in and doubt that I made the right decisions.


Because it seems that no matter how much good there is in the world, there is always a small minority that seem intent on ruining it for the rest of us.

My mother is one of the toughest, shrewdest businesswomen I have ever had the honour to witness in my professional life (and let me tell you, I have met more than my fair share). We may have had a rocky relationship, disagreed on many an occasion and butted heads morally and ethically for most of my life, but the one thing that I have always been proud of is her ability to succeed in business. She did so, I believe, due to a very important lesson that she taught me at a very young age.

“Be mindful to look down and remember the faces of the people you pass on the ladder, because it won’t be the last time you see them.”

At the time, I never really understood the significance, but the older I get the more I hear those words, and now they have morphed into something a little more graphic in my mind…

“Be careful who you shit on while you climb the ladder, because it will be your own that you slip in as you make your way back down.”

Business is always a game of snakes and ladders. Nothing will run smoothly all the time, and if it did you would be bored. But in life, as well as in business, you need to learn to be modest. As humans we need to learn to be much more humble.

Learn to smile and appreciate the people around you – because you never know if they will meet you at the top of the ladder one day and remind you of the nastiness you once bestowed, or indeed if you roll the dice and find yourself on a slippery slope, you may find yourself wading through the shit that you once left behind for others.

Recently, both in my personal and professional life, I have had to remind myself of this lesson. Mostly due to the fact that being a writer, I come head to head with a multitude of egos on a daily basis. People who think that now their time has ‘come‘ and they are all too quick to cast you and your help aside. The ego takes over, their insecurities masked by attitude, and their fear they once felt replaced arrogance.


You know who I am talking about. Everyone reading this will have come across one or two in their life or indeed be battling with one right now. If you haven’t – wait your turn… because I assure you, in this media obsessed, selfie-loving society, this sub-culture of beings seems to only be on the rise.

They are on the way up – and they care little about your progress. In fact many don’t care to ask how ‘your game’ is going. They care so little, and their ego is so inflated that they forget the first rule in business and the most important rule in life:

“Treat others how you would care to be treated yourself.”

It is a fundamental lesson we all teach our children, and one that our parents taught all of us at some point. “Don’t be nasty, how would you feel if they said that about you?” “Don’t hit, would you be hurt if they hit you back?” – How quick we are to forget!

I spend my life looking for the next soul to help. The next talent to nurture. The next face to bring a smile to. My joy in life is knowing that I smile when others smile.

But let’s get real for a moment. I will hear many of you screaming at the screen “you don’t get anything in life if you don’t fight for it” and yes, I don’t disagree with that at all. But let me tell you a secret. One that has been passed down in my family for generations and has never ever ever done me wrong:

“You get more in life by being humble”

No one likes a brag artist. No one like the person who talks entirely about themselves and their accomplishments and cares little about the feelings of others. No one likes the person who is more interested in the sound of their own voice than the way it sounds to those listening.

Those who achieve in life give back as much as they receive. As Miss Pollyanna will tell you, life is all about the Law of Attraction. Self-centered actions, egotistical conversations and a blatant disregard for others will see you end up in one place and one place only… a lonely island with only your own ego for comfort.

Take for example, the TV show, The Apprentice… The person who does well is never ever the one who has bragged about his years of experience and unrivaled sales skills. Because that boy with the mono-brow or the girl with the impossibly flawless makeup will not only be the one singled out in the boardroom to be thrown under the bus, but he or she will always be the first to fail. Because setting yourself up as the best leaves you no room to grow in people’s expectations or estimations.

Consider instead the silent assassin; The Trojan Horse. The quiet little one that sits at the back and watches the pack of hyenas tear each other apart limb by limb before showing them all how it is done. The strong but silent one who has been told her entire life that everyone else will achieve before her, only to be the one at the end of the day that walks away with the million dollar prize.

Why? Because being humble in life gets your further.


Because being respectful of others gains you respect.

Because karma is a bitch, and no matter how much hatred and self-righteousness you throw at people, you can guarantee you will get it back tenfold.

So, my lovely people – take a look around you at the people in your life that make you cringe when they post those bragworthy Facebook updates, or put others down in that condescending but ‘I’m only being honest, darling‘ way – take a look at those in your office building who claim to be the biggest and best in the industry and ask yourself one thing…

How many people have they shit on to get to where they are?” and then laugh your sweet pretty little ass off as you visualise just how much of their own shit they will be covered in when they fall heavily to the ground.

Karma is a bitch. Being modest in life gets you further.

Underselling yourself gives you room and space to grow in others’ estimations. Be proud and strong and resolute in your own abilities. Work hard at your dreams and never ever give up – but Be The Trojan Horse. The one that will wipe that smug grin from their faces in the most silent and humble of ways. Because bragging is the best way to lose friends and alienate people.

Modesty Darling.

Kindness Dear Sir.

Be humble for God’s sake.

Be grateful for what you have achieved rather than boastful that you have and others have not, because if you took five measly moments to ask them, you might find they have achieved more in their humble lives than you realise and at the end of the day they still have friends to support them up the ladder even further.

On the other hand – you may just find yourself begging for a boost up while you lay covered in shit at the bottom of the ladder with a long climb ahead of you.

What did you think?

    chat 1 Comment

  1. Leanne x ● May 7, 2019 at 1:32 pmReply

    Brilliant article and so true. High five from a fellow trojan horse xx

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