A Night With Spiela Presents…Simeon Jackson and Solomon Smith

Spiela is a collaborative network empowering young people, with a particular mission to engage those from minority backgrounds and ensure that they have a safe and supportive space in which to engage and network with others.
On 4th April, Spiela hosted its 4th successful networking night, which brought together young people from a variety of backgrounds to discuss the meanings of success and the power of collaboration.
Guest speakers on the night were:
Simeon Jackson, Striker for Walsall FC and the Canada national team.
Solomon Smith, Co-founder of the Brixton Soup Kitchen, which is a community hub that offers hot lunch, a food bank, a clothes bank, and a weekly reading group called Book at Breakfast.
The inspirational night was kicked off with Simeon and Solomon’s stories of success. Although their lines of work are very different, they shared similar experiences in that they were convicted by a vision of what their future would look like, and although they faced many barriers such as severe dyslexia and a struggle to get signed by any football club, they identified their strengths and capitalised on them to achieve their goals. “All I wanted to do was to be a footballer…and nothing was going to stop me from realising my dream…I kept believing and I kept working” said Simeon, who was almost swayed into trading his dreams in for a more traditional, academic route because he had to start thinking about financial responsibiities. However, he did not make it through his first day of college before his conviction led him back to the pitch, focussing and persevering harder than he ever had before.
This conviction can be easy to ignore when you have distractions such as financial obligations and pressure from the idea that all of your peers have got it together. This is what causes many youths to take a path that isn’t meant for them, leaving their dreams to be fulfilled by someone else. The events host, Ivy Kayima, highlighted this when she asked the speakers if they had any advice for 20-somethings who feel like they should have achieved certain milestones and time is running out to achieve their goals. “Appreciate where you are at the moment, because you will never be there again” was Simeon’s advice. He spoke about getting signed and feeling like he had to reach a certain league by a certain age, but not allowing that desire to overshadow his current achievement of getting signed. So often we have our eyes so fixed on the end goal, that we fail to appreciate the journey that has led us there. This can cause self-doubt, which could manifest as a barrier to our desired outcomes. So, as Solomon advises, you must “never forget where you come from and why you started the journey in the first place”. Take stock of any small wins, and in so doing, you’ll develop confidence in yourself and your journey. It is this confidence that can spark other ideas, which may end up leading you down an even greater path. Solomon recalled his younger days, when he wished he could set up a bike service to deliver Nando’s to peoples doors. He sat on that idea, and now we have Deliveroo. His lesson from this is that “there is no such thing as a bad idea…write it down and start that journey“, for it is better to have tried and failed, than to not try at all.
If you would like to collaborate with a network of influencers, or you’d like to be kept in the loop about more Spiela events, download the Spiela app and join the conversation on Facebook.

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