Angela Ahrendts: Always Be Present
Dear Sommer and Angelina:
Hopefully you won’t read anything in this letter that you haven’t already heard from me many times before. 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: 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. You never need feel isolated or alone. You know I am on 24/7 for advice, love, or just to share a funny filtered photo, bitmoji 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.
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. Every book you receive, every new person you meet, everything you call lucky is a sign just waiting to be read. It is tough when you are young and so inward-focused, but once in a while you will look back, make the connection and then be more open to and curious about those signs in the future. You see, signs aren’t blatant or obvious. You have to be open and present to instinctively feel or intuitively see them. You’ve seen firsthand, and we have often discussed, the role signs have played in my life and the incredible things that have happened as a result of me listening and reacting to them. You are blessed as sensitive women to more naturally understand this.
You are fully aware of how blessed you are, the incredible gifts you were born with that your brother doesn’t have and the gifts he has that you don’t possess. You know how happy you feel when you are doing what you love and that comes so easily and naturally to you. 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. Don’t let anyone persuade you to do anything that doesn’t feel natural or isn’t aligned with your values or God-given gifts. You know what excites you more than anyone else. The sooner you recognize your passions, and the more you focus, the happier you will be and the greater success you will achieve. 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.
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.
I know what you’re thinking: why do Dad and I always have our old family photos streaming on Apple TV? This is O.K., because your family is your foundation, and also your greatest enabler. When it comes to your family, we should be with you everywhere you are, as you are always and forever with us.
I love you,
Angela Ahrendts is the Senior Vice President for Retail at Apple and the former CEO of Burberry.