Unsung Heroes

The Unsung Hero: Secretly Succouring

13 May 2017

If there is a Meryl Streep, then there is a Tom Haas, her acting teacher who put her on academic warning for holding back her talent out of fear of competing with fellow students.
If there is a Jonathan Ive, then there is a Michael Ive, his father who nurtured and encouraged his engagement with design.
If there is a Jo Malone, then there is a Gary Willcox, her husband and business partner who gave her the confidence and commercial footing to create her empire.
If there is a Rihanna, then there is an Evan Rodgers, who discovered her at an audition during his visits to Barbados and supported her move to America.
If there is a Batman, then there is an Alfred who quietly and unassumingly helps him save Gotham City at the last moment…

What if the latter did not exist, what if they were not “secretly succouring”, what if they were not there at that right moment to be the catalyst behind the broad range of successes the former now savours… What if…

It is a common thread that when the accomplished rehash their success stories, there is always this “other” without whom the journey to success may not have been so possible. Some recognise them ingenuously, while some of them remain – The Unsung Hero.

We might have been in a situation where we have identified the dream we want to fulfil, the book we want to write, the business we want to start, the big client we want to pursue, the challenging case we want to win, the person we want to spend our lives with, the cause we want to fight for and the rest. But, being human, we struggle with fear and self-doubt and combat the mental dilemma of our responsibility towards our circumstances versus our dreams. We nearly fall, but at that very moment, we encounter these “unsung heroes” who give us confidence, financial backing, mentorship or moral support – that hope-filled rescuing we are in dire need of when we feel weak, emotionally damaged or helpless.

We at Arran Frances are indeed about ambition, learning from the celebrated journeys of our heroes and being inspired by their accomplishments. And, we want to inaugurate Accomplish Further by celebrating the unsung heroes in our lives. They might be anybody – family, friends, teachers, bosses, business partners, even a stranger.

Their random acts of kindness, persistent hard work or unceasing support gains them no outward recognition and large-ly goes unnoticed. Look around, and you will recognise innumerable unsung heroes in your life and it will fill you with much sanguineness and reassurance of the existence of the ‘big good world’ we all want to be a part of.

The encouraging smile from a barista at your local coffee shop where you toil away and sometimes hit roadblocks, your personal assistant who meticulously organises your meetings while you focus on raising that seed investment for your first million dollar venture, the local seamstress sowing your designs together and making innumerable alterations without complaint so that you can showcase your collection to buyers, or the support staff in the MNC you work for who do the ground work empowering you to impress your boss and get that promotion – each one secretly succouring your success.

Imagine, if the unsung hero in your life weren’t there, playing the role they did play in your success, then how different might your success story be?

Let’s acknowledge them, appreciate them, and take time out to listen to their own dreams and aspirations. Perhaps, it’s our chance to be the ‘unsung hero’ in their life.

0.1 Aislinn O’Sullivan

29 May 2017

With her effortless sense of style and passion for the arts, Aislinn O’Sullivan has always served as the number one inspiration for her daughter and our Creative Director Arran. Teaching her children that hard work and perseverance pays off, Arran attributes her motivation and life achievements to her mother. “Mom’s the strongest person I know. She’s supported me from the very start and even provided me initial funding to make all of this possible.” Aislinn shares with us the true value of family, friends and self-accomplishment.

The 3 most defining chapters in my story
  • Walking down Grafton Street in Dublin when I was 17 and realising that I had financial independence from my parents.
  • Becoming a Mum at a young age. I was 22 when I had my daughter Hollie. I was the only one of my peers to have any children and so I felt very much on my own. It was a huge learning curve for me.
  • When my youngest daughter Blue was in a serious accident when she was 4 years old. Luckily she was okay but it made me realise that I wouldn’t always be able to protect my children and that they were extremely vulnerable. That really shook me.
The one ritual that helps me manage my day to day activities efficiently

Tea and toast first thing in the morning before I speak to anyone!

My life to me means …

There are a couple of things that come to mind. The most important thing to me is peace within myself and also being a parent to my children and not a friend.
Friendship is also extremely important and I value it very differently than in my youth. When I was younger I had a lot of friends and now I have a smaller group but we’re all very close. When you go through difficult times a lot of people sink and aren’t there for you but your true friends rise up to the top – I call them my risers. They’re the only ones I’m interested in.

I am inspired by …

My mother was an inspiration to me growing up. She had an aesthetic eye and instilled in me a certain appreciation for the arts, antiques and being an individual. She would always say to me “Do not be the sheep, be the shepherd and think for yourself”. As a mother myself, I was also very much inspired by my mother in law and how she was relaxed and non-judgmental. Both women were extremely magnetic but had very different personalities.

When I am overwhelmed what is therapeutic for me..

A cup of tea! But also, what’s been extremely helpful to me over the years has been The Serenity Prayer. I’m not a religious person but I turn to it in difficult times. It’s on a par with a cup of tea and that says a lot!

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Great style for me is always

When someone is an individual and not afraid to express themselves. When you’re true to yourself in a style you feel comfortable in, regardless of what’s being dictated to you by the high street or luxury brands. Style has nothing to do with money.

Advice I would give my 25-year-old self..

There are no mistakes. They’re all learning curves. But if I had one thing it would be to learn to communicate properly – to actually say how I truly feel. No one is perfect not even me – surprise!

What I really miss in today’s world is, receiving a nice letter – I miss the romance. You no longer have something to keep. And I miss slow dancing in discos!

I also really miss the uncomplicated life you had before mobile phones. Everyone expects instant communication now. I remember when I was young you could go out and your parents didn’t expect to hear from you. You could go away for a week and if no one heard from you, they wouldn’t worry. Now with my own kids if I try to call them and I don’t hear back I’m up the wall with worry. There wasn’t this expectation to speak to the person right then and there.

People don’t have the same patience as before – everyone wants instant gratification. Growing up my children all saved up for their first car, quite genuinely, from a very young age. It doesn’t seem to happen these days – kids get everything now so there’s no sense of achievement. Nothing can replace the feeling of “I’ve done that for myself”. It gives you a sense of satisfaction that no matter what’s going on in your life you know you can achieve something if you need to.

I think taking away that sense of what it’s like to achieve is so wrong. I remember my youngest daughter was so excited at the prospect of getting her first mobile phone after finishing her first state exams in school, which is what I had done for her older sisters. And what made it all the sweeter was knowing that she would earn it for herself. But before the results of the exams came out it was her birthday, and although I asked them not to, a family friend gave her a phone as a present. I was so upset as she missed out on the anticipation and the excitement of waiting – and by robbing her of the experience of actually achieving it for herself they gave her nothing.

To me accomplishment means

Having good relationships – whether it be in business or personal life. It’s all about respect at the end of the day. I’m divorced and I feel good about the fact that my ex-husband and I worked together to maintain a good relationship for our children; that we put them first before our egos and our hurts, and I think that was huge. I have four amazing children and that’s the biggest accomplishment of my life, as I’m putting back into the world nice people that I’m so proud of. And now that they have their own children it’s like a ripple effect.

What drives me to Accomplish Further

The pursuit of wellbeing.
My children.
My grandchildren.
My dogs.
They’re all reasons to get up and get on with it. It’s also the small things in life like a nice walk, a chat with a friend, a nice cup of tea… or a large glass of wine!