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100th Blog Celebration – Redefining Success by Tayyib Goolamallee

Redefining Success

by Tayyib Goolamallee

I started my journey with The HLA Leadership Blog 2 years ago, and what a journey it has been. To see this blog through to our 100 pieces milestone is one of my proudest accomplishments, and it has been fraught with important, unintentional lessons along the way.

You see, my journey here started with failure, when I first applied and didn’t succeed to get a place on The HLA scholarship programme. Like all failure, there is a bitterness following all the hours of hard work and effort put in, the overwhelming feeling that it all went to waste. And in this, as well as many other situations where I’ve failed, I’ve debated with the definitions of failure and success.

Are they one and the same? Is failure the absence of success? Are you only successful if you achieve what you set out to, if you reach your end goal? The conclusion I’ve reached is that success is an ‘internal sense of gain’ neither distinct from failure but also not dependent on it.

So, what is an ‘internal sense of gain’? You may want to think of it as a beginner’s guide to positivity and self-reflection. Understanding that there are many elements of a process that one can learn from should they choose to allow themselves. For example; when I re-applied to medical school both appreciating the hindsight and foresight that came with it, how missing out on one opportunity landed me conveniently a foot forward for the next, how not getting into a leadership programme made me a leader in my own right. It can be likened to walking through fog. Whilst we often desperately want to reach our destinations, sometimes we must pause, wait for the fog to clear, before we set off once again.

This little piece of learning is a gift from me to you, to not look at a glass half full or empty, but to change the size of the glass. Like myself in this scenario – I find that the authors within the healthcare leadership blogs are allowing you to learn from their own experiences, their own self-reflections, and their own internal sense of gain. This is why I feel an immense sense of achievement when seeing all these blogs published on The HLA Leadership Blog and why I feel so strongly attached to all of them, because their experience has become my own.

The success of 100 blogs cannot be solely attributed to me, without mentioning our authors over the years. I want to share some of the lessons they have gifted us with, through the blog.

Lessons like – affirming positive female leaders through the women in healthcare leadership and HLAxLords posts or perhaps more subtle reflections will show you what life on the frontlines of a pandemic were like for some and how often choosing kindness and civility can do just as much for the NHS as those on the HLAxLords panel lobbying for major structural change. Look out for future leaders like Ivan Beckley but also hear from the likes of Neena Modi, David Haslam and Johann Malawana will show you what it means to be a leader for future leaders.

And most importantly if you want to join a community of individuals and share the lessons you’ve learnt, then reflect on your practice, your internal sense of gain, and reach out to us. Because whilst these individual blogs are gems and jewels, the collectivism that comes from all of them is a treasure chest. An amalgamation of a growing community, an organisation in support of change and growth. The HLA.

For myself this blog has been a bedrock; at times when I was unable to motivate myself, at times when the finish line looked unreachable, at times I thought I was a failure. But someone once told me that “your journey is the destination”, and with that I impart my last piece of wisdom – mistakes and failures are not antithetical to success but rather intrinsic to it.



Tayyib Goolamallee is a final year medical student at the University of Southampton and lead editor of the HLA leadership blog. He is working on getting the HLA Journal off the ground. He’s enthusiastic about the role of technology enhanced medicine, and social determinants of health. Follow Tayyib @tayyibgoolam



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