By Caroline Mutoko

You will probably be out of breath after you read through this year’s shortlist of Top 40 Under40. It is also totally understandable if you may want to lock yourself up in a room and devour each story. As you read through their accomplishments, your pulse rate will be a little heightened. That is exactly how you should feel because, these women quicken the pace of anything they encounter. All of them, every single one of them are outliers. Put it another way, the kind of women who are ‘too much’. The ones the world needs.

In a world where the prevailing narrative, the false narrative will have you believe that “our women have lost their way”; that we aspire to be nothing; that we want to coast through life and add no value to humanity. These ‘too much’ women, stand 40 to the power of 40 to the power of 40 and stare that narrative down.

We, the ‘too much women’ are the norm, not the exception. I am not the original ‘too much woman’ but I know my people and they know me and I say, welcome to the tribe. How do you know us? We smile too freely, laugh too loudly, speak too fast. We are too intense, too strong-willed. We have too many dreams and too high standards. We are too passionate, too ambitious, too strong and the best of all we are too honest about our ‘muchness’.

We were never made to fit into a box that is too small for the magnificence that we hold inside. I embrace being ‘too much’ because I have learned that when you expect less and demand less, you get less.

Surely, the 40 women we celebrate here today are not too much for a world in need of hope, answers, solutions and women and girls in search of inspiration and role models. Not too much, in fact not near enough.

Ladies, as you got through the day and the next year (you carry the torch for a year), take note and marvel at the number of people who celebrate you. You are exactly what we need. The world is fickle, and for every five “slay queen” narrative spinners, there are hundreds of us quietly appreciating your panache. You inspire and you delight and yes, you are too much and that is exactly what the world needs. Don’t you dare change. Thank you very much for being ‘too much’! Congratulations!