Soul Stealers – Part II: Complacency

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The thief of inspiration, satisfied with life the way it is, failing to lead change and arrogantly accepting that you have arrived, that there is no need for any more effort…….

The world is changing at a rapid pace and certainty is a thing of the past. With hurried lives, we seek to master the curveballs thrown at us and pay attention to the hundreds of competing priorities. Many of us need structure or at least some routine to get through the rat race, whilst others do not have the luxury of carefully planned days and are often tossed into turmoil. Success requires resilience, the desire to consistently push barriers, to raise limits, to challenge yourself, to live with braveness, to aspire for greatness, not only for self gain but for the ability to share with the less fortunate. We cannot grow into abundance by forsaking others in need.

Change can either be our best friend or our worst enemy. The world is in the process of great dispruption, nothing is the same as it was and nothing will be the same going forward. Disruption seeks to change our world, turn it inside out and upside down, completely eradicating what was, to introduce what is. It seeks to destroy the past but create the future all at the same time. This disruption brings chaos and complacency has no place in choas.

The gravity of change requires an attitude of readiness, of enthusiasm no matter what comes your way, a willingness to go beyond structure, beyond routine, beyond certainty. To understand our innermost thoughts, our shortcomings and our value requires that we are in touch with ourselves, that we know what sells us and what sets us back. The extent of your readiness to meet change head on, determines the extent of your success. How ready are you to grab the opportunities that come your way?, How proactive are you to live forward by being fully present?

We only have to look around us to see the magnitude of change unfolding in front of our eyes. Mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, retrenchments, technology invasions, and so the list goes on. None of our jobs are guaranteed and no employer owes you a future. Our future is created by our own attitudes and our desire to be counted, to be real and to be valued.

 

What is complacency?

Complacency is the feeling of comfort associated with the success and knowledge that you have arrived and there is no need to do anything more with your life or, being comfortable with what you have and oblivious to the risks that you could face in the future.

Success takes great courage and great determination. It is derived through a consistent will to seize every day and make full use of it. It does not play victim to circumstance, it finds an opportunity in every circumstance. It does not wait for someone to hand you greatness on a silver platter, it creates its own platform informed by a vision that is focused and goals that are audacious and loud, that scares you, that grows you. It does not limit your thinking to your age, or your ability to your education. It constantly seeks to explore new boundaries and in doing so, leaves you richer in every way.

Successful people don’t remain successful doing nothing. They are constantly investing in new ideas, new solutions and new innovations. They realize that in order to remain successful, they must be top of their game. It doesn’t help to be great sometimes; you need to strive for greatness at all times. Stop using your busy schedule as an excuse not to gym, or your conflict with people at work as an excuse for stagnation, or your age as an excuse for not studying. Wealth can only be multiplied by consistent effort, time can only be multiplied by present appreciation, health can only be appreciated by constant self-renewal.

No matter how successful you are, risk is imminent, whether it is in the form of illness, death or job loss. When either of these comes your way, are you ready to deal with it emotionally, financially and physically? Don’t be smug about your success or arrogant about your achievements, they don’t substitute your humanity. Be clear on your vision, be passionate about your journey and be cognizant of the risk that you face as an individual. When there is a deep sense of comfort and no motivation, or will to strive for better, you risk everything you have.

Some signs of complacency?

  • You have no goals.
  • You are not receptive to change and resent the notion of anything new.
  • You are constantly complaining and bickering about your job and the people you work with.
  • You are waiting for the wave of motivation.
  • You are not challenged in any way and there is limited intellectual growth.
  • You are disengaged; your job had become just a job!
  • You are not inspired to contribute anything more than what is required of you.

How does this soul stealer rob us of our peace of mind?

We only have one lifetime. None of us know when the dark hour will come upon us and we will take our last breath. Should we be living in the hope that someone out there will rescue us from our misery and save us from damnation? Should we assume that at 65, when our job no longer requires us and we have not made appropriate provision for our old age that our children will fit the bill? Is it up to someone else to create opportunities, stretch us, challenge us, take care of us and reward us, or can we take an active and deliberate part in our own lives, focused on what lies ahead but appreciating the beauty of being mindfully present.

Complacency is a thief of your soul;

  • It reduces your brainpower.
  • It stifles your growth.
  • It steals your passion for living.
  • It takes away your power to inspire, to teach, to make a difference.
  • It leaves you behind when the world has moved.
  • It reduces your wealth.
  • It subjects you to personal risk.
  • It makes you resentful over time.
  • It compromises your brand.

How do you destroy this soul stealer?

  • Own your life, your career, your future – take charge. Don’t blame anyone for where you are, only you can steer the course of your life.
  • Set goals – focus on what you want to achieve and focus on taking steps to achieve them. Every time you achieve your goal, set another one that is harder and more difficult to attain, keep stretching and pushing yourself. Motivation is an internal catalyst, it is borne from your desire to be extraordinary.
  • Establish and maintain professional networks – make a point of focusing on growing your network. Through these interactions, you grow as a person and as an individual. It also creates a platform for dialogue and it keeps your vision and your goals sharp and relevant. A good network of people gives you access to opportunities. It’s up to you to take them.
  • Read 1 new book every month, that’s 12 in a year – Keep your intellect strong and learn everything you can about your career, your job and your passion.
  • Talk to people, get their views, and share ideas -the more people challenge you, the more you know you need to learn. Don’t be too proud to learn from anyone. You may be an expert in your field but there are things about this world you cannot even begin to fathom. Be open to learning new things, they stretch your imagination and prepare you for flight whether that learning comes from a 5 year old or an 85 year old, it has value, you just need to be receptive to the lesson. We limit our growth because we measure ourselves against others. Don’t see other people as your competition, It’s not them you need to master, it’s yourself!
  • Review and update your CV – every time you acquire new knowledge or learn a new skill, update it. It’s a running biography of your professional life, don’t undermine it and don’t dilute your importance by downplaying your achievements. If you don’t market yourself, no one knows what you are capable of.
  • Guard against disengagment – being withdrawn from your work does more damage to you than it does to the organization. If you are not happy, do something about it, instead of complaining every chance you get. People don’t respect constant complainers, they respect people who recognize their situation and do something constructive to help themselves.
  • Give back – spend time with those that are less fortunate, it keeps you humble and appreciative of what you have and it drives you to continue to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Don’t underestimate the power of someone’s gratitude when you address his or her need for survival.
  • Renew your thinking – constructively challenge the way things are done so that you remain future focused looking for ways to improve. Everything in life comes with a choice, you have a choice to be a victim or a victor, to break or shape, to disrupt or conform, to stay or leave, to rise-up or quit. Successful people take the high road, as difficult and daunting as it may be, they know they are bound to find help along the way. The low road is easy but lonely and there are fewer travelers.

Its time to claim back your “self-power” by defeating the villain of complacency.

Until next time, keep on learning!

Thank you for sharing.

 

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Soul Stealers

Soul Stealers

It’s been a hectic start to the year. Thank you to 2017 for all the lessons and the blessings. It has indeed been a year of tremendous learning. I am ready to embrace 2018 and all that it offers. 2017 saw me inspired with finishing my dissertation for my Masters, which incidentally, took up all my free time. I underestimated the effort required but was deeply grateful for having passed and able to attend my graduation at the University of Liverpool in London. An amazing achievement celebrated in style and in good company. How often do you get to spend two solid weeks, celebrating life, uninterrupted and in complete appreciation. To journey from London to Los Angeles with my two beautiful daughters was incredible and a memory I will treasure forever. It has always been a tradition to travel to at least one new place every year. In January 2017, we chose our destination for December 2017 and fulfilled our goals.

We were blessed with a peaceful festive season and it is always a reminder that no matter how far in the world you travel, the best Christmas is always spent with the people you care most about in this world. Despite all the wonderful gifts that Christmas brings, as you get older, you realize that the real and true gifts are the inspirational messages you get from friends, the quick whats apps to let you know they thinking about you, the unexpected phone call to check on you because they genuinely care about you. They are not too consumed with their own egos that they forget to make time for matters close to the heart.

No matter where you go in life, no matter how many material possessions or how much wealth you have, you will find very little joy if you cannot be part of an integrated system of connected individuals who care about you enough to acknowledge your presence and your life. These gifts of togetherness bring an inner peace that cannot be comprehended. 2017 was indeed a year of many beginnings and endings with an array of emotions, both excitement and disappointment. It highlighted once again, the need to live life to its fullest having been reminded of the fragility of life with close friends diagnosed with terminal illnesses. It also yielded a year of loss through the end of precious relationships.

Life is an ever-changing phenomenon. Sometimes change is deliberate, sometimes it is more subtle. You may go through life accepting the way things are, questioning if this is all life has to offer. Until one day, experience teaches you differently. Life is a transformation and things are constantly changing, challenging you, stretching you, and testing you. Everything in life requires hard work, whether it’s being a parent, a committed employee, whether you are in a marriage for 30 years or a relationship for 5 years.

The past few months were just a reminder of how easily our lives can be stolen in a quick and brief moment. Death is not the only thief of life, there are many thieves ingrained into our lives, waiting to turn us into dust, depriving us of a future, riddling us with guilt and leaving us faced with a life of deep despair and umbrage. We give people far too much power in our lives, the power to control us, to own us, judge us, label us, hurt us. The power to condemn us, ridicule us and destroy us. This web of emotions entangles us, leaving us breathless, tired and apathetic, wishing our lives away, hoping that the storm will soon pass and we can be given some peace to pick up our pieces again. It revealed to us the colossal impact that people can have on our well-being, on our dreams and on our future.

Of all the greatest gifts you could receive in this lifetime, peace of mind would be top of my list. Nothing is more precious than being able to sleep with a clear conscience and wake up filled with an energy that is quiet, yet strong and focused. There are no raging rivers in your heart. An energy that is clean and still, without negative thoughts racing through your mind. An energy that is pure and embracing without any hidden agendas in your day. An energy that is real and captivating, reminding you of your great purpose and entrusting you to live it fully. The peace of mind that comes from focusing on the present and not living in anxiety over the future or in regret about the past. Every day is seen as a small step in your journey to greatness. The vigour applied to the present moment is as intense as the vision is towards the end goal.

When you are gifted with a free heart, there is a constant glow. People are drawn towards you and you engender love, peacefulness and inspiration.  This energy discharges a current of strength, wisdom, belief and faith. Our energy is what attracts situations and circumstances. The more we crowd our lives with soul stealers, the more negative energy we dispel and the more doomed we are to the wasteland. The more we are possessed by the energy of soul stealers, the less room we leave for discovering who we truly are, for chasing our dreams and fulfilling all we were meant to be in this lifetime.

The greatest hour of truth and possession by the soul thief, is when you lay your head down to sleep. It is this one moment that no matter how significant we are in this world, that no matter how famous and rich we are, that we are all succumbed to the moment where rest is essential and where we are one with our soul. Your only companion is your conscience. It is at this time that you are either consumed by thoughts of joy, fear, regret, or heartache. The soul thief waits in the wings to snatch any flicker of hope you have, robbing you of health, peace, hope and faith, leaving you empty and desolate.

Life’s greatest rivals are your ego and your inner spirit. This war is real and destructive. Ego drives materiality and desire, the need to be superior, the need for aggressive social acceptability. Your inner spirit drives humanity and peace, it seeks to find love, compassion and understanding. Humanity respects the vastness of this universe and our vulnerability within, acknowledging that we are part of a great plan, a great purpose and in fulfilling it, we must give of ourselves. Ego respects superiority, acknowledging that power is essential. When your ego is in charge, you are restless, there is a constant abyss, an emptiness, as if the void inside of you can never be filled, waking up with a sense of trepidation and anxiety. Ego builds attachment, humanity heals detachment.

Life is an ever-changing constant. Every day offers you an opportunity to rethink, reshape and reinvent. When life throws you with its curveballs, you realize that there are many ways to deal with these challenges, you can either rise up and be strong or your can allow the soul stealers to invade your life and rob you of the peace you so desire. They are waiting to surround you like the plaque, ready to  diminish your existence. They know that as long as they control your soul, they control your life. You cannot bargain with a soul thief, there’s no negotiation, once you are trapped, freedom has a hefty price.

To completely get rid of the dark force that surrounds your life, and the world that soul stealers thrive in, you must first acknowledge their presence in your life. Know your enemy, only then can you strategically forge an army of warriors against these spirits of darkness.

 

What are these soul stealers we talk about, who are they? They are faceless and fearless!

Complacency –the thief of inspiration, satisfied with life the way it is, failing to lead change and arrogantly accepting that you have arrived, that there is no need for any more effort. It steals your vigor, zeal and all that you have achieved leaving you obliterated, wondering if what you once had was real.

Guilt – is like the silent plaque that is unsuspecting, slowly whispering in your ear, telling you how worthless you are, reminding you of your many mistakes.  It clutches onto your will, commanding you to focus on the past. You are in a time trap, free falling and out of control.

Regret – regret tortures you, it hangs in front, forcing you to reach out and relive the past, it keeps you trapped in yesterday and refuses to forgive you for your imperfections. It does not guarantee tomorrow because tomorrow is already stolen.

Self-Doubt – self-doubt tiptoes slowly weaving its way into your confidence, building cobwebs so that the future becomes hazy and unclear. It second-guesses your purpose, your goal and your future.

Uncontrolled debt – revels in the glory of lack. It shows you the scoreboard and it’s the only time you are pegged right at the top of the scale, not to show your value, but to show your liability. It magnifies your anxiety and diminishes your humanity.

Worry – creeps up on you, it flutters from one shoulder to the other, it rides alongside you, directing your path, obsessing over disaster and lack. It creates a vision board for you, one that tells the story of failure, doom and destruction. It reminds you that you are a slave bound by the shackles of worry.

 

Join me on this journey as we unpack every one of these soul thieves. Each upcoming blog post will deal with the extent to how these soul stealers rob us of our peace of mind and what we can do about them.

Subscribe to my blog to keep appraised of upcoming posts.

Until next time, keep on learning!

Thank you for sharing.

 

Mentor or Monster?

Mentor or Monster?

The business environment has been plagued by a continued need for innovation, transformation and change. This no doubt creates an enormous amount of pressure on organisations, requiring them to balance organisational health measured through morale and organisational wealth, measured through talented people and profits. Recent articles indicate a dire need for organisations to take stock and to create sustainable businesses in order to embrace a global economy

To remain relevant and competitive in this fast paced world, we need leaders who transcend organisations and understand how to harness the strength and energy of its people. However, of late, I have had numerous complaints from people about their leaders and managers and the degree to which they are reinforcing a culture of toxicity. It seems that there are a vast number of firms that pay lip service to their values. Values cannot create change for as long as they sit up on a plaque against the wall. Values must be given life by exhibiting behaviours that are concurrent with the behaviours professed to exist within the leadership of the organisation.

When the adopted values (what we believe we are) and performed values (what we actually do) are out of balance, this translates into cynicism, negativity, disillusionment and disengagement. When an organisation’s adopted values and performed values are aligned, the benefits result in cohesion, team integration, positivity and high performance cultures.

Managers play a fundamental part in the creation and shaping of culture. It is a manager and the way in which he/she treats people who either allows him/her to earn their trust or fear their wrath. Respect unites people, fear divides people. I don’t always think that managers understand the degree of power levelled against them in the role that they play. At any given point in time, they have the power to shape or shatter, build or break, raise or ruin the dreams of another person. Managers don’t always appreciate the trust placed in them, and the example that they set.

How are you are executing your role as a manager, which one are you, the mentor or the monster?

A Mentor A Monster
Listens with intent to shape and raise the aspirations of others Listens with intent to diminish and break others
Sets direction so that the roadmap is clear Has no idea on where the organisation is going, misleads and criticises organisational efforts.
Creates a climate of trust and respect Creates a climate of heightened anxiety and stress, rules through fear
Understands that life does not revolve around his/her feelings Is ego driven and winning is everything
Is accessible and approachable making the time to engage people Is power-hungry and people are summoned to accentuate this authority.
Is non-judgmental and provides constructive feedback for growth and renewed purpose Ridicules and embarrasses others, whether in person or in front of colleagues
Is confident within himself/herself Is arrogant and unable to lead himself/herself
Propels, motivates and inspires others to be “more” Does not believe anyone can be better than them

Symptoms that the monster is on the loose

Environments that are managed by “monsters” normally culminate in the following:-

    • High degrees of role ambiguity
    • Excessively high rates of absenteeism
    • Unresolved conflict
    • A toxic environment where fairness and freedom is compromised
    • Fear, anxiety and high levels of stress
    • Selective exclusion
    • Qlickment – management by cliques, if you are not in the clique, you are not in the game.

You were not placed in a management position for self-gain. You were entrusted to make a difference in the life of another, to lead and encourage others, to provide hope in the future and teach people to find their way, to shape their lives, to live a life they can be proud of and to set and reach new limits every day. The world is complex enough and people have more than enough on their personal plates then to put up with egos and monsters in the workplace. We are not going to live forever so what’s the point in preserving our egos. What we should be striving towards is the desire to pave the way for others, to make their paths easier, to teach them what we learnt so they don’t make the same mistakes, to catch them before they fall, to encourage them to live in harmony with others so that we can preserve a good foundation for generations to follow. These are the ways in which we influence the people we manage. Every day, they learn from us, whether good or bad.

Choose to be bold enough to move others ahead of you, strong enough to be their pillar, brave enough to let them leave you behind, wise enough to show them the way and humble enough to accept that life is a journey of continuous learning.

Until our next connect session. Keep on learning!

Nimee Dhuloo

 

Letting go!

The last few months of this year has been a blur, preparing for my final dissertation submission and consumed by hectic work schedules and pressing personal priorities. Time has no doubt passed by speedily and without any consideration for my “list of things to do”. It has also been an emotional 6 months for me, losing a close cousin and having two personal colleagues diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. This has certainly made me very sad. On the upside, we recently celebrated being part of an amazing surprise engagement for my daughter.

Life does have its seasons, seasons of growth and seasons of restoration. Through our own and through the challenges of others, we learn and grow. I am once again reminded of the fragility of life and how often we are so consumed by worry, prolonged stress, crisis, responsibilities and obligations, that we are often exhausted, burnt out and sometimes anxious, angry, fearful and bitter, resulting in self destruction. We are constantly at war with ourselves, defeating our own inner voices of encouragement and triumph, drowning our own passions and dreams to settle the score with others, battling through our preconceived ideas, debating right and wrong in our minds because we are in conflict with decisions we made and yet, through it all, we forget about the real warrior, ourselves.

We spend so much time being anxious about what the future holds that we work ourselves out of a future. We worry so much about everything and everyone that we drive ourselves crazy thinking the world will stop without us. We take on more and more in the hope that we can justify our existence. We hold back our thoughts and voices in the fear of being excluded, and we are afraid to say “no” because it make us look mean, selfish and inconsiderate. In the end, we achieve what we can, exhausted, compromised and sometimes angry.

We worry about our kids, our job, whether we will make payment on all our obligations, we worry about our future, our parents and so the list goes on. Over the last few months, I have been through my own journey, a journey of self-reflection, self-acknowledgement and self-renewal. Through this journey I have learnt a few priceless lessons which have created in me a different sentiment, a different approach and a different urgency around everything I do. Most importantly, I have learnt about the importance of faith in God and belief in myself.

There must be a divine purpose

When I look back on my life and what I have achieved. I know that there must be a divine hand guiding my path. It is virtually impossible to do everything on our own. I have learnt that I cannot control everything, and that in the absence of perceived control, prayer is the closest rescue. I realised that I need to let go of the things I cannot control and trust that everything will work out in perfect harmony

 I am number “one”

I am the most important person in this life. Without ME, nothing else is possible. As much as I love my mom, my children, my family and my friends, the greatest gift that I can give them is the confidence that I am happy and well. That means that I need to take decisive action at putting myself first in everything I do. There is a difference between putting yourself first and being selfish. Being selfish means you care about no one else but yourself, putting yourself first means you care about everyone, that’s why you put yourself first. I knew that I had to trust myself more, worry less; exercise, exercise and exercise more, meditate, cycle, run, swim, make every yoga class, make the time to prepare a good meal and most importantly, make the time to sit down and enjoy it, sleep earlier, read and learn more for some fire to my soul. I could not focus on “Me” if I was consumed with focusing on everyone else. I had to let go of the guilt that I felt when I made time for the things that I needed. I needed to make myself priority number one. Remember, “You” comes before all that is “yours”.

It’s about quality, not quantity

I wished for a long time that I could spend more time with my mom, really be there for her in many more ways, when she woke up in the morning, throughout the day and even at night before she went to bed. I realised that I was so afraid of losing her that I was driving myself crazy trying to be there for her at every waking moment, even when she did not really need me. I was trying to balance all of this with running a business and honouring all other commitments, needless to say, driving myself to exhaustion. I reflected on the article that I wrote on “Balance is Power”. Not being there 24 /7 for our parents does not make us bad children. It’s the deliberate attempts we make to spend time with them, being fully present when we do, including them in our plans as if they will be around forever that gives them a sense of purpose. The greatest gift we can give them is being well enough ourselves so that we can in turn take care of them. So I let go of the need to constantly be with her, to instead harnessing the time that I did spend with her, making it more valuable and meaningful. I cannot control what will happen and how she will leave this earth, whether she will leave before me or me before her, but I can make sure that I do everything possible to give her the best of ” ME” in the way I love her, the way I care for her and the way I spend time with her.

My children have a different journey to mine

My children are such a big part of my life, they fill my day, they make me a better person in so many ways, and every single day I learn something new about the world from a completely different perspective. It’s natural to find yourself wanting to create the perfect life for them. I have been conflicted with how much I should be doing versus allowing them to sometimes stumble enough to learn about the basic values of self responsibility, financial prudence, and transparent relationships and, amongst many other things, prioritising learning for personal growth. I realised that no matter how much advice, direction and attitude I gave them, they were bound to make their own decisions. What I needed to trust was that the foundational values I instilled in them would be a beacon of light showing them the way ahead. I also realised that as much as they love us as parents, they eventually grow independent of us. Instead of trying to fight this internal conflict and hang on to them for dear life, or shelter them, I let go, knowing and trusting them to confidently embrace the big world as I have, where they can learn and harness their own talents and write their own story. I learnt that my role was not to create but to shape their future. I let go of taking full responsibility for them. I will always be here, to guide them, to advise them, to teach them but I have had to accept that they have their own journey.

We make time for what’s important.

Friendships whether with family or friends take commitment, time and sacrifice. To truly benefit from relationships, you must be willing to give it concerted effort. You cannot hope to have others spend time with you but you don’t make time for them. For a long time I exhausted myself caring about family and friends who never cared to check on me or reach out to me. I may be strong on the outside, that doesn’t make me less in need of love or care. So, I let go of holding them to ransom, and expecting them to care as much as I did. I did that because I realise that everyone has their own battles, their own priorities and their own journey. Of course I will always be there for them when they need me because that’s who I am but, I will no longer break my back to forge a relationship which has no significance in their life. People make time for you when they value you, it’s really that simple.

My job is the fuel for my engine.

No job will love you as much as you love it. Your job is a means to an end, not the end. There is life after every employment contract and I have let go of being attached to my job to the extent that I cannot make any decisions without it. My job is valued and cherished, it is not idolised.

Being prepared

I love life and I am constantly reaching out for new ideas, new opportunities and new experiences. I intend to live a good many years and I intend to accomplish a lot more. Challenging work fuels me and I sometimes lose myself in all the priorities that life hands me. But alas, we know that life is not guaranteed and that every one of us will be called according to our ticket number. We are either ready or not. We are either given time to say goodbye or not. How prepared are we for the departure terminal, do we have all our travel documents intact? Can we let go?As much as we should live our lives responsibly, making it easier for others, so should we leave this earth, without creating anxiety and stress for those we love and leave behind.

 Gratitude

You can never attract any amount of success into your life without acknowledging the people, the circumstances and the lessons that created those opportunities. In every experience, there is story of gratitude so let go of focusing only on the negative aspects of your life. As, much as this year has been a whirlwind of so many escapades, it has also brought with it, excitement, love and togetherness. Being part of the surprise engagement of my eldest daughter, Tasarnia, also known as “the gilded hanger” has no doubt been the highlight of this year. In the midst of life and its challenges, there is always the promise of hope, faith and trust in the future. Let’s embrace that and be eternally grateful for the time we have here.

Until our next connect session, keep on learning!

Embracing a New Year

As we gear up for the start of a new year, so many thoughts fill our minds. What does the year ahead hold? How do we achieve all we are setting out to? Will this be a good year for us? How do we save for our next holiday destination? This is an exciting time of the year, a time for review, reflection and renewal. A New Year brings with it an opportunity to try again, to start afresh and to beat us at our best.

One of the most important insights in embracing a New Year means that you need to start off with a positive mindset. Positivity attracts positivity and creates opportunities for growth and success. It is only when you open yourself up to probabilities, that you invite opportunity into your life. We also know that setting goals is common for the start of a New Year. Goals that reflect our inner desires, our priorities for the year ahead, goals that tell us what needs the most attention in our lives and goals that prepare us for the future, taking us one step closer to our dream, our vision, our purpose.

In starting a New Year, there are 4 important cornerstones.

Self-confidence – start the year off believing in your greatest asset, YOU. Nothing can be accomplished without the alignment of your heart, your mind and your will. One of the most important ingredients for taking on any project, starting a new job, seizing a new opportunity, embracing a New Year, taking on a new business venture, is faith in yourself! Self-confidence is key to instilling faith in yourself, being positive that you will succeed, soaking up the learning that comes from different opportunities and being receptive to change, uncertainty and the need for transformation, accepting that in the midst of the unknown, you are being prepared for something bigger, better and brighter. We don’t know what the future holds, but we can apply our thinking and confidence to expect nothing but the best from this year, believing in ourselves and determined to do what it takes to succeed. Remember: Self-Confidence + Effort = Transition.

Self-renewal – we all need to constantly reinvent ourselves. Any opportunity cannot be maximized without really understanding how you need to show up to embrace that opportunity. Starting a New Year requires that you take stock of where you are at, what is it that you really want to achieve this year, how you are going to get there. Movement does not happen if you stand still. Change does not happen by chance, unless you create the need, the hunger and the desire to transform your life, you will not create a new journey. True transformation does not happen through osmosis, it is a deliberate attempt to understand what you want and where you are going. Goals are your roadmap. Self-renewal focuses on the new learning, new skills, and the new mindset you need to adopt to transition through your journey. This may mean new behaviours and letting go of undesirable ones, it means learning and unlearning at the same time. Remember: Self renewal + Goals = Change.

Self-mastery – Nothing is bigger than the giant within you. Every day is a learning experience and every day brings a different challenge. No one is perfect and no one can honestly say that they have completely mastered themselves. Keep an open mind to embrace knowledge. This year presents an opportunity to improve your skills, your competencies, to learn something different, to educate yourself, to practice something amazing, to touch lives, to make meaningful contributions. Success attracts success and self-mastery creates more opportunities for success. You are the multiplier, the rainmaker, and the oracle. Your only obstacle is You. Remember: Self-mastery + Knowledge = Transformation.

Self-fulfillment – we need to recognize our greatest ally, our sense of self-worth. Whatever you do this year make a conscious decision not to do anything that compromises your sense of self-fulfillment. Whether professionally or personally, you will have set goals. These goals must be clear, they must have impetus in your life, they must stretch you to be better, they must shape your vision and direct every step you take during this year. Success does not happen through planning alone, it happens through decisive action. Your goals must create a better you in every aspect. It doesn’t help to achieve anything in life if what you have achieved does not add value to your life. Whatever your goals, they must create a sense of self-worth and self-accomplishment. Remember: Self-Fulfillment + Transformation = Success.

Don’t forget to make this year’s journey lighter and exciting by:-

Seeking Inner Guidance

Trust your inner wisdom. You are your best advocate and your best teacher. Sometimes the guidance we seek is already within us. Learn to trust your instincts, understand yourself better and look within for inner guidance. Reflect on what your own inhibitions are, what changes you need to make to master them.

Trusting

When you go to bed at night, you don’t have to worry about whether the sun will rise the next morning. It just does. That’s what faith is about. Believing and trusting that there is a higher purpose for your life and that where you are now is exactly where you are intended to be. Trust that the year will bring greatness, opportunities and brilliance into your life, and be prepared to grab them with both hands.

Completing

You cannot plan for the future without giving your absolute best to the present. Everything in life prepares you for your next step, your next challenge. Completion is an important principle and one that is often taken for granted. You are expected to complete your responsibilities, obligations and commitments, be it in a job, a project or a promise. Think of your life as one big puzzle and every aspect of it that you complete, you fill the puzzle until the whole has been completed and your purpose fulfilled. Don’t wish you were somewhere else, doing something else, in doing so, you are relinquishing the power you have over the “now”. Instead, see it as part of the wider purpose of your life and complete the unfinished aspects of it with vigor, determination and conviction. That positive energy will return to you tenfold.

Diversifying

You cannot grow if you do the same things day in and day out. Embracing a New Year, living your best life means having to rebel against the norms of conformism. It means stretching the boundaries, trying, failing, and trying again. It means understanding everything in your world from every point of view. It does not mean stress free living or guaranteed payouts. It means using your mind in all the ways you can to bring and appreciate different perspectives. Diversity in your thinking creates room for creativity, which in turn creates room for opportunity. Your goals must be diverse enough to stretch you, challenge you, scare you and push you.

Living in Totality

There are many parts of our lives that we will need to focus on this year. Each one presents a different set of obligations and results. How many of us will go through this year completely committed to the goals we set? How many of us will see it as just another unsuccessful attempt? How many of us will wonder where the year went? Some of us will set out many plans and goals and many of us will end up reaching some or none. How do we channel our mind this year and appreciate that each day brings a chance to get closer to achieving our goals? How will we make the best use of our time? We can do this only by being completely present and giving of ourselves in totality to everything it is we are doing. It means being absorbed in the present so that we have shaped a perfect future. The decision, behaviors and goals you set now create the roadmap for the future, you must apply yourself in totality to realize the power of “Now” or else you will have lost the moment forever.

This may be a philosophical approach to goal setting but you already know the technical aspects to setting goals. They must be simple, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. The majority of effort in realizing the goal is more in your head than it is in your hands. Goals are made real in the space between mind and heart. Once you align your head (knowing what you want), heart (loving what you want) and hands (being ready to put in the effort for what you want), you pave the way for a transition and transformation in your life.

Until our next connect session.

Thank you for sharing.

 

BALANCE IS POWER

It is a clear challenge that as the world progresses and races at a rapid speed, that TIME is of the essence. What we do with our time has never become more important. In our role as parents, professionals, children to ageing parents and individuals with a list of goals and dreams we want to accomplish, we are constantly racing against the clock, conflicted by how we spend our time. The enemy is not time, the enemy is our lack of respect for time, our acceptance that we will always have the same opportunities and taking that for granted.

This lesson has become more prominent in recent times. There are some things in life that no matter how much time you have, you just never get back. Like moments with your children, listening to their excitement as they talk about their day, sharing their goals and dreams and being energized by their passion for life. Like ageing parents that are grateful to see another sunrise, experience another day to share a meal with you, listening to your plans with eagerness, knowing that they may not be around to see them materialize, Like spending time being kind to ourselves, exercising, resting and appreciating the value of our health. As you get older, you realize that your will and your energy is not always aligned.

This has made me more conscious of the time that is passing by so swiftly, so silently and yet so quickly. People often say to me that they don’t have time. “I can’t exercise, I have no time:” “I’ve been trying to study but I just don’t have the time”,” “My job consumes me”, I am too tired to do anything”.

Reflecting on all of these has made me eager to share some of my observations and insights:

You see, I realize that in order to create balance in your life, you need to create context of what is important. When we create context of what is important, we treat those things differently. For example, you wouldn’t leave your most previous jewelry lying around, unguarded, unprotected and uninsured. That’s because you have context for it and that context has created value for it. What context do you have for your life? What value have you placed on your life, your children, your parents, your health and your own development and future?

“The future is sustainable only to those who value its present context”

                                                                        Nimee Dhuloo

That means appreciating the value of presence. Balance is not about splitting your time equally between work and home. In a world where costs are escalating, we are expected to work to ensure that we are able to provide for our responsibilities and ourselves. Splitting your time equally between work and home is neither practical nor realistic. However, you don’t have to forsake one for the other. What it does require is context and presence. I mean giving 100% of yourself when you are work and equally 100% of yourself when you are at home. It means being present, listening, hearing, noticing, paying attention to special occasions, and taking time out to do important things. Prioritizing that which has context in your life. When you are connected at a personal level, your professional life becomes more rewarding, more fulfilling. A coach once said to me that your job is like the fuel at the petrol station, you use it to fill up your vehicle so that you can run all your errands. The fuel is only a small but necessary part without which you will not be able to get to where you want. The fuel, like your job, allows you the opportunity to fill up your life so that you can create a better future for yourself and your loved ones, it does not replace your time with them.

I don’t know about you but I want to eat out of a glass bowl for as long as I can and not be too frail to be allowed only plastic. I want to walk my dog as much as I can and not be too frail to experience only my bed. I want to eat as much of everything I love without having to live only on liquids. I want to travel the world as much as I can without having to worry about my health. How can I live with balance if I have no self-power? Self- power comes from knowing what has context and value in my life and living my life in a way, every day, that does not lose sight of that context.

So if balance is power, how do I create it?

Recognizing that your health is the most important aspect of your being. Without which, nothing else is possible – make time to exercise, eat, sleep and pray – RISE EARLY TO STRETCH TIME

Knowledge is key to keeping us relevant and valuable so that we can continue to rely on ourselves to generate income to secure our livelihood. –learn something new every day – SET ASIDE A POWER HOUR TO REJUVENATE YOURSELF

Living in the house you bought and knowing and loving every part of that place you call home – take time to appreciate your home, host lunches, dinners. LIVE IT, APPRECIATE IT

Being present with your kids so you connect to their heart and minds. That time will never come back and that moment will never repeat itself – take time to get to know your kids, what’s important to them. VALUE YOUR LOVED ONES

Setting the dinner table and preparing the meal, no matter how simple it may be. It’s not the frills that matter, it’s the spirit with which it is made and served. How many more meals will you have together? – take the time to cook something special, sit together, talk about your day. BE TUNED IN

Appreciating your parents, they have been on your journey, you need to give them some comfort through theirs.- take time to pay that visit, make that cup of tea, sacrifice a day just for them, they sacrificed their life for you. BE GRACIOUS

Giving your best professionally without sacrificing personally – make time to understand your own context, define what’s of value and work tirelessly to protect that value. WORK FUELS LIFE; IT DOES NOT REPLACE IT!

As we embrace the festive season, lets us be mindful of all that has context in our lives.

Thank you for sharing

May the FORCE be with you! “Especially written for small business owners”.

 

It can be quite challenging starting up a new company. There are many things to consider and at times, you will experience both excitement and nervousness as you embark on this journey. Your heart tells you that it is the right thing to do but your head keeps reminding you about the many pitfalls you are bound to land in. The combination of both fear and uncertainty of the future makes it a tough choice and certainly not for the faint hearted. Having successfully run my company for a good 12 years, I can tell you that it is no easy feat. Do I regret it? NO!. Would I have started it if I had my life to live over again……absolutely YES!

It has been one of the most amazing adventures of my life. I have learnt and grown as an individual in leaps and bounds. The wealth of knowledge I have been privileged at uncovering has been phenomenal. It has removed my blinkers and given me a new appreciation for Accountants, Marketers, IT Technicians, General Managers , not to mention working copiers, printers and wireless connections.   I often think back to the early days I started. I had the fortunate privilege of having an entrepreneurial husband who had run his own business for 20 years and identified with my best friends, trepidation and anxiety. His support and encouragement was instrumental in crafting my future and my determination to succeed.

Over the years, many people have asked me for advice on how to start up and run a company. I am certainly no expert and gosh, have I made mistakes!…it’s pretty much trial and error starting out. You don’t know what you don’t know. Everything seems vaque, foreign and complex. Some days you wake up excited and ready to take on the world, other days you cant help asking yourself “what was I thinking?”. This is completely normal. Small businesses require a different set of skills, innovation, entrepreneurship, resilience, persistence, faith and a belief in oneself. You cannot start a new venture without the will to succeed. Starting up a business is not just about complying with certain rules and conditions, It is also about being mindful of the reasons as to why you are embarking on this journey, the drivers behind your decision, the goals, both personal and professional that you are setting for yourself and most importantly, the impacts of this decision.

When you start a business based on passion and purpose, making money is by default. When you start a business to make money, you can easily lose sight of your passion and purpose.

I have often heard people say, “is it true that you make a lot more money running your own business then working for a boss.?” The objective of running your own business should be to pursue something you love doing. Of course, you want to make money but money doesn’t last without will and passion. Money will follow when you have heart in what you do. Remember that if you starting a business, you doing so to last a lifetime, unless you are making a conscious decision to give it up at some stage, but even then, it must be worth something. Starting a business takes deliberation, effort and commitment. It takes delicate planning, thought, a vision for the future and the desire to see it through, no matter how rough it gets. There is a strong differentiator between building a business and working for your business. Whilst you may start off your business having made many sacrifices, you must aim to get to a position where your business works for you.

The business should be the vehicle you use to drive your purpose and your passion and equally so, rewards you for your innovation. The skill you need to start a business, is not the same skill you need to stay in business. The trick is to see yourself as an investor in your business and not as an employee. If you continue to see yourself as an employee, you have not transitioned your business to start working for you, you are still very much a “worker” and not a business owner.

I thought that it would be a good idea to share some of my learnings over the years as much of it has shaped my journey and continues to guide every decision I make:-

Focus – you cannot be all things to all people. Focus on what it is you want to achieve through your company and build your solutions and value around this. When you are good at the one thing you sell, you gain credibility. People believe in you, in your brand, in what you have to offer. They no longer buy your product, they buy your company’s capability.

Originality – there are many products on the shelf. What is unique about yours? Originality sells. I don’t want to buy what everyone else has. My problem is unique, my situation is different. I don’t want to be put in a box labeled “one size fits all” How is my supplier shaping my journey to enrich my business in such a way that it speaks directly to my challenges? I don’t want to be told that everyone is using the same system, or the same product. I want to use it because it works for me not for everyone. Best practice does not always mean best fit.

Robust – build an company on solid foundations which is accompanied by strong values, principles, methodologies and expertise. The approach used in any deal with a client must offer cutting edge techniques, global thinking, a competitive lens and a holistic approach’s to addressing their challenges. A robust approach means that your company considers business continuity planning as top of mind, is not self reliant on a single person, hedges their risks against key man dependencies and is strong and healthy to stand up against competitors, rivals and masters in the game.

Client Centred – the client is at the centre of everything we do. We wouldn’t have a business if we did not have a client to sell our products to. It’s a simple rule but often not followed – we don’t know what our clients need until we ask the question. “What is it that you need? “How can we help address your challenges.? Often the approach is telling our clients what we can do rather than understanding what it is they need us to do.

Ethical – in the years that I have run my own company, I have walked away from numerous business because it did no resonate with my values. Ethics is not built on short term transactions, ethics is built on long-term relationships. When you value life, people and purpose, you see the world through different eyes.

These key principles represented by the word FORCE are easy to remember and will certainly add to sound decision making when embarking on your journey to set up and run your own business.

It is important to remember that small businesses are the heart of our economy. They inject longevity, sustainability and continuity. They create a platform for innovation, flexibility, change and opportunity. They are the foundations of economic prosperity, consumer choice, and competitive advantage. If this is your dream, pursue it, drive it and make it work for you

Until our next connect session.

Thank you for sharing.