(Part 2) A True South African Story
I had one prayer. It was an early morning on my way to my work as HIV-Aids Lay Counselor-Coordinator. The hill in front of me was very steep, and summer time in the Cape is not made for hard walking. From deep within me came the prayer “I want to grow and develop more”. It was an ache inside me that I had ever since I left school. It was a hunger to know more, and to be more than just another Coloured woman with a fractured past, an unfinished education and only legs for transport.
The beginning of the answer to that prayer happened unexpectedly. Through a friend I was invited for an interview at a company. The interview was very informal and unstructured, and I, the candidate, was unprepared. I so clearly remember it. That day would set me on a path of self-discovery and self leadership.
Knowledge is a powerful word. It means “to know”. I began “to know” the amazing worth of my talents as a human being and how much of my world is waiting on me to rise up and deliver. My relationship with my new employer, an entrepreneur – later partner would add another highly prized value that I desperately needed, affirmation. In the world I came from, the one I lived, I was not nurtured – the plight of many women, I know. To be stuck in a culture of day-to-day survival.
Needless to say, I got a job and for the first time in my life worked in an environment where values were highly prized and human capital was viewed as the greatest asset on the books. Process was important, but it was designed around an amazing vision of which the results were a natural consequence.
The term “give a man a fish…”fails to detail the complex process and support it took for me to shed my “victim mentality” and to see myself as a victor. How empowering it was to me to work in a culture that affirmed me as an individual and for my unique contribution to the bottom line. Because of the value placed upon me, it was inevitable that I then participated in and cared about our results. And yes, working to me became fun – nowhere else did I get to play and produce. In world wherein work can be likened to a production factory, here I was, the amazing creator of my own contributions.
I began as a kind of informal on-the-job coachee and my employer turned into a wonderful friend and coach. Every terrain in the company was a training ground. My three years there left me with a sense of direction and purpose. I am amazed at how the beliefs I internalized then have shaped the manner in which I have grown and still do. I went from waiting for something to happen, to knowing that my dreams are waiting on me to make them happen. The most important contribution to my life was the view that the seedbeds of talent are inherent to everyone. I learnt to build my life from a strong vision of my future, which propelled me forward. A conviction was birthed in me that I am more than my circumstances or what life throws at me! How does this happen?
It happens as someone teaches you how to use a computer patiently. It happens when someone recognises you in a meeting, filled with executives, and asks if you would you like to add anything. It was is as if a finger was placed on the latent potential inside me and whispered “breathe!”. Many doors were opened to me and later opened by me. I have finished my course at Wits Business School. I obtained a car license and bought my own car. I have since then moved on in my career. So what did this empowerment opportunity mean to me? It meant everything to me. It became the catalyst for ongoing growth and the wealth of wisdom I gained has become the foundation of my career. It has impacted on my family, my children, my friends, my life. – Marie Sukers 2013.
Powerful triggers to unlock your latent talent
- Listen and respond to your urge to grow, learn, or do more
- Develop a powerful meaningful personal vision
- Reconnect to your incredible worth and potential as a human being
- Connect with people who affirm you, express faith in your capacity
- Get out there, exposure yourself to opportunities
- Stop blaming your situation or making excuses for your passivity
- Take complete ownership for your career and life
Sneak preview : Why should I pull someone else up ? (Part 3)
There is an equality created through inclusivity and it can be as healing and empowering for disadvantaged women as it is for those from a first world family or society. To relax your boundaries and allow someone to shadow you closely, as you run your entrepreneurial business, provides an invaluable learning experience for them. However, when you are in an unusually vulnerable phase, too stressed or not reconciled to having your leadership or business imperfections exposed to an audience…
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