Helping Leaders Achieve Sustainability

When Nature Calls

When nature calls.jpg

I spent the weekend of the 20/21 July 2019 with a group of girls from Nombulelo and Ntsika Secondary Schools in Makhanda. These are Grade 10-12 learners who have been selected to be class reps.   We have been working with these girls in enhancing their leadership effectiveness and also imparting self-management skills.

The weekend was spent at the Camdeboo National Park which provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem of the Karoo, as well as it’s scenic beauty. One of the biggest attractions in this area is ‘The Valley of Desolation’ whose viewpoints provide panoramic views of the landscape.  According to SanParks, “the viewpoints of the Valley itself provide a breath-taking view of piled dole-rite columns against the backdrop of the plains of the Great Karoo and a timeless sense of wonder at a landscape said to be the product of the erosive and volcanic forces of nature over a period of 200 million years”.

This trip was an invitation into nature, as people living in cities and towns we often forget how therapeutic and fulfilling a trip to the countryside brings. Let’s face it, we belong to nature and often times just by merely taking a walk outside or walking barefoot on your lawn you are able to lift some of the everyday burdens we often carry.   I personally find that by just being in nature I learnt to appreciate how fortunate I am to be living in a country where this is possible. I get to appreciate that there is life outside the boardroom and the day to day hustling that one gets to do.

More importantly, being in nature helps me get more in touch with my essence. Martha Beck calls this ‘’one’s essential self’’.  She describes the essential self as that part of us which is our genetic legacy, who you are or the person you are born to be. This includes your tastes and talents. Can you imagine what impact we will make in the world if we all operated from our authentic self or who we are really meant to be? This is against being a person who tries to please others at their own expense.  This is not meant to be a judgement on others on the contrary it is a reminder that all of us matter and bring natural talents that are valuable to the world.

As a I conclude I want to share how energized I am and how revived I am to be more and do more as I continue to apply my craft. I would like to encourage you …when you feel overwhelmed and finding that you are not coping, remember that a trip to nature will assist. We all have an open invitation to nature and the question is are we game and willing to take this invitation up. I promise you that never nature disappoints.

Xx

Pam The Coach

July Blog Pic

My previous blog dealt with subject of money, the economy and the person and set the foundation for a self-reflection on the foundational basis of this relationship.  It was not intended to cast aspersions on the readers’ ability to handle money, personal finances or to make the right investment decisions.  It was aimed at sparking a debate and get us talking on this subject that we often shy away from.

Comments were received and these are welcomed and help the writer to know that somebody out there is at least reading these and respond.  I hold the view that even if comments were not received, I hope some deep thoughts were generated and with time we will see a change in the narrative around money and the management of personal finances.

Having set the foundation, I believe that I can use the previous blog to offer some advice based on whatever research I have been able to gather around the topic.  I have taken some tricks and tips from a few authors as discussed below:

 

  • Make small and beneficial personal choices – consider changing to a cheaper but effective deodorant; spend less time going to eat out (without making your life boring); change to a cheaper and more efficient car; check the ATM fees etc.( adapted from Kathleen Thomas);
  • Review your insurance policy portfolio – do I still need all the policies do I have? Are all the beneficiaries still eligible?  Is my car /house not over-insured, etc. (adapted from Kathleen Thomas)
  • Get a copy of your credit report/score (clearscore.com; www.mycreditcheck.co.za) and pay your bills on time – having a favorable credit report helps you to negotiate favorable interest rate and late payments do generate the charging of interest to your account (adapted from Kathleen Thomas)
  • Establish your own emotional intelligence with money. This is about mastering your emotions in order to master your finances.  Vangile Makwakwa introduces a 7 step process for doing this and I will propose that you either get her book or at least visit her website (wealthy-money.com) for more resources and perspectives.
  • Change your mindset – it does not matter what your history or personal circumstances are at the moment. You do have the ability or capability to change all of that and become “Self made”. This by large involves changing your circumstances by adopting the philosophy of abundance and take calculated risks which will propel you to  new ways of being.  Inheritance helps in some ways but let us be honest how many people are financially independent because their parents left them a huge inheritance?  You need to look at your relationship with money differently and be able to know when you are making emotional decisions which might not serve you in the long run. (adapted from Nely Galan)
  • Adopt a Save Yourself Plan –Suze Orman provides guidance on this plan which is basically a combination of actions to take as well as concepts and principles to learn. Learning these concepts equips you with the knowledge you need to act correctly and confidently, whenever life presents you with a new financial challenges or choice.  The Plan focuses solely on the core foundations of personal finance that you must know and take care of. (suzeorman.com)

I hope this article has started pointing you in the right direction if not affirming some of your current actions.  There might be other advices that some of the readers would like to share and these are always welcome and we will need to share these.  Please comment on the blog and let us keep the conversation going and I am sure the more we talk openly and freely about our relationship with money the sooner we can change our financial status.

Till next time!!!!

Coach Pam

piggy bank 2

Yeah, the title is right for my usual fortnightly blog. I did not mistakenly write this article for the wrong publication. The title is deliberately chosen to invoke a feeling. Before I start, I need you to stop and take a deep breath and honestly ask yourself the question… ‘’How does the topic of money and the economy resonate with me?’’

Many of us do not even read the financial journals or newspapers. The headline does not even catch your eye…. Do you know why? Let me guess… Because ‘’we don’t wanna go there…it’s for the accountants; or it’s for the economists’’. Is it really? Alternatively, ‘’It’s too painful to go there as that could be opening a can of worms’’.

We transact every day and yet we are oblivious to what goes on around money and the economy. It is not for us but at a practical level our salaries increasingly do not last for long; we can buy less food with the same amount of money or the price of fuel is rising and we are often out of gas to get to work or visit friends and family.

I am not writing this as a way of judging or admonishing you; on the contrary, this article is about shining the spotlight on what is happening around us. It is also to shine a spotlight on our relationship with money. This is very important for women because we are natural nurturers and we tend to use our money as an extension of who we are; what is our worth or as our love language.

It is not rocket science to figure out that our economy is in a pretty bad shape, and that there is less and less money in circulation or within our family circles. Do you ever pause and ask yourself, what does it mean? Or what does it mean for our relationships and ways of being?’’ Or have we decided to suffer in silence, borrow some more so that we can sustain our lifestyles and more importantly our relationships.

This article is a first in a series that I will be writing on the subject of money. My first objective is to just raise some level of awareness and curiosity about who we are around money and more importantly what is our belief system around it. Let me ask a few questions to start. Please adopt a curious stance and seek to understand without negative self-judgement. Further do not expect an Economics lecture but a journey towards awakening of our beings in relation to money as a form of energy. Here are the questions:

  • Do we regard it as a form of energy or something that illuminates relationships or our sense of being or is it more than that?
  • Do we regard money as evil and therefore as good citizens choose not to engage on either its scarcity or abundance?
  • Do we regard money as an enigma in our lives and choose not to know how much we generate; what we use it for and under what circumstances?

Last week Statistics SA published a very concerning outlook about our economic performance as a country. Did we even notice? Please go back and find out as part of the curiosity journey. We cannot solve that we do not know and I invite you on a fact finding mission that I will also be walking in the next couple of months.

Do you wanna join? See you next time!!!!

Pam The Coach

Girl Power

Strong black Woman.jpg

In the past month we have seen a few firsts by women. We saw the first African Woman to summit Mount Everest (Saray Khumalo), the first black owned private township school (Margery Tyobo), first black female combat fighter pilot (Maj Mandisa Mfeka); first PWC Southern Africa CEO (Shirley Mashamba) and finally 50% of Minister in the Cabinet are women.

It is indeed exciting times and we need to celebrate these historical moments. As we are celebrating, we need to be mindful of what this means. It was not so long ago when women were relegated to what is perceived as less responsible roles in society.  It is a positive step that activists must pause and welcome. However, it is not a time to sit on our laurels and not to continue to ensure women’s emancipation.

This piece is about the benefits to society when we put women first.  I am not saying this because because I am a woman. I say it because I know and believe that women make the world go around. Women are born nurturers whilst at the same time they are deal makers, strategists, pioneers and champions of societal change.

Women constitute the majority of the SA population and yet this is not translated into leading society and the corporate world. This is the case because we are still living in a male dominated society and it becomes a struggle to award the deserving roles when it should be a given. I believe that the sisters (mentioned above) have shown us that it we can accomplish this same level of excellence as our male counterparts, if not better.  All of these cases are based on merit, passion and a commitment made by these women to be better and in turn, make the world a better place.

As someone who is passionate about this issue, it is my submission that we need to support one another to change this injustice through our deeds. We need to work to dispel the myth that women cannot work with one another or they are difficult bosses or they suffer from a pull her down syndrome.  This is at best untrue if not malicious.

In conclusion I would like to encourage more women, young and old, to go out there and do what they do best. They need to go out there to live their passion, find the requisite support and continue to put one foot in front of the other.  It is a long and hard road however as the one song says “There can be miracles, when you believe” and of course belief or dreaming without action is utopia.

Pam The Coach

Resilience and determination

“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity” – Joshua Waitzkin.

The more I read the above quote the more I debate in my head whether or not, success includes a total of the above factors. I do believe that there is an element of personal drive and a need to contribute more and achieve more. At the same time, just that by itself can be deemed as wishful thinking. To balance it out we do need to take cognizance of the fact that life does happen and we need to be able to withstand that.

This brings me to the story of Saray Khumalo, the first black African woman to scale Mount Everest.  Summiting Mount Everest is not for the faint hearted. Less than 5000 people have scaled the peak since the first summit in 1953. Reading Saray’s story is not only inspirational but is a real confirmation of the saying that “where there is a will, there is a way”.  Her story brings to bare Akash Karia’s definition of resilience  i.e. “ able to withstand or recover quickly under difficult conditions.

As we celebrate Africa Day on the 25th of May, Saray’s story as an African woman is a good story to tell.  It is a story about Africa’s renaissance.  As an African I am always particularly inspired when I read a story about someone achieving a first. The 2019 theme of “Healthy Lifestyle Prolongs Life” augurs well with what Saray has achieved at a physical level however it is deeper than that. At the core of this is navigating the personal level of resilience at a pace that is congruent with our level of determination.

In conclusion I would like to end this blog by sharing Akash Karia’s work where he deals with the behaviors of emotionally resilient people and these are:

Resilient people:

  • Acknowledge their emotions;
  • Accept responsibility for their emotions; and
  • Learn to interpret the positive intentions of their emotions.

As we celebrate Africa Day , let us remember we have the inner strength to conquer everything we put our mind to. At the same time we should be mindful of  life shocks. We have to build our survival muscle and endurance so that we, like Saray can reach the peak of our mountain of success.  In the words of Madiba…”It is impossible until it is done”.

Coach Pam

Decisions and choices

Libra Scale

Last week South Africa went to the polls for the 6th time since the advent of democracy. It is always a special moment given our history. This last election did not disappoint as we were spoilt for choice. The national ballot had a record 48 parties contesting the election. In our everyday lives, we are not always spoilt for choice. Often times we have to make hard choices.

People in leadership positions have to make decisions all the time. Sometimes those decisions are not easy but they have to be made regardless. I sometimes hear people say I am caught between a rock and a hard place. My view is that decisions need to made whether they are popular or not.

I hold very strong views on indecisiveness. For me it is a way of surrendering your power to the unknown. Leaders need to claim their power at any given moment. Of course; they need to research; consult; balance the scores and weigh implications; ultimately a decision has to be made either way.

Some decisions are easier than others and you just have to weigh your options. For some serious decisions I like Brighton Keller’s 5 step process.

  1. Clarify the decision – behind every decision there is a problem or issues you are trying to address. Is this the right one? Are you not addressing temporary symptoms?
  2. Identify objectives – the clearer you are on the desired outcome the easier it will be to make a decision.
  3. Explore alternatives- Gather info and consider your options or the choices you have.
  4. Consider consequences and trade offs- making a decision always costs us something. Decide if you can leave with the consequences and know that sometimes something has to give.
  5. Choose the best option- Do your best to come to some kind of decision – even if you are not 100% sure if it is the right one.

Enjoy making those choices.

Xxx

Coach Pam

I feel so inspired!!!

IWD Pic.JPG

Last Friday (8 March 2019), we celebrated International Women’s Day. I do not know about others… but as a woman, I really felt good for being recognized and acknowledged for the efforts that I make to the betterment of the world in tackling the patriarchal tendencies of society.

I was particularly intrigued by some of the comments that some women made on Facebook. Without quoting who said what, these were some that I observed with keen interest…

“International Women’s Day is not only about equal rights for women. The purpose of IWD is to create awareness around patriarchy. The core reason why the relationship between that of women and men becomes one of dominance and oppression.”

“Today is International Women’s Day. The theme for this year is #balanceforbetter – a call to action for driving gender balance across the world.  So how will you be spending your day Phenomenal Woman?”

“Strong women aren’t simply born. We are forged through the challenges of life. Happy International Women’s Day”

Just by simply taking a sample from some of these rich messages and comments made by women, one is excited to note the level of appreciation of what is at stake with regard to women’s emancipation. I am also alive to the inspirational and celebratory nature of the messages.

This brings me to the event I hosted on the day. Over 40 women from different age groups were in attendance. Their personal stories and journeys’, the sisterhood, tips and tools shared were all amazing and gave full expression to the saying(s) that  “the future is female” and “surround yourself with women who bring out the very best in you”.

I certainly was in the company of leaders and above all else, I felt that I belong. I also felt that I still have much to learn from the sisters that were in attendance. I have no doubt in my mind that all of the women that were in attendance are ready to take their rightful place in society, step out and “think equal”. The journey in front of us is to harness that ‘sisterly energy ‘ into concrete actions, that not only seek to get us to the forefront of determining our destiny but is also a journey to enrich ourselves with the requisite skills for “building smart and innovate for change”.  This will enable us to do what we have to do, to ensure the desired outcome.

I, as a leadership coach… Who has set myself a value proposition that goes “I help women leaders and change makers achieve breakthroughs in all aspects of their lives” … have my work cut out for me. I am certainly feeling energized to dig deep and reinvent myself and my offerings in order to respond to the need out there. I am inspired and I am up to the challenge…

“Watch this space!”

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