Got a Tribe?

Got a Tribe?

When COVID hit, my Mom said:

“Now, you are going to really see the people around you”

At first, I didn’t get it. But during those crazy months that followed, her words rang true.

Some folks who should have stepped up, went quiet. Others we thought were rock-solid fell apart. Some people got angry or gave up altogether.

It was confusing, frustrating, and sad.

But then there were others who quietly stepped in to help. They innovated, solved problems, and supported those in need.

Suddenly, people who weren’t usually in the spotlight became our guides and heroes.
We started leaning on people we might not normally have, for support. Contacts and colleagues turned into friends and became part of support structures.

We figured out who we could really count on, both personally and professionally. And sometimes, those were different people for different situations.

Now, three years later, it feels like we’re in the middle of another shift.

The world wants to go back to how things were, but for many of us, that’s just not possible anymore.

At a recent dinner, we were talking about how much everything has changed. When I said that COVID felt like a hard reset, someone disagreed and said, “I think it’ll take more than a pandemic to change things.”

I was stunned. But later, as I lay in bed, I realized that we all experience the world in different ways.

Where some of us experienced lock down as a forced holiday with barely any loss of income, others experienced our entire world being shattered and tilted on its axis.

Personally, I had some major paradigm shifts that turned my worldview upside down.

But I was lucky to have superheroes in my life who helped me through it. We were able to support each other, even though we were all going through different things.

I’m so grateful for the tools and lessons I’ve learned, and for the chance to grow both personally and professionally.

Things still get wobbly sometimes, but I feel stronger than ever. And most importantly, I have a tribe of people I can count on.

Ubuntu says:“ I am because you are”

For me, this means that I’m not alone.

… and neither are you.

Reach out:

Honestly, why are you applying for this job?

Honestly, why are you applying for this job?

My Career Coaching clients are not only young people trying to figure out what they should be doing with the rest of their lives.

In fact, almost all my clients are older than 30 and, for various reasons, at crossroads.

In this blog, we unpack an issue that has been on my mind for a long time. Whether you are in a current job and applying for a new one and/or unemployed and need to reset, at some stage you are going to be looking for available jobs and possibly having an interview.

If you’ve ever searched the employment pages, you’ll know it is a daunting task which nobody really prepares you for.

Let’s break the thought process down a little.

As someone who have done many interviews over the years with people so desperate that they will take any kind of job available,  I want to ask you  to be truthful with yourself and the new company from the beginning.

Ask yourself why are you applying for this particular job?

  1. Do you have the knowledge and skills to do the job. If you do, great. If you don’t, what skills do you need to learn if this is your dream job?
  2. Do you really want this job or is it just something that is comfortable and a pay-check. You should be challenged, excited and having fun while still having challenges that allows you to grow.
  3. Will the job give you what you need to be fulfilled?
  4. Will the company value your values?

A big piece of applying for new jobs is the interview process and this is where the water really gets muddy.

I hear clients telling me how they prepare for their interviews. It’s fantastic that you take the time to do all this preparation. A lot of people don’t and it could very well be the reason why you get the job.

Preparing is a good thing, it helps calm anxiety, it helps you focus, and you look professional when you know something about the company and what they stand for.

But often what happens is that you want the job so desperately that you force yourself into that space, like putting on a pair of ill-fitting shoes.

Telling the interviewer what you think they want to hear is fruitless as:

  1. You’re guessing what they really want and
  2. You’re not being your true self.

The reality is that you don’t know what/who they want and the honesty, vulnerability and the real you that you are hiding under intended professionalism might be the very thing that they are looking for. If you don’t show that, you might both lose out on what could be a beautiful partnership.

Putting your real self out there is scary and uncomfortable. We worry about what people might think of us and that we are “not good enough”. So we don’t do it, we show our harsh, business side and not our soft underbellies.

Years ago, Marius and I worked at a Game Lodge that was just plain horrible. We each thought that the other wanted to be there and instead of being honest with ourselves and each other we were trying to make it work while we were both intensely unhappy.

Then we got an interview at another lodge. Halfway through, the Owner of the new lodge who was interviewing us, sat back laughing and said “I feel like I’m being interviewed”. Unconsciously we had both learnt what we didn’t want and were peppering him to make sure we were clear on what we were getting into.

Without being arrogant, the questions to ask yourself is:

Do they deserve me and Do I fit here?

If you have the knowledge, you can do the job, do you fit into what the company stands for and how they do things?

So what to do?

  1. When you are interviewing for a job, part of your research needs to be to see if you might fit. Skills can be learnt but company culture is much harder to change. This means you will need to fit in with them and not the other way around.
  2. Don’t be hesitant to express what is important to you in both your professional and private life. Boundaries are critical to our mental health.
  3. Remember that if you get offered the job, it doesn’t mean you must take it. The interview is for both of the parties to see if there is synergy. If something bugs you, don’t do it.
  4. If you show your true self and you don’t get the job, understand that you didn’t fail to get the job. You simply didn’t fit the interviewers’ criteria. This is in fact something to be grateful for, as it means you don’t need to go through the heartache and pain of trying to fit into a place you shouldn’t have been in the first place.
  5. Remember to hold people accountable. If they, for instance, promise during the interview there will be training provided, ask more detail about it. So many clients end up in a devastating situation when they are struggling with the demands of the job for which they didn’t get the promised training.
  6. Don’t make assumptions. Ask the questions to make sure you know what you’re getting into. I took a job once thinking I was going to be a Front of House in Reception, just to get to the lodge, in the middle of nowhere, where I’m expected as the Front of House in the Restaurant. The only discussion during the interview was when I was asked if I could run a restaurant, to which I said I’d never done it by myself. That job nearly broke me.

Of course, we all have responsibilities, and you need a job to pay for those responsibilities. You also shouldn’t shy away from challenges that are uncomfortable because this is where you grow.

But go into this with your eyes open and a plan.

We spend more than half our waking hours at work. It makes less than no sense to waste that time in a job or at a place that you hate or don’t fit and yet we have all been there at some stage in our lives.

You deserve to be happy in your job. Fight for that happiness, it’s totally worth it!

Building your business: Planning of Instinct?

Building your business: Planning of Instinct?

Building your business: Planning of Instinct?

11 November

I was watching a spider fixing its web the other day from our stoep.

I wondered how it knew which strand was the next it needed to build.

At first it appeared that the spider was moving about randomly without a plan. As I continued to watch I could see a pattern emerge. The spider was doing one strand at a time but in various directions, then occasionally reinforcing some strand again while all the time returning to, and working from, the centre of the web.

This busy little guy made me think about the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

Do most of us have a plan with the next steps once we’ve decided to build something? Or was it mostly instinct and we live and learn as we go on?

Some of us are lucky enough to have training or get some level of education but so much is learnt on the fly. We make mistakes. We get things wrong. We also get things right and learn what works best while always keeping our eyes open for new opportunities.

It has long been a gripe of mine that small business doesn’t have the support that bigger business has. Sadly, the reality of small business teaches you that when it’s just you, you’ve got to learn quick. You need to hustle as nobody is going to play fairy god mother or teach you what big business has spent many years and tons of money to develop.

The trouble is that the very attributes that makes you brave enough to start your own business, also potentially trips you up when you don’t take the time to plan your vision properly.

As a small business owner (regardless of how long you’ve been operating) ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is the problem that I am trying to solve?
  2. How might I solve the problem for the client?
  3. Who am I trying to solve the problem for?
  4. Why am I, as a person, doing this?
  5. What criteria is needed to make this solution direction work for me and my family?

These are high level questions and the deeper you dig into answers to these questions, the more solid your plan will be in the end. This is the centre of your web where you need to keep returning to when you bring all the strands together.

There are many different processes that can help you with unpacking and exploring the above.

Having instinct, passion, courage and yes, next level stubbornness will without a doubt be foundations of your business success.

But jumping in blindly without taking the time to process your thoughts, ideas and asking the tough questions is setting yourself up for a whole lot of tears and drama.

Don’t do it.

Set yourself up for success.

Being an entrepreneur is hard enough without starting on the back foot.

People say: “Trust the Process”

Different things work for different people in different situations, however.

So I’m saying: “Trust A process”

You don’t need to build this web by yourself. Find a process with people who will work for and with you.

Oh, and by the way… a process takes time. It isn’t a pill you drink, and your headache disappears.  You must invest the time and effort into the process to make it work. It’s uncomfortable, frustrating, and confusing before it brings clarity and actions.

So much more important to find people that will challenge you, guide you and build with you.

Building that web takes time, you build it one strand at a time, strengthening and iterating as you go but returning again and again to the centre to ensure the integrity of your structure.

With this stronger, better web you will be more likely to catch the opportunities when they come flying at high speed.

Need to bounce some ideas? Book a free explore session here.

Blog Moments

Blog Moments

Blog:  Blog Moments

This morning I had another blog moment.

For years I’ve been getting moments where something happens, and I think… this is something… I should write about it.  I never did.

During Covid I finally had no excuse. I had the space to let it happen and, mostly from the support of beloved husband Marius Swart, found the courage to write it down.

I’ll be going about my day and suddenly I get these moments where something happens, and I have an awareness. In that moment something suddenly clicks, and I feel like this is something I need to put out into the world.

This is an interesting (and fickle) process because as sharply as it happens it is also super easy to talk myself out of actually writing it down and posting the blog.

I tell myself things like:

  • “ The idea isn’t finished and I need to think about it some more”
  • “ Do I actually have something to say and if I do why would anyone read it?”
  • “What’s the point?”
  • “It’s so complicated because I not only have to get the story right but also design the correct picture for the website and get it posted… why bother?”

The funny part is that all the above are good questions. It could both discourage me so that I chicken out but could also challenge me to write a better story, it all depends where my head is at that moment and how strongly the message presses on me.

During my own Fulfilment coaching sessions my coach, Pieter de Villiers, constantly reminds us:

“Stop chewing bubblegum, get off the couch and do it”

It’s one of my most hated, favourite quotes.  It takes away all the fluff, excuses and noise and smacks you in the face.

So, I’ve said that I want to write a blog every 2 weeks.

And here is the beginning.

Expect more blog moments.

I’m still chewing bubblegum, this totally helps me process, but I’m definitely getting off the couch.

Are we trapped birds?

Are we trapped birds?

Are we Trapped birds? Marilda Wiegand

 The other day I noticed a tiny little Long Billed Crombec bird that was sitting in the top of the rafters of the thatch of the roof.

The room is large and open with doors on 2 sides that slide open completely.

And yet this little bird was stuck in the top of the roof.

My beloved husband is incapable of having windows closed and everything is always standing open “to let the fresh air in”.  Since we live in the African Bushveld right next to Kruger National Park, this means that all sorts of critters parade into our house on a regular basis.

And inevitable birds get in as well.  The situation with the little crombec reminded me of how some of the other birds react. Often the Crested Franklins walk in the one door and while they have a cautious eye out will casually walk right out the other side. Even the hornbills might hop onto the windowsill to come and check out if there is anything interesting happening inside.  There is a pretty Mocking Cliff chat that, every now and then, wanders in as if he owns the place and literally walks from room to room to see what he’s been missing.  He is quite a character as he gets quite irate if, on the odd occasion, “his” window is closed.

And every now and again a bird will fly in like this little crombec and will exhaust himself while frantically trying to get out.

I watched this poor little guy panic and it was hard, as there was no way I could get to him.  I, quietly, sat watching him while hoping that he would see the bigger picture.

It nearly broke my heart to watch as instinct drove him up further into the rafters where there is no way out, while the massive open windows are only a short distance from where he is trying to get out.

It made me wonder if this isn’t the kind of situation that we find ourselves in.  Are we in such a panic about what is happening in our lives right now that we are missing the opportunities? That we cannot see the big open windows that are letting the fresh air in because our instincts are to go “up”?

Is it not now, more than ever, the time to look at the bigger picture? To not only look for an open window but to get clarity of where we find ourselves within this bigger picture?

Maybe the way isn’t up at all but rather sideways or even down?

Eventually the Crombec managed to get himself out and I wonder if he went home to tell of his near death experience… will he remember for next time and know better?

Waiting for a sunrise

Waiting for a sunrise

I woke up before sunrise this morning.

At first, I was irritated to be awake as I was still tired.

Alas… I wasn’t going back to sleep as my head started running away with me as soon as my eyes popped open.

I already decided I’m going offline this weekend, so maybe some quiet hammock time would help my brain settle down.

As I walked into the kitchen, I saw that it was starting to get light. My first thought was that it wasn’t the spectacular sunrises that we normally get, and I was disappointed at how boring it looked.

Then I wondered if this was it…. And at what time sunrise really was?

Instead of reaching for my phone to check the exact time, I sat on the kitchen counter and waited.

Nothing much happened.

After a while I decided that I might as well get a cup of coffee.

As I got off the counter, I realised that I’d been looking in the wrong place and the sun was actually rising a bit further to my right… right behind some trees from where I had been sitting.

Coffee in hand I went back to sit on the counter… now paying closer attention to the wider picture.

Now I could see the definite signs of a beautiful sunrise!

As I was watching, I realised that although I could see the sun now, a cloud bank was just above the horizon and shortly after sunrise the sun would disappear behind the clouds again.

I was struck by the important lessons I learnt this morning.

I realised that sometimes you are disappointed by what you expect should happen and then it doesn’t.

You expect more… especially when you think you’ve done enough to prepare and are in the right place.

Then you change your point of view, and you wait a bit longer and you realise you were so focussed on the goal, you forgot to look at the bigger picture and you almost missed the big event!

At the same time things might not always be bright and somewhere along the line the sun will disappear behind the clouds.

But it won’t stay there.

You just need to be ready for when it comes out again.

And sometimes that means getting up before the sun, changing your position and being mindful of the lessons around you.