Hey guys! If you have been following me on Instagram and have read my review on the Apple Watch Series 4 I purchased earlier this year, you will realize that over the past year I have become more focussed and intentional with my fitness journey.
I made the decision to publicize my journey because I wanted to share a different perspective on fitness, which is what I have termed “the real come up”. I want to represent real women, who have real bodies and some audacious fitness and bodybuilding goals and publicly track and monitor my progress and setbacks. All with the aim of providing some genuine motivation and an online accountability circle.
Fitness has always been a part of my life, from a very young age I had always participated in either dance, sports or athletics. From the age of 3, my grandmother enrolled me into ballet class and a few years later my father signed me up for Irish dancing which I participated in throughout primary school. In High School I decided that I still wanted to continue dancing however there were no Irish dancing studios nearby so I explored solo Latin dancing, and became more involved in extra mural activities at school such as Netball, Hockey and Athletics.
Bodybuilding caught my attention in 2018 and being a person who is driven by continuous improvement, I instantly fell in love with the idea and the art of body sculpting. The fact that I could physically manipulate and transform my body through the way I eat and the way I gym was just something that really appealed to me and this is why going to the gym and staying fit seems like such an effortless thing for me- I really love it and I am enjoying the process. For me, it means so much more than just looking good at the beach. Its about the Kaizen philosophy that I live by, its about health and mental wellness being the new currency of wealth and its also about being a living testimony of all that is possible if one puts their mind to something.
So thats how I stay consistent. I know my “why” and it resonates deep within me when I wake up with DOMS, or I have had a long day at work and still need to mission out to the gym on a cold winter morning or night. Find yours and I promise, nothing and no-one will be able to stop you.
Hey guys! I’m back again but with a quick book review this time. Yes, I am finally part of a book club and although it is still early days there is so much I have learned from this process as I have always been a solo reader, preferring and enjoying my own selections. Now that I am in a group of 8, there are many dynamics at play, the biggest one being diversity in preferences which is both uncomfortable but enlightening. If interested I can share a bit more on my experience as well as some tips on how to start your own book club and what I would do if I could start mine over again.
I briefly engaged on our first book selection on Instagram about a month ago and you can check it out there if you are interested. Today though, I would like to share on our second book selection titled “Dying to be me”by Anita Moorjani.
Dying to be me is the second book we have selected in our book club. From the moment I began reading the first chapter I was captivated. There are many things I can pinpoint to my love for the book but my top two are how easily I could relate to the author and ease of reading. If I can imagine and buy into the author’s story, I’m a fan. If I can read more than one chapter in one sitting after a full day of work, I’m a super- fan! haha… so Anita had both for me, she wrote like an old friend and the book was set in Hong Kong which is the second last city I visited in 2018 and this made it very relatable for me.
In a nutshell, Dying to be me is a book that takes the reader through the journey of the fullness of life. In the book Anita shares her background, growing up as a child in Hong Kong in a middle class household. She shares stories about her conflict growing up in environments with clashing cultures and religious beliefs and often getting stuck in the middle of her own beliefs and values, and living up to the expectations of her Indian community and parents. Throughout her life she has always felt different and not like she quite belonged. She had always believed that human beings are greater than the social confines they place on themselves.
The turning point in her lifeI would say is when she loses two of her loved ones (a family member and a friend) to cancer. Unknowing at the time, she later explains how the fear of contracting the disease is what lead to her demise and soon after her loved ones passed away she also developed cancer.
What I would describe as the climax of the book is when she experiences what she refers to as a “Near Death Experience” or “NDE”. At this point the cancer has ravaged her body beyond believe and she is literally at deaths door when suddenly she has an out of body experience and enters the spiritual realm which she describes in detail in the book, stating that it exists all around us. In this experience she decides whether to allow herself to leave the earthly realm and live a life of fullness, unconditional love, acceptance and peace or come back to earth and truly life life fearlessly and with conviction. I will leave the rest for you to find out from here regarding what happens and how the story ends (or continues hahaha).
I now know that everything I need is already contained within me and is completely accessible if I allow myself to open up to what I sense is true for me…
I believe that Dying to be megoes beyond just being a story that one reads. It certainly is a tool for healing, spirituality and how to live in mental and physical abundance. For me, getting to her Near Death Experiece brought me so much closure about my loved ones who have passed on/ crossed over. Some people may not believe in crossing over and reincarnation and that’s okay but this book shed some light on what it is my loved ones may have gone through and what they crossed over to, which brings me sooooo much needed closure. Another thing the book taught me was to believe in practices that spiritually move me. So it completely turns the concept of religion on its head which I love because I believe that spirituality is so complex! I will leave that one there haha… Lastly, I have learnt the importance of slowing down, (in life and in thinking) and understanding that being still does not mean regression. That taking time to acknowledge and appreciate the small things and those around me, won’t make me “miss out” on my destiny. That in fact, my inside voice is my true guide and in order to hear it I must be still and I must be deliberate about following its guide.
Lacking awareness of our perfection keeps us feeling small and insignificant, and this goes against the natural flow of life- force energy- that which we really are. We go against ourselves
There are so many things that the author Anita Moorjani has written about that just drop my jaw and move my soul. From her fear of cancer and worry of attaining the disease resulting in her ultimate (temporary) demise, to coming back to a bigger and fuller life. It’s crazy. Her writing is so beautiful and so easy. Her story just flows and its so remarkable.
Heaven is a state not a place
Anita, thank you so much for sharing your NDE with conviction. I believe that everything happens for a reason and this book couldn’t have come into my life at a better time 💗. This book has brought so much healing, so much comfort and so much perspective. Life is meant to be lived. Fiercely. It’s more than what our eyes can see.
One of the really cool perks about my job is that I get to travel pretty often. Not many people can say that they’re guaranteed to experience 4 new African countries each year and get paid to do so. I have seen the good and the bad and I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything.
Recently, my job took me to Cote d’Ivoire– a place where every second sentence was “bonjour madam” and a very poorly attempted and broken “Je ne parle pas Francais” I’m probably still fudging it up now… I also visited (for the second time) beautiful Kenya and had two new East African experiences with Uganda and Tanzania which I fell in love with.
You’re probably wondering who I travelled to these countries with and what the purpose of my visits was, I can only answer one of these questions today and it brings me to the purpose of my post today. Traveling with colleagues.
Over the past year I have had the privilege of traveling to the biggest countries (by GDP) in the Western and Eastern parts of Africa with my millennial, and not so millennial colleagues, and I think it would be interesting to share my top 6 realisations on these experiences.
Keep the focus: traveling with millennials is fun but more is expected
This one is quite obvious. traveling with millennial colleagues, especially like- minded ones is quite fun however the pressure to produce solid outputs and provide a greater ROI than other non- millennial trips is expected.
Curiosity reigns: you can do more with research and really push the envelope
Because everyone is young and curious- the research team picks up more information (especially the left- field data points) and also fewer assumptions are made.
“Alone time” is golden
Something we were more deliberate about this time around was scheduling down- time. The result of everyone being in close proximity for 80% of the day means that you all really get to know each other REALLY well. You can gauge when someone is “people-d out” or when a group break is needed. everyone is aligned in thinking and that really strengthens the team bond. When you make time for those random breaks (some late starts and early endings to a day) it really makes all the difference and keeps the burnout at bay. When the team regroups, everyone is well- rested and new perspectives and energy is bountiful.
Give and take
Following on from point 3, traveling for long periods as a unit really teaches you a lot about compromising and sacrificing. you begin to see your colleagues as living and breathing humans that you care for to some degree, beyond the commonalities of a shared employer
Despite us usually being chaperoned by locals in- country, this didn’t save us in Cote d’Ivoire where we could barely communicate in the local language. The research piece in a foreign country where English is not the primary language is almost futile and here we learned the importance of being connected to a network provider via a local sim. Once we were connected, a local sim provided access to translator apps as well as people in the office who were bilingual, to translate our “on- the ground needs” to drivers and chaperones.
A lil party never killed nobody
Emphasis on “a lil” cause a lot will make you lose the plot but “a lil” builds the perfect amount of camaraderie that produces superior results time and time again.
Also, if you’ve read this far, you know it means I’m back on the blogging scene!
The second last stop on our Africa tour has brought us to beautiful Ethiopia!
The most hyped up country of all 4 (Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya), and with a forecasted GDP growth spurt of 8.2% (Taken from the WorldBank.org website) in 2018 I must say that my expectations were high. I was expecting to step onto a buzzing metropolis in the making…. but, not quite.
Now I’m not saying that Ethiopia is not growing, from the areas I have visited in Addis Ababa, I can certainly say that of the 4 countries, Addis had the most developments. You cannot drive longer than 1km without seeing a new development and this is a great sign for things to come from an economic growth, opportunity and expansion perspective. However, right now and into the next 3 years, I don’t believe there would have been enough time for a shift. Maybe in the next 5 to 10 years.
Because Ethiopia is still highly regulated by the law of the ruling government, foreign investment is highly regulated, barriers to entry for outsiders are high and major industries such as Banking and Telecommunications are monopolized. Historically, there has been limited to no support from the local government in order to support entrepreneurs, drive competition, increase the literacy rate as well as employment but the sudden increase in foreign interest should change this and hopefully make the Government realize the importance of working with investors and using the opportunity for the advantage of its people.
From a general, tourist perspective I could say that Addis has a quasi Mediterranean quasi Middle Eastern feel to it. Extremely dry air and dusty roads will make you feel like you’re walking/driving through the streets of Athens, Greece and the local culture, language and aesthetic of the natives has an Arabic sand dunes feel to it.
I was grateful to also have some time to try out the local cuisine which I though was simply divine and completely exceeded my expectations.
And of course…. COFFEE!
All in all, being in Ethiopia was an incredibly insightful experience and I cannot wait to see the country grow and establish itself as a powerhouse in Africa. It is certainly open for business and one to look out for in the near future.
Although practically neighboring countries, Ghana and Nigeria were like night and day.
Where Nigerians where boisterous and welcoming, I found Ghanaians to be more reserved and relaxed…
In terms of infrastructure, Ghana had a stark difference when it came to the developed vs underdeveloped areas. Where it was Commercial and westernized, you couldn’t tell the difference between being somewhere in Joburg or Accra; and where it was underdeveloped/ informal, you could absolutely see.
You don’t need Protocol here 😂
It’s humid but slightly more bearable than Nigeria, the heat however is intense!
Food in Ghana was quite different to Nigeria. I found Ghanaian food to be more nutritious as there was a variety of fresh vegetables and spices in all the meals I had, and boy did I go in with the local food!
Ghana was a much more chilled and orderly country. Where in Nigeria distinguishing between poor, middle and upper class was near impossible, in Ghana you could see it.
So, which country do I prefer between the two? Hands down Nigeria!!! It’s still so rugged and so African which I loved and my soul resonated so much with that. Ghana was too easy and comfortable for me so I didn’t find it as stimulating/ entertaining.
Ghanaian informal markets were my highlight so far on the trip. The experience made me really appreciate and count the blessings in my life and also gave me a new found respect for how hard-working Ghanaians are. No matter how developed the country becomes, none of the natives have forgotten their roots, they trust and believe in their local market as well as what it has to offer which I think is beautiful and truly African.
It’s no doubt that organizations have started considering and taking shape in order to be future fit. Some organizations could be progressing more rapidly that others due to a geographical influence but what matters is that the pivot in business complements the environment these organizations are working in.
Earlier this year I had the privilege of sitting in on one of South Africa’s most renowned business trends expert and from this engagement I was exposed to quite a few insights around where are businesses going which I would like to share with you.
Business disruption is occurring across all industries.
We are moving to an age where organisations are obsessed with company culture:
Being collaborative and not silo-driven, employers will hire employees who basically push beyond boundaries. We will begin to see a rise in people who are driven by achieving a greater purpose rather than a monomaniacal focus on profits.
Death of the legacy companies!!! Agile companies have a lifespan of 15 years and not because they exit the business lifecycle at the end of the 15 years but because they pivot frequently. (Because this is the future of the business and business- owner mind-set corporates will be serving/ servicing, the big question here is “what steps do corporates in South Africa need to take in order to become relevant for their future client?”
Collapse of the value chain. The space between the product and customer is getting narrower (E.g. Beyoncé and Tidal). Business owners are cutting the middle man and the need to quantify value for money/services rendered increases
The lengthening Omni-channel. It is becoming crucial for corporates to find out where customer are experiencing their brand and whether all the channels are “saying the same” thing.
Digitization pawns, the essential business pivot (Biggest disruptions globally being seen in the automotive industry: ride sharing and driverless cars, and healthcare: Augmented Reality learning techniques)
Mechanization, robotics and the erosion of jobs (Google: Relay Robot).
So in the midst of the tech hurricane, what’s going to happen to our jobs?
Critical thinking, leadership, communication and problem solving ability is key!!! The ability to display the skill of Lateral Thinking in a role will be crucial. Punt this and evolve in this.
New economies enabling new industries. People find themselves in industries they would have never imagined because of this new need of different thinking. (E.g. the partnership between the digital music guy who was hired by LVMH to help build them an ecommerce website….)
The on demand economy/ The sharing economy (Hyatt pairing with Airbnb to create “unhotel” experiences)/ The gig economy (This is forcing companies to rethink labour laws!!!).
The need for unconventional thinking will force educational institutions to ready students in a different way for the workplace.
Effect on education: The need for education disruption
What is your degree worth because there really isn’t any scarcity?
Already in EY UK no degrees are needed for employment
The biggest challenge and commodity will be the skills gap: critical thinking, problem solving, communication, leadership and ownership will be highly valued
So how do we bridge the gap?
What’s wrong with the way we learn? The education system isn’t geared for the knowledge economy….
Vocational training schools need to get mixed in with high tech. (No degree, actual training using holograms for surgeons (Google: HoloLens))
The future of work
It’s no longer linear. There are a lot of stop- starts and career changes
Hybrid skills will be needed
Organisations will hire for attitude, and retrain for skills (this will fix the millennial churn)
Nomadic work swarms. You don’t have to watch an employee working to know that they are getting work done. (reskill yourself to do what you want to do, get your work life flexibility by doing what pays the bills while leaving time for passion projects)
Remote flexi-working options and productivity impact
The impact of the female century will see an increases profitability in companies
Millennials see mentors as people they can take advice from and give advice to.
Jobs of the future- what will they look like?
Things related to drones, coding, virtual reality, UX (We will see skill and career combos that have never existed before such as Life Coaches with an IT background etc.)
Rwanda; the South Korea of the technology realm… delivering blood samples to hard to reach hospitals via drone technology
Ultimately, organizations and their staff must understand the movements of their industries in order to stay relevant in their environment and careers respectively. Nothing can be taken for granted anymore.
I am especially excited though to see how resourceful individuals will become with their toolkit of skills and how they will couple what they know in order to excel in the digital age where their customers are just as, if not more aware of what they need, how they want it and what their service providers must do in order to ensure excellent delivery in a radical and client- centric way.
Earlier this week, CR7 won his fifth Ballon d’or, the highest individual award any football player on the planet could ever wish for, a joint record between him and Lionel Messi and no other Player has ever won the prestigeous award this many times.
In his acceptance speech, Ronaldo was asked to indicate who he felt was the next CR7 or Lionel Messi, his response was really nothing short of an eye opener and an excerpt of his speech can be found below:
“The next Ronaldo or Messi doesn’t exist. Every player has his own style. There are a lot of players with the potential to win it. That’s not enough though, you have to be professional, there are many examples of that. You have to win big things at the right time and have a bit of luck. Talent and Potential don’t win you anything. Talent is important but you have to train and work hard. If you’re not disciplined, forget it.”
This hit me. I’m 25 years old and I have a strong belief that with my talent and potential, I can become an executive within the next 5/6 years. But after hearing this speech I though, “So what if I have the potential?” I mean, a lot of my peers probably feel the same way but what else am I doing to set myself apart? Am I just riding on the fact that I believe I have the talent and potential to arrive at my desired destination or am I actually putting in the hours apart from the normal 9 – 5 ? Am I disciplined enough to push myself to the limits and beyond? Am I constantly preparing myself to ensure that im ready to grab the next exciting opportunity? Am I satisfied with the idea of my potential to the point that I don’t really nurture my talent to take me to the next level?
Am I professional enough for people to use me as a reference in their conversations or, have my qualifications tricked me into believing that all my efforts thus far are sufficient? The unfortunate answer is that I’ve been operating in a hidden comfort zone and its high time that I start thinking about how I can do more.
For as long as we continue to pride ourselves purely in our talents /potential /qualifications /titles, true growth will forever elude us. we need to wake up and strive to make things happen, we need to learn how to work hard towards improving and nourishing our talents, we need to strive for perfection, we need to desperately seek personal mastery and at the heart of everything, we need to be patient but always prepared for the next challenge. our talents and potential can easily become our worst enemies.
Guest Post Author: Atticus Tshepo Matlebyane
“For at the hands of worldly logic, my dreams suffered the most and my talents witnessed the wrath of the soil.”
A hopelessly enthusiastic young individual who actually believes that human-beings can fly!
University of Johannesburg alumnus (Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Marketing Management) and Industrial Psychology, Business Management and Marketing enthusiast . Currently works at Africa’s largest bank as a senior segment analyst while hustling for a part time lecturing and radio gig.