One of my oldest and fondest childhood memories is of my dad taking my younger sister and myself to the library. Even as early as three years old my dad tried to teach us a love and appreciation for reading and books in general.
I read through nearly every lesson in my school career, and then left school, got crazy into technology, and gradually found my concentration levels shrinking.
I recently decided to get myself back on track and force myself to read again. Well, read more than one book and ten blogs and twenty news articles and hundreds of tweets per term.
I started my journey with an awesome book by Kirsten Fischer called Talent Isn’t Enough, and then moved onto My Success, Your Success by Jane Notten (foreword by Pam Golding, South Africa’s own property guru). The book tells the stories of 27 women entrepreneurs in South Africa ranging through three stages: the beginners or start-ups (three to five years), the established entrepreneurs (five to eight years), the veteran entrepreneurs (eight or more years).
The African backdrop of each of these stories and subsequently the lessons that came with them (in brilliant point form), resonated with me so deeply – much deeper than any other European or American authored book that I’ve read recently – because it felt as if these women identified with my circumstances. It also brought their achievements closer to home.
Notten’s ability to speak to all of one’s insecurities as a woman in the business world through a simple sentence does wonders for the soul in need of encouragement. Therefore, I highly recommend that you take some time out to read this book, especially if you:
- want to start your “own thing” (your own business or practice);
- want fresh encouragement for the “own thing” that you’ve already started;
- are a female and are finding it difficult to push through in a sphere of business or work that’s dominated by males;
- are a female and don’t know how you’re going to fit being a wife and mother into being a powerful and determined businesswoman…
There are a few golden threads throughout the book, but here are three of my favourites:
Never let people’s perceptions of who you are determine your destiny or define who you are
This seems simple enough, but yesterday I sat with a close friend talking to her about the first three weeks of a new job that I’m in, working with people I’ve always dreamt of working with.
It took a lot to take the plunge to apply for this job because of the fact that it was the opposite of “everything” that I’d been building for the last four years, even thought it was still one of my oldest dreams! The reason why this hadn’t been on my radar for so long was because I allowed the opinions of an old boyfriend (without even realising it) to set me off of my course. I was so convinced what he was saying was the right thing because of how much I loved him and looked up to him at the time, and I didn’t realise that I didn’t have to take anything that he was saying as the truth about my life and who I was.
Don’t ever sacrifice the quality of your life just because you are running a business – it takes hard work and focus, but if you don’t do it (enjoy your life), you’ve missed out
The Bible says there’s a specific time for everything in our lives (Ecclesiastics 3:1-8): a time to go to school, to be a kid, to be a young person with dreams and aspirations, to go to university, to get married.
But, let’s be real, no one’s life is perfect and the lines are sometimes blurry. It’s important to remember to invest in your quality of life when this happens (invest in family, friendship, in developing hobbies) before you realise that it’s too late.
Never let your self-esteem be too closely bound to your business, so that you don’t lose perspective of your real value rather than standing firm in who you are, whether your business is doing well or not!
Your self-esteem must give life to your business; your business must not give you self-esteem. Otherwise, if it fails, you will think that you are a failure and that you are only a success when your business is successful! This same principle applies to anything else that you may pursue in your life.
There are many other more “business-y” tips that are given (tons of them – but you’ll have to actually read it yourself to get them), but I chose to share only these three because going forward to achieve your dreams has a lot to do with what you believe about yourself and who and what you put your faith in!
Never before in my life have I felt so free to truly explore all of the gifting and dreams that God has put within me, believing that anything and everything that I want to achieve is possible.
This is possibly because of the fact that I’ve realised that no matter what I do, eternity is more important – that what we have and do here is not the be-all and end-all:
“What good comes to anyone who works so hard, all to gain a few possessions? I have seen the kinds of tasks God has given each of us to do to keep one busy, and I know God has made everything beautiful for its time. God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity; we look back on the past and ponder over the future, yet we cannot understand the doings of God. I know there is nothing better for us than to be joyful and to do good throughout our lives; to eat and drink and see the good in all of our hard work is a gift from God. I know everything God does endures for all time. Nothing can be added to it; nothing can be taken away from it. We humans can only stand in awe of all God has done. What has been and what is to be—already is. And God holds accountable all the pursuits of humanity.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:9-15