Category Archives: Today I learnt…

Help you help yourself – an entrepreneurial lesson

Once upon a time I blogged about how awesome it is to be an entrepreneur and also the challenges I face on a daily basis. I promised to share some of these with you, but I have failed taken my time to get to it (it is a swear word in the entrepreneurial world to use the “f” word – you don’t fail, you just change direction).

Well, dear readers, here is the deal right now. This is me:

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I know it is hard to tell, but if you look closely you will see it. I did this to myself.

I am an accountant, bookkeeper, secretary, copywriter, web designer, graphic designer, social media strategist, social media community manager, web developer, marketing strategist, business owner, freelancer, advertiser, media agency, relationship manager, account manager, business analyst, salesman, missing aunt and birthday-forgetting friend.

A friend asked me recently what the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur is and this is my answer: ‘Coming to terms with the fact that you can’t do everything yourself’. When it is your own business and your passion, it is so difficult to hand over responsibility of any part of it to someone else. You don’t think that they can care about it as much as you do. You don’t trust other people with your “child”.

So here’s the first lesson at entrepreneur school: “You can’t do everything yourself”. Find trusted partners and suppliers and build those relationships. That way, you can feel comfortable to hand over what others are capable of doing for you. It seems expensive at first, and when you’re starting out you really don’t have the money to outsource anything. The key is to understand what you can outsource, exactly what it costs, trust your supplier and build it into your costs to your client.

I’m by no means there yet, but at least I’ve learnt this lesson and am taking steps to get there.

*Cue: Someone buy me a freaking drink.

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There are bigger things in life than #FirstWorldProblems

I had the most eye-opening Mandela Day experience with Dlala NjeĀ last Thursday. In the midst of having a ‘woe is me’ few days, I pulled it all together and went to help Dlala Nje out with their Hillbrow blanket walk and party for the Ponte kids at Maboneng.

We started the afternoon off by taking some blankets to those living in a park near Ponte City, hailed “Junkie Park” for obvious reasons. There is only one word to describe what I saw and experienced: HECTIC. These people literally live in the park and are hopelessly addicted to a drug or few. Walking in there was like walking into heavy smog, although it was a clear day. Desperate eyes look at you – the kind of desperation that I have never (and will never have) experienced in my life. Behind those eyes was darkness. It was chilling. They swarmed us as we started to hand out blankets. Desperate.

As we walked away from there, someone called out “they’re only going to sell those for drugs, you know”. They’re probably right. At least the sold blanket will end up keeping someone warm, I guess.

Next up was to round up the kids living in Ponte Towers and to go on a walk through Hillbrow, handing out blankets to the homeless along the way. More desperate eyes were met. People fought with each other for them. For a BLANKET. It was touching to see the kids take the blankets off their backs (it was a pretty chilly afternoon) and give it to those that needed it more than them. We dodged man-holes along the way (the covers are stolen to sell to scrap metal dealers) and stopped kids from falling into sewerage. This is their neighbourhood.

When we reached Fox Street, where the Maboneng District had prepared a party for the kids in the area, the little boy next to me lit up when he saw the jumping castle. “Is that a jumping castle?” he said. “Yes, it’s lots of fun, hey?” “I don’t know, I’ve never been on one.” He was ordered to immediately take his shoes off and jump on. He ran for that jumping castle, with the biggest holes in his socks I have ever seen (he might as well have not been wearing any), with pure joy that I have not seen in a long time.

I left there feeling humbled and emotional. And grateful for the life that I have. My woes were small in comparison to what so many people in our country experience and overcome every single day of their lives.

If every one of us just gave something to the desperate community on our doorstep, or even better, helped to empower others, it will go a long way in making our country more bearable for a lot of people. Pay it forward.

There are bigger things in life than #FirstWorldProblems.


Today I learnt… Why you shouldn’t attend your high school reunion

Ha ha ha…if you’re reading this post, then I will probably get along with you – your sick sense of curiosity amuses me šŸ˜‰

This past weekend brought with it my 10 year high school reunion. After much umming and aahing, I eventually decided to go and see what happened to the jocks and the blonde squad.

And here are my reasons why you should not go to your high school reunion:

1. If it is organised by Miss Priss Prefect, it’s unlikely to have any fun attached to it, unless you are there to show off Ā the big diamond rock on your finger and pretend that your life of baby puke and finding the 6 pack in your husband’s beer boep is amaaaaaaaazing. I guess that can be fun for some.

2. You’re likely not to recognise a lot of the people and spend the entire time making your brain split open trying to remember names and how you know the person. They’re looking at you with that same pained look.

3. There will always be that someone who completely ignored your existence in high school and is now suddenly asking intimate details of your life. Awkward.

4. The days of bitching about every other “group” of people in school is so far gone that I don’t even remember what it’s all about. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t very good at it in the first place.

5. You will feel like a monkey in a zoo.

6. The high school dynamics don’t change. Same shit, different decade. Rather keep up with people’s amaaaaaaazing (pretend) lives on Facebook. It’s easier that way.

7. If you wanted to keep in touch with everyone at school, you would have. ForcedĀ friendshipĀ for an evening is not natural.

That being said, I am actually glad I went to that revolting event. It made me realise how happy I am with the life that I have created for myself. It made me appreciate what I have achieved and the place that I am in right now. I am okay with those crow’s feet forming at the side of my eyes because it means that I have grown up. That’s more than a lot of others can say.


Today I learnt…Fast fasting

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have noticed some moany-moany tweets about starvation and wanting to eat a vegetarian. I am on a 3 day juice fast, people. Bear with me!

Why?

We put so much food through our digestive system day in and day out, without a break. Imagine all the gunk in there!

The theory behind fasting is that it permits the entire digestive system to rest while ridding the body of toxins. It cleanses the body and the energy that is usually used for digestion is available for the repair and healing of the body.

People also fast for spiritual reasons, in that it gives them an opportunity to focus their thoughts towards God/spirituality/whatever they’re into.

I just felt like I needed a bodily spring-clean.

How?

I chose a 3 day juice fast. Detoxification programmes and fasting can be dangerous, if not done properly and for long periods of time, so a 3 day juice fast is a safe and relatively fast way to get the job done.

So all it is, is 3 days of only fresh fruit/vegetable juice and water/herbal tea. Sounds easy enough. Ha ha ha ha!! I laugh so!

A fridge full of apples, pears, carrots, lemon and ginger and motivation on Day 1.

Today is Day 3. The fridge holds a few carrots and a cucumber. I nearly ate my roommate yesterday.

I feel amazingly light and energetic now, though…

And?

Day 1 and 2:

Mornings were fine. Afternoons filled with starvation and detox headaches. Juice fasts tend to detox you quicker than normal fasts and the toxins released cause intense headaches. This is apparently a good thing, though. But Oh My Soul…they hurt like mad. Sweating it out, drinking lots of water and peppermint tea helps though.

Day 3:

I’m still alive! I don’t want to kill or eat anyone. Whew! I feel great. No hunger. Glad that it’s nearly over!

So?

Again, I have realised how much I love food and wine and the social aspect of eating. I chose a time when there was nothing really going on socially, and I could relax and take it easy while my body does it’s thing, but I would have struggled a lot more if I had to decline a meal out or a glass of wine with a friend!

I am impressed with my own willpower and inner strength.

I’m sticking out the last few hours on a positive note – Gold Stars to me…


Frazzle Bedazzled

Here is my current situation:

It’s 9pm and I’ve moved from my desk to my couch, laptop still attached. The TV is on in the background and I still have a good few hours of work to do. I have no wine. I’ve had a really long day and I’m tired. My To-Do list seems to have fertiliser in its’ shoes.

But you know what? I’ve never been happier.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this feeling of pure creativity energy. Anything is possible and there is no string on my kite.

I don’t care that I don’t have my old fat corporate salary anymore. I don’t care that I live from month to month. I don’t care that my financial stability has become more of a laugh than a certainty. Laughing is good for the soul.

Anything is possible and the world is still my oyster. I will make what I want out of it. I am no longer tied down by the corporate ball and chain. My clients are amazing. Big potential opportunities loom so close I can smell it. I help people every day. I gym outside of peak hours. I sleep late on a Monday morning because I can.

I have never been happier with a life decision.

If you are not happy in your job, change it!

It’s not worth your soul. Get it back.


Today I learnt…to just go with it

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Having recently taken up horse riding, I’ve found that these animals like to teach us mere humans some lessons about ourselves along the way. Today I learnt how to just go with it.

Let me tell you the story:

Today’s horse riding lesson was about learning to trot. Once you have gotten the horse to move from a walk into a trot, you have to ‘post’, which is basically standing up and sitting down in the saddle to the rhythm of the horse’s trot. Sounds easy enough, but remember that you are sitting on a powerful moving animal, so keeping yourself in (and out of) the saddle requires some technique, some serious balance and core strength (while supposedly steering the horse in the right direction without pulling on the reigns).

Right, so once I get going with this whole new movement, Bella, my breathtakingly beautiful horse, decides that she likes where this is going and breaks out into a full canter. Now this was something new. Her body immediately moves in a completely different way (obviously while I am in the standing position in the saddle) and she puts foot on her internal accelerator, completely catching me off guard.

In that split second that my brain had to process what was going on, I had two choices:
A. Fumble around trying to figure out how to handle this and in the process likely fall on my head, or B. Sit tightly in the saddle, hold on and just go with it

I chose option B.

I just went with it. I just felt the rhythm of her movement and literally just went with the flow.

I did not fall on my head.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Sometimes we are faced with situations where we have no idea what to do. Life does not throw us only the problems that we know how to deal with.

Sometimes we are going to have to just hold on tight and go with it. Or we will likely fall on our heads.


Today I learnt… to just laugh

Twenty-eight. Twenty. Eight.

How the hell did that happen? Yesterday I was twenty-two, I’m sure?
My first birthday breakdown. I thought that only happened when you’re old?

My goodness gracious me, I’m being a ridiculous fool. The emphasis is on TWENTY, not eight.

Nonetheless, I did have a little wobbly at the thought. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. I may put it on the Internet, but you have thought that too – be honest.

It’s quite easy to criticise yourself for what you have not yet achieved in your life, I realise that now, but why on earth would we choose to do that to ourselves? You can’t have everything – where would you put it?

Life is precious. Every day. Even the bad ones.

All you can do is laugh…just laugh šŸ™‚

Real laughter, not the LOL kind. The kind where someone walks into a sliding door and you’re watching it happen from the other side. Or when a child experiences brain freeze for the first time, after a milkshake. Or when you trip up the stairs in high school and your dress flies up above your head. That didn’t happen to me.

Just laugh.