Tag Archives: life lessons

Dear Joburg, I’m annoyed with you

barbed-wire

Dear Joburg,

I’ve had some time to think about our relationship while we were on a break, and I’ve decided that I am not okay with how things are going.

Your roads are death traps. Aggression, aggression, aggression. At every intersection, main road, side street, quiet lane, anywhere I venture out in my car I am met with aggression mixed with stupidity. I refuse to speed up way past the speed limit because some wanktard is in a hurry and driving up my ass. Unauthorised back-entry is rude, my friend, and not socially acceptable. Leave 5 minutes earlier if you need to, but don’t make it my problem. I also refuse to drive through a red traffic light because you are hooting behind me. It’s red. Red means stop, fool. I don’t care that the road is clear enough for me to sneak through. It’s a red traffic light. Did they not teach you that in nursery school? Should we take you back there?

I don’t enjoy waiting at my driveway for 10 minutes while the taxi blocks the entire entrance while it offloads and on-loads far too many people than is safe. And you’re IN MY DRIVEWAY!

I don’t enjoy the competition to be the best, the biggest, the richest, drive the sexiest car, have the most Twitter followers, be retweeted by some lonely dork behind his Mac who happens to be big online, or to define my worth by the brands I wear or associate with.

I don’t enjoy that shopping is an activity. And that smacking a wannabe model into a promotional campaign to help you dress yourself is actually exciting. I don’t enjoy that there is a handful of people that you HAVE to associate with to boost your reputation and to get the “favours” you need to succeed. I don’t like that you can hardly trust a Joburg blogger these days because they’re likely being paid or getting free products for everything they write and sincerity no longer exists.

I don’t enjoy that your men think that women are objects and have forgotten how to care about anything other than their image and the way that others perceive them. When did you become a cesspool of douchebaggery?

I don’t like that I am constantly on guard, wandering what people’s ulterior motives are or what they’re looking to steal from me.

I think we should break up.

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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:

http://www.mythicrhythm.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/FrazzledCat.jpg

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.


There are bigger things in life than #FirstWorldProblems

I had the most eye-opening Mandela Day experience with Dlala Nje 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.


Outside of the Corporate Cocoon – what it’s like

Having been in the corporate world and then ventured out on my own, people always ask me what it’s like on “the other side of the fence”. I like to think of it more like “outside of the corporate cocoon”.

I do miss my stable corporate salary from time to time, and perhaps the free stationery and year-end parties. Yes, I miss those things.

I don’t miss the political BS, the STATIC salary, having to put my bum in the same seat every day and all day (regardless of whether or not my bum on the seat was creating productivity), power-hungry execs, having to “put in leave” and have my decisions approved.

I guess that I am just not cut out for that kind of lifestyle and there is some sort of fire inside me that makes me reject it so deeply. I struggled for a long time to figure out what that fire was and why I can’t just be happy with my bum in that seat, and I now know that that fire is entrepreneurship. Some of us have it and it is an exciting quality to explore.

I went to a Google for Entrepreneurs event recently where one of the key speakers, Enzo Kumahor, said “If you’re an entrepreneur, you just know.” There is a lot to do with gut feel and “just knowing” where you should be going. It was fantastic to have someone corroborate thoughts that I have had that I thought nobody else understood.

Stop using can't

Entrepreneurship allows me to grow in which ever direction I choose, make my own decisions and act on them immediately. The opportunities are endless and the thought that I can do anything I want (if I want to) provides breathing space that the corporate cocoon cannot. I no longer have a “role”. I hate that word. I have a purpose. Defined by me.

I’ll write more about my experience along the way. At least you’ll get an honest account here of the highs and lows and I hope that I inspire you to think about where you are right now and if it works for you. We are the only people who can change things for ourselves.


Nice? Can you spell that?

It struck me this past week, when I was being email-attacked by a client’s vendor, that people have forgotten how to be nice. Are the days of friendliness and adult conversations really gone? Have people forgotten their manners and what their parents tried so hard to teach them? We’re all fighting our own battles out there, granted, but there are these WTF moments in life that take my mind into a world of sharks and villains and downright nastiness.

So the big question is: WHY? Honestly, why? Why do people feel the need to take out their anger on other people? Why do they feel the need to mask their insecurities with accusations of blame? Why do they feel the need to push people into the mud-pit for challenging them?

I can’t actually answer those questions, but I can tell you that despite the way that I have been treated on occasions in my life, I do believe that people are inherently good. For some, it just lies a shit load deeper than in others.

So I challenge you! Soul Pancake shared a video late last year that inspired people on the street to compliment each other and I thought it was really cute. And relevant to me right now. What if we were to compliment someone, instead of berating them? What if we told people the good things we thought about them instead of focusing on the bad? (Yes, some people really are just assholes, but I’m pretty sure that there is something in them that is good, you’ll just have to look really really really deep.) Don’t you think it would change their lives in a teensy weensy little way that can create a bigger positive change as a result?


Random words of wisdom – from the mouths of the monks #GoThai

Whilst being stuck in Chiang Mai, hanging around the city, I visited one of the many temples in the city (Wat Pra Singh) to pass the time. Having been to Thailand before and done the whole ‘visit the temples’ thing, I wasn’t too excited about it, but this temple was actually really interesting as you could wander around the temple grounds, discovering random words of wisdom pinned to the trees.

Here are some that I found quite interesting. I hope that you find something here that speaks to you.


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 😉

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  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. Forced friendship 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.