So here we are – 2018 is already well underway and I wonder how many of you who set New Year Resolutions are still doing them?….) Procrastination is running to meet you – will you welcome it with open arms, or try and head it off at the pass? You can take control if you really want to.
In this blog we are encouraging you to reflect and be absolutely honest with yourself about how you manage your own expectations.
Understand why you procrastinate: Try and understand the root cause of your hesitation. Whether it’s boredom (completing a tax form), too difficult to maintain (losing weight), too complicated – what’s your reason? As professional women, many of you will be perfectionists – this can really get in the way of getting on with it. Do you know what ‘good enough’ looks like? – your first task is to define good enough and when you reach it – move on to the next task.
Face your fears: Are you afraid? Fear of failure is a big barrier – we all want to be the best we can be and doing something we are unsure of can reveal that we weren’t exactly who we said we were. (Psst I have a secret for you – we all fall into that trap!) Talk it through with a ‘listener’, get to the bottom of your fear it and then… get on with it. Rarely is anything as bad as we think it is going to be.
Set yourself a goal to achieve: A clear goal, write it down, set a date to achieve it, be clear on what success looks like. Check it – is it realistic, will it matter if you don’t do it, who will it matter to? Is it something that you can control? (If it isn’t, the gate is open to leading you to procrastinate further). Manage your expectations. One final check on your goal – is it something that you really want, something that will bring a benefit to you? If not maybe you should ditch it and do something that matters.
Is your workspace productive? Is there room to do what you need to do and have you set the time aside to do things properly? Are you hot / cold / hungry/ tired? Just check in with yourself and then make any changes you need and then get to work.
Do you get on your own nerves with your failure to get on with it? Try visualisation. For this you need to look into the future and see what life is like for you and those around you when you have done what you are avoiding. Have a go – do you like what you see? Once you know that it is really worth it you are more likely to do it.
Most of us don’t spend time on reflecting. Pick a mirror up and take a peek – the person looking back is in total charge of your life. Are they doing the best by you? Only you know, and reflection is the time that you can ask yourself a few questions about just how useful you are to yourself.
The reality is that our dreams are often at war with the circumstances around us; which are not always favourable when we want to begin something great.
I am confident that given the opportunity to express our heart desires, the list would not be complete without including the desire to get ahead in life; the deep desire to do great things that we are created to accomplish. The reality is that unless we begin to do something about these desires or dreams, they will remain as they are. I remember a sad story that a friend told me growing up. It is a story of a boy who bragged about the kind of car he would drive when he grew up. He would tell the story to everyone who would listen. As he grew up, he continued to share the dream. However, something changed in his narrative; he began to brag about the kind of cars that were parking on his street. How could this be? How did he move from pursuing his personal dream to vicariously living someone else’s dream?
The reality is that our dreams are often at war with the circumstances around us; which are not always favourable when we want to begin something great. We are torn between two choices; starting in the midst of an imperfect situation or waiting for the circumstances to change. Wise King Solomon said that, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
If we do nothing at all, we can expect to accomplish nothing at all. If we dwell too much on the circumstances, it becomes easy to reason why ‘it’ cannot be done or to succumb to our fears. It is my view that at times it is not only the perceived danger that stops us from beginning, but rather that we are so fixed on wanting to see the full picture before taking those first steps that we stop before we even start. We need to be courageous and take those first baby steps. It could be beginning a relationship with God, a new business venture or project, reaching for the dream, a new career, family, friendship, reaching out to others, a new door of opportunity, studying further, stopping a bad habit or starting a good one, starting a new relationship or ending a wrong one, an act of kindness or whatever the case may be. We can draw from the wisdom of the late President Nelson Mandela’s words, “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
By Reneilwe Langa
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“I write to help someone struggling with life and its issues by sharing how I scaled some mountains, how I went around others and how I cope whilst still facing others.”
My father was an intelligent man, full of wit and humour. I remember him being a principled guy who lived life loving his family. I have no doubt he loved me and my siblings.
One of my favourite characteristics about my dad was that he wasn’t one to take himself too seriously, he believed in simplicity of life and a great desire to esteem others. He had another side to him though, a mischievous side; he wasn’t one to be afraid of having a laugh at someone else’s expense! I remember laughing at the countless stories about how certain behaviours in individuals tickled him. I refer to my dad as “was” because he has since passed. I blog about this extensively but for now I wanted to share my journey, a journey I have come to learn is a journey of countless people, I am just one of a number giving it a voice.
My reality was this; my father had a mental health illness. I can’t remember when I first realised this, but for as long as I could remember it was just that way. His relatives said my mother did it – those of African heritage will understand the gravity of that statement. Why do that to someone who you would share your bed with for the rest of your life and was your bread winner? I am sure collectively we can agree on the ridiculousness of this statement.
My father’s mental illness was a key in my formative years in shaping who I thought I was. I was ashamed of a situation that was not of my choosing and existed in fear of being judged by a prejudiced society. I accepted a label because of this, until I realised I was bigger than the labels that people put on me. I never knew I could write, certainly knew I could talk! But in using my words wisely I found my voice.
I write not just to tell my story about growing up with a father with what the “champions” are now calling “Low Mental Hygiene.” Funny how they keep changing the label, when the challenges and consequent effects of those with Mental Health issues and their loved ones probably remain the same.
I write to help someone struggling with life and its issues by sharing how I scaled some mountains, how I went around others and how I cope whilst still facing others.
I whispered my truth to myself in order to have the courage to free someone else
Walking my journey, I learnt that there will always be chatter in life; you have to accept that, what you don’t have to accept is the finality of that chatter in your life. You’ve got to be careful not to allow people’s voices over you to become fact. I was much more than society’s opinion, a daughter of whom they called a mad man. I had to ensure that I refocused my bearing and stop swaying to a foreign beat. I realise now I was blessed to be different and I have learnt to see the uniqueness in that. My uniqueness has given me a voice to speak out in order that someone else may stand up and say, “I am ok!”
In all my challenges I missed the reality that through my faith, my God was in the midst of it all. He was there through it all even though it felt at times like I was isolated and quite alone, He was there.
How do I know that He was there? Because I made it through it all to this point in my life where I can write and share my heart.
I have faced, fought and overcame many hurts from many quarters across the journey. We all have, you can’t be alive today without experiencing some kind of emotional pain. The lesson for me was this; the hurt itself was probably insignificant compared to what I did with that hurt.
It can either destroy you or grow you
So I drowned out the voices speaking to me from my internal struggles as well those coming from the mouths of many. Before I overcame, the chatter attempted to drown me. I dared to stand up, dared to speak out, dared to be different. My mountain drove me higher, it taught me how to sing and redefine the music my past had defined for me.
I had a future, but as long as my driving was in rear view, I couldn’t move forward
Forgiving those that hurt me was the key I used to get myself unstuck because holding on to unforgivness erodes and depletes you. Unforgiveness will hurt your ability to focus and will negatively impact every other relationship you have.
Every day we choose to hold on to the pain is another day everybody around us will have to live and feel the consequences of that decision.
I couldn’t keep blaming the past for how I kept viewing myself. I had a future, but as long as my driving was in rear view, I couldn’t move forward.
Forgiveness doesn’t display weakness; it reveals strength and wisdom, wisdom to understand we all make mistakes.
People will always have an opinion, it’s their right. But you’ve got to remember that it’s your right not to adopt it. It’s your right to say I hear you but I don’t need to accept it nor respect it!
I dare you to scale that mountain!
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Taskeen Suleman is a Health and Wellness entrepreneur. Together with her business partner Steve Mululu, she started the business when she was 24 years old. The first time you meet her, she appears quiet and reserved, but a few moments with her and you realise that is not the case at all. Taskeen is friendly, warm, vibrant, accommodating and definitely mature beyond her years. She shares with ESTROGEN her journey as a business woman.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
I am a very passionate, loyal, dedicated and hardworking person, always looking to help others in whatever way I can.
Q: What line of business are you in and why?
Selling Human Energy. I believe we cannot give people more time in the day, but we certainly can give them more energy to accomplish more in the time that they have while being healthy and looking the best they have looked.
Q: What is the name of your business?
Dream Body Fitness & Wellness Centre
Q: What are your qualifications?
Honours Sport Science
Q: Do you plan to study further?
Yes, I am currently busy with my MBA in Executive Business.
Q: What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture? How did the idea for your business come about?
I have always wanted to work for myself and help as many people become health conscious (live longer and be happy!) as I possibly could.
Q: Give us a brief history of your journey from completing matric (secondary school) to where you are now?
After matriculating (completing secondary school) I studied for 4 years at the University of Johannesburg. Upon Graduating I started working immediately for Virgin Active. I started as a Floor Instructor for 4 months at Little Falls Virgin Active, I was then promoted to Personal Training Manager in the central Region. I filled that role for 4 years. The best part of the Journey happened when I met Steve Mululu at Morningside Virgin Active. We had a universal goal and that was to change as many lives as we could. And that is where Dream Body Fitness was born. Here we are 4 years later with a phenomenal product, adding value to unlimited lives while growing and having fun each and every day!
Q: What questions should an entrepreneur ask herself every day to become or remain successful?
What can I do today to WOW my clients? What can I improve on today from yesterday?
Q: What is the best and worst decision you have ever made?
My best decision is not focusing on my worst decisions; they were lessons which brought me to where I am NOW!
Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Believe in your dreams and dream BIG!
Q: If you could rewind time, what would you do differently knowing what you know now?
Nothing. Everything happened as and when it was supposed to happen.
Q: Who has had the greatest influence in your life and why?
Steve Mululu, friends, family my staff and members. They all teach me valuable lessons of life and let me know who I am every day.
Q: What have been the highlights of your life in the past 5 years?
Definitely having a successful business with amazing staff and incredible members. Adding value to so many lives.
Q: What have been the low points?
Don’t have any, just have life experiences as point of references.
Q: Do you have long working hours? If so, how do you balance work, home and play?
I don’t work, I am living my dream.
Q: Do you think women feel intimidated in business? If yes, why do you think this is so?
Yes they do, they tend to always undermine themselves and question decisions they have taken. Male does not stand for superior, even in the alphabet F comes before M!
Q: How did you get where you are today, and who or what helped you along the way?
Hard word, commitment, dedication, belief. Everyone that I have ever met along the way has had a part to play in my journey. My integrity Pledge: I will honour every commitment, I will keep every promise, I will achieve every goal!
Q: What or who has kept you afloat during the dark times?
God. He is important during every time not only in the dark times.
Q: How important is marketing to a business and what is the up or downside of not marketing?
Marketing is the business! You can have an amazing brand or product but if no one has ever heard about it, it is merely an idea.
Q: How do you advertise your business?
Referrals are our biggest acquisition, mobile billboards, Social media platforms, Workshops, Corporate Wellness Days, the sales team which is very active outdoors as well as telephonically. We also participate in a lot of charity drives as well. Our clients are our walking advertisements.
Q: How important have good employees been to your success?
Very important, they create and maintain the brand.
Q: How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
People approach us. Our brand is a very respected brand, and everyone wants to be associated with us as we are changing lives.
Q: What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and life as a result of this business journey that you undertook?
The way you treat staff and clients defines what kind of leader you are. Leaders are made through different experiences. Entrepreneurship is the road to financial and emotional freedom in the sense that no one owns you. In addition, if you want to become an entrepreneur remember you cannot do everything by yourself, believe in your staff and trust them, you own you and you are first and foremost accountable to YOU! Dream Big and Live Life fully every day, all day. Make every moment count. I have learnt the meaning of dedication, commitment and that hard work pays off.
Q: What do you think is the biggest mistake that women make in business?
Not believing in themselves.
Q: What is a woman’s greatest asset in business?
Attention to detail and persistence as well as focus and urgency.
Q: What three things about business do you think any aspiring businesswoman should know to increase their chances of success?
Q: What is your all-time favourite book or movie and why?
The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho. Its teachings are amazing. What starts as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of treasure found within. It’s a deeply humane story; it is an eternal testament of the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
Q: What are you passionate about and why?
Life! It is an amazing journey each and every day.
Q: What are your interests outside of work? How do you relax?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends and of course my dog, Osama!
Did you need a lot of start-up capital? If yes, why?
Not at all, to dream doesn’t cost anything, to get others to believe in your dream costs dedication, commitment, passion.
What challenges did you face in raising the capital?
As we were the first of its kind in SA, raising capital wasn’t easy. Institutions want you to put in capital to get capital. Hello? If we had the capital we wouldn’t be asking for capital.
You mention that your establishment was the first of its kind in South Africa, what makes it unique?
We are a wellness centre as well as a high performance centre for the corporate athlete. We sell energy. Our unique selling points is that we care and we are with our clients every step of the way. We control the entire experience throughout every member’s journey. We empower and educate our clients continuously in terms of nutrition and training and overall well-being. To sum it up, we provide a lifelong process of responsibility that empowers the individual to exercise and take action towards a more balanced, dynamic sustainable and fulfilling existence in all dimensions of life.
A lot of women never start their own businesses because of ‘a lack of capital.’ Take us through the specific steps that you took to raise capital for your business venture?
We started pre-sales 3 months before opening our doors, we were selling our dream and vision. We had nothing tangible to give the clients at that stage, besides making them believe in us. Building a trusting and lasting relationship with each client was imperative to our capital and cash flow as well. As you know with memberships, they are either 12 weeks or 12 months (our products) and went off as debit orders. We strive to keep our expenses to a minimal but by no means compromising our value and service to our clients. We also built trusting relationships with our landlord and suppliers, we got them to believe in our dream. This assisted us as well in terms of our capital and cash flow.
What did you learn from this experience?
People only do business with people they trust.
Q: What is your definition of success?
Having the right attitude all the time in everything you do!!!
Q: Have you reached your life’s purpose? If so how, if not, what should we look forward to and when?
I am still on the journey and loving it. The destination is not as important as the amazing journey.
Self Esteem Demystified
By Steve Mululu
Are you fat? Are you thin? Are you short? Are you too dark? Are you too “White”? Do all these attributes define you?
These attributes can be a constant source of insecurity in our very “image conscious” society. I, personally, used to be thin, even though I would like to think of myself as having been svelte! Being around my buff friends and girlfriends, my thinness used to cause me a lot of insecurity. I imagined that I would become a hunk once I got “big.” However, the problem was that when I started lifting weights, I found it very hard to reach and cross that line to ultimate happiness. Every time I would reach my goal, the happiness and self-esteem goal shifted. This happened for years until I realized that it’s easier to focus only on what you can control. Your height, getting bald, your IQ, skin colour, how you were raised, and the list goes on and on, can’t be tamed. They will always remain constants.
One of the major reasons people flock to gyms is for weight loss, in pursuit of improving their self-esteem. It’s not surprising that one lady in a nutrition workshop I was conducting showed obvious disappointment when my opening words were, “This is not a diet. This is not a weight-loss program. Above everything else, this is not a weight loss exercise program.”
Her response was instant, “I came here to lose weight, Steve.”
My usual response is “Would your life change if 10kg of weight dropped off you right now?”
Her automatic response, supported by the entire class of nodding heads was, “It will improve my self-esteem.”
Self-esteem isn’t real. It’s a mental construct. It is not tangible and that is why simply telling someone to improve their self-esteem isn’t very helpful.
Most women wanting to lose weight relate it to their frustrations with dating and happiness, always blaming it on their weight. Regardless of whether this is the case, more often than not, the advice they get is usually, “Men don’t care about weight, they care about self-esteem. So you should stop worrying about your weight and try to be more confident.”
“Men don’t care about weight, they care about self-esteem. So you should stop worrying about your weight and try to be more confident.”
Many people don’t see the world for what it is, they see it for who they are. Weight loss, dieting and exercise are associated with being thin, svelte, good looking people. If you don’t look like them, you are declared a persona non grata and a failure in the world of aesthetics. The absence of these aesthetic qualities makes one feel less worthy. We have come to believe that self-esteem is as potent as your heart or brain, but is it? Protection of our self-esteem is encoded in our DNA as self- preservation. This leads to many people engaging in either positive behaviour (kindness, selfless service of others) or negative behaviour (chasing titles, money) at high cost to other areas of their lives.
Does higher self-esteem lead to more happiness? Does it matter how it was built? If self-esteem is built on extrinsic achievements, what happens when achievements like getting or having your dream job, qualifications or car are lost? If happiness is the sole purpose of losing weight, what happens when you gain the weight again? When your thin-ness equals your
quality of happiness then chances are some other areas of your life start suffering. If your value and worth is pegged to your weight, does it mean it drops with weight gain?
If your value and worth is pegged to your weight, does it mean it drops with weight gain?
Given the inability of the majority of us to manage our weight, are we just weak-willed slackers or narrow minded losers that focus on weight loss to cover up failure in other areas of our lives? My take is that most of us just lack strategy; our priorities are wrong and we are always last on our to-do list. We should focus on balance and understanding of energy as a singular denominator in the success of our daily endeavours and believe that this will automatically change us psychologically and physically.
My approach and that of our Wellness Centre is based and built upon the following four pillars:
• Physically energized through exercise and proper nutrition.
• Emotionally connected to our inner and outside world; conscious strategy.
• Mentally focused – through clarity and power of singularity in task performance.
• Spiritually aligned to purpose; cause beyond our immediate self-interest.
These 4 pillars lead to a fully engaged, energized, happy existence. This leads to the long term sustainability of a high or positive self-esteem. Self-esteem is like a well-built house. The foundation has to be strong. The values that your self-esteem is built on determine how happy and content you become. Self- esteem built on some inferior material, like sawdust, doesn’t last. It’s like buying a new car or that Gucci bag to “be” happy. Long lasting self- esteem and happiness can only be attained by building a strong foundation, a brick house, based on values that encompass self-love, respect of self and others, kindness and adding value to society.
Steve Mululu is a Body Transformation specialist and a Popular Speaker on Wellness and Life Strategic Planning at Corporate Events. He is the Founder & Head of Dream Body Fitness & Wellness Centre in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.
Dream Body Fitness (DBF) conducts Free Nutrition Workshops every Wednesday at 17:30pm and every last Saturday of the month at 10:00am
For more information about the workshops and the 12 Week Body Transformation Programme, visit, www.dreambodyfitness.co.za or email: email@example.com or tel: 011 234 4700