Please go!

“The only problem with Australia is that it is, well… full of Australians,” joked a tourist on the Gold Coast of Australia during a recent trip.

Harry_Welby-Cooke.jpg

“The only problem with Australia is that it is, well… full of Australians,” joked a tourist on the Gold Coast of Australia during a recent trip. “Yes, and too many South Africans,” was the quick retort from the Australian tour guide. Sadly, I think the only problem with South Africa is, well, South Africans.

I’ve had the privilege of travelling to three very different countries since the last edition of this magazine. All are amazing in their own right but each has very specific and far-reaching challenges. Does this sound familiar?

Whilst I loved our time in Australia, Dubai and the Maldives, I loved being home even more. For me, every time I travel internationally, I come back home with a sense of gratitude and hope, and have a newfound respect for our beautiful country. Every time, I feel an even stronger sense of purpose and excitement. Every time, I become an even prouder South African.

So, what happened while I was away?

I returned to a more negative general perception than ever before. With Ramaphoria running out, we’re hanging our ‘depression’ on the land debate, the now official recession, fuel price hikes and almost anything else we can find to make ourselves miserable. We’re then not only making ourselves miserable but taking every opportunity we can find to drag those around us, down with us as well.

Please stop it! Think about a road trip in a car. First, you decide on the destination and then you look ahead, scanning between the road ahead and the horizon, to ensure you’re moving towards your destination. Yes, you have a rear-view mirror as well as two side mirrors to warn against anything unexpected from the past creeping up on you but your main focus is the road ahead. That’s why the windscreen is the full size of the front of your vehicle and the rear-view mirror and two side mirrors are tiny by comparison. Too many South Africans seem to be looking in their rear-view mirror and side mirrors, and have forgotten to look forward at all. Never mind the destination that’s been forgotten about in the first place.

Seven critical steps that could perhaps assist you in getting back on track:

  1. Commit to a future you want to see. No one can commit to a future they cannot see or feel. The more you dwell in the negativity, the more you move away from your ideal future. The more the rest of us do the same, the more we collectively spiral into what we’re currently experiencing. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Create your ideal future and commit to it fully. Then, put blinkers on and get going.
  2. Stop reacting to the news. Stop jumping to conclusions after falling for the news headline, which, by the way, is specifically designed to invoke emotion and enough of it to react and actually read the article. Sadly, we forget that and only react without actually reading. Stop sharing fake news and even real news that just focuses on the negative. Stop wallowing in the paralysis your one-sided reality is causing. Stop seeing only the one side of the story—often, not even your own side. Don’t forget that there are always three sides to every story. Your side, the other side and the truth somewhere in-between.
  3. Start actually understanding what’s going on around you. That may mean a lot more work and definitely more reading and research. Don’t just react but actually open up the article and read the whole thing. Then, read some of the links to other related articles and remember to stick with a topic until you see the retractions, retorts, the truth emerging, apologies etc. Find out why things are the way they are and how they’re interlinked. Find out what is really happening internationally and look for the manure that’s making the grass seem greener on the other side.
  4. Continue to count your blessings. Find things to be grateful for. Purposefully force yourself to see the good that exists all around you. Document—yes, physically write down—what is good with the world around you. Volunteer your time and money for something you’re really passionate about and then see both the need of people around you and the beauty of committed people trying to make things right. Continue to live your life to the fullest and stop pulling up the handbrake whilst you wait for perfection to reveal itself. It won’t.
  5. Be the example we so desperately need. You are already a leader in your sphere of influence. That leadership position comes with responsibility. People already look up to you and take guidance from you, your emotions, interactions and reactions. Be the leader you so desperately believe South Africa needs. Don’t worry about the top leadership and start doing your bit where you are. That way, we get more leadership examples permeating society and collectively bring about change.
  6. Rinse and repeat. Remind yourself of your commitment under point 1 and then repeat all the steps. Just like your shampoo, don’t forget this critical step. I love Zig Ziglar’s quote that’s very relevant here: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” Daily motivation. Daily reminders. Daily focus.
  7. Go! If all else fails, and you just can’t be part of the solution for South Africa, then rather go. We need to know who we’ve got to work with and cannot continue to carry those who aren’t with us. Too many people spend their lives looking in the rear-view mirror, the side mirrors and even daydreaming about the fantasy of the destination, and they forget to look where they’re going. Remember to look where you’re going and spend the bulk of your time looking through the windscreen. We need you to get going: either towards your ideal future for South Africa or to start again where you believe it may be better for you and your family. Either way, get going.

South Africa has only one real problem and that’s unemployment. Give people a job and you give them choice. With choice, they solve their own problems and work towards improving their own lives. To create employment, we, again, only have one real solution: more entrepreneurs and more successful, profitable and sustainable businesses. So get an ActionCOACH and get your business right today. 

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