Nontokozo Madonsela shares writes an opinion piece on how fear always has the potential to leave one paralysed and shares her thoughts on how to avoid this by regularly getting out of your comfort zone.
Joyce Meyer is one of the individuals that made me realise that I am bigger than I think I am and my definition of success is valid. I recognised very early that what brings me fulfilment when it comes to my work in the brand space is taking risks and disrupting the status quo, transforming brands, teams and businesses that have, in a way, lost their mojo. I consider that to be my superpower but it is not without fear lurking in the shadows because, as with most of us, I don’t have a crystal ball that can assure me of the outcomes I need and hope for.
The reality is that fear always has the potential to leave one paralysed. To avoid this, I have learned to embrace the idea of doing things afraid regularly by, amongst other things, doing all I can to mitigate whatever risks there may be with sound strategic thinking, true human truths and insights and input from those around me. The right advice carries a certain power that shifts something in the momentum of the receiver. Once the barriers to success are identified, the input received from my circle further assures me that I shouldn’t allow anything to stand in my way. This, of course, spurs me to continue pursuing my success.
Over a year after the world was disrupted at a level never seen before in modern times. The COVID-19 pandemic has, to a certain extent, torn at the fabric of our collective lives. Fears, insecurities and anxieties surfaced, owing to uncertainties the world faced. Its global challenges like this that can sometimes make it a little hard to see the gifts and talents that one is naturally born with. In the face of this, as we all have to, I have had to be extremely conscious and deliberate in managing the anxiety that comes with the uncertainty in all spheres of my life.
I have become careful when it comes to my state of mind and constantly sought ways to manage the narratives I allow to settle in my mental garden. One exercise that I have followed religiously is, each year, finding a word that sums up the year I hope, and intend, to have. A word that helps me find everyday moments that make me smile, breathe and be in gratitude.
For 2020, my word was ‘joy’. Reading up on what joy means and what I found is that joy is not superficial. Theopedia defines joy as “a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness… Joy isn’t just a smile or a laugh. Joy is something that is deep within and doesn’t leave quickly.”
Within this context, I have also been teaching myself to take everything one day at a time. I have mantras that I speak into my life and, as each day goes, I am filled with thankfulness for life and for love. This is especially important in both my professional and personal life. In my position as Group Marketing Officer at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings, the pressure to lead in the chaos has been a source of anxiety. Being empathetic and understanding is necessary in the work environment. As a representative of Momentum, I do have to be cognisant of the emotional, mental, and financial, etc., issues and challenges people are facing. As a light was shined for me to see myself above my fears, I do feel I need to draw out that potential to those around me that will create an unstoppable momentum.
My team needs me to be there for them and make confident decisions amidst the uncertainty. I have also had to be more aware of how my energy can transfer onto them, creating even greater anxiety for them, and for me. I have been more mindful of how I show up, including being vulnerable when I am not feeling on top of the world. I am human, after all, and it is important to be human in the workplace.
Personally, as a divorced mom of two boys, 15 and 9 years old, it has also been necessary to be deliberate in ensuring that whatever fears I may have are not rubbing off on them in a way that is to their detriment. It has been tricky to navigate, and making decisions on your own can be overwhelming. But I believe that children need to know how life works otherwise they will grow up seeing the pretty and perfect side of things, which is not always true. My boys know life can be hard sometimes. We have navigated the craziest storms together with the support of our extended family. As a result, they also know when I am not in a good space and give me their support, in their own unique ways, which I appreciate so much.
I try to teach them that we should not be ruled by fear and that faith, resilience and determination are tools to push through whatever fears may arise. This ties to my perspective of success, which is being happy with oneself and being healthy. I am so blessed to do what I love for a living. I am happy with that. I find that it is when passion and purpose converge that I feel most successful. That and seeing my children healthy and happy and being kind to themselves and others. Being paid for this life is the cherry on top.
All of this is what drives me. I love life and I am an eternal optimist. My faith keeps me moving and my pursuit for better keeps me moving. I can’t ask for much more.