OPINION | Your thoughts set the path to success writes Catherine Wijnberg

I had such fun this week meeting 60 dynamite entrepreneurs who are all keen to join our flagship Fetola accelerator, the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme. It gets more exciting every year to see the rising quality and the potential of these entrepreneurs, who come from every province and across a wide range of industries from agriculture to waste management, and traditional medicine to swim training. The dots that connect them are their passion and commitment, and the potential to build a business that brings a sense of personal fulfilment and makes a difference to their family and the business community that they generate.

My own task in these workshops is the personal transformation and leadership slot. To spark a change in thinking – from the traditional ‘schoolroom’ linear thinking, whereby the expectation is that a business follows a regular step by step rulebook, to the understanding that a more dynamic, agile mindset is needed if we are to build a competitive business that meets today’s changing market needs.

The picture in my mind is that the best of today’s business thinking is closer to that of a rotating gyroscope moving in 360 degrees rather than plodding along a straight and simple pathway.

Simply put, in a world which is changing faster than ever and in so many different directions – to succeed, our thinking needs to follow suit.

Using myself as a guinea pig I can see that one of the turning points in my own change of thinking from being a follower to becoming a leader was when I turned inward to ask myself the question ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’. Not an easy question to answer, but we can do this by carefully investigating our goals and intentions in life. This can be broken down into seven areas of life: work, finance, family, friends, learning, spiritual and physical. By stopping to set goals in each of these seven areas we become more aware of our natural strengths and weaknesses.

In this way we build the self-awareness we need to craft a single life purpose statement or ‘life mission’ which answers that thorny question ‘why am I here?’.

All this might seem to be a bit idealistic, but I find it helps to understand who I am, where my unique talents and abilities lie and in so doing, gives me the confidence to go out and make it happen.

Almost fifteen years after I first starting teaching this exercise, I still use it to reset my own energy and check alignment – at least once a year and during times of confusion, even more so.

Knowing what is important to you, where your strengths and priorities sit is a crucial first step to a happy and fulfilled life. It is the cornerstone of powerful leadership and business success.

Having helped another 60 entrepreneurs move towards this greater understanding I’m really excited to see their futures unfold – and to follow their progress over the next decade, as they build their business.

By Catherine Wijnberg

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