South Africa – You Inspire Me!

On 13th Jan 2015 I returned from a 10 day trip to India. The very next day I began a whirlwind tour of South Africa which has been both amazing and inspiring. I have meandered through Meyerton, paused in Piet Retief, kuiered in Klerksdorp, dived into Durbanville, been busy in Bellville, blazed through Bloemfontein, marvelled at Melrose Arch, made magic in the Magaliesberg, unlocked ideas in Irene, felt nurtured in Naboomspruit, played in Port Elizabeth, sweated in Somerset West and ‘swanked’ in Sandton.

Along the way, I have had the honour of meeting and working with a bunch of hugely diverse and inspiring South Africans, who work for a variety of organisations, providing a wide range of very different and interesting products and services.

I have worked with old and young, male and female, every skin tone, religion, language and creed. I have worked with company heads, divisional directors, team leaders and team members, sales people, managers and operational ouens.

And it finally struck me – South Africa as an integrated society is actually working – AT WORK. Every day I am privileged to see the regular people of this great country doing their thing. Trying hard to be better – working to make it work. Making incremental and measurable improvements in their performance, productivity and profitability. They do this because it is the only logical choice – the competition is growing, times are tough and now is the time to make shift happen.

I see people of all ages, colours, shapes and sizes rolling up their sleeves and working TOGETHER. I watch them communicating, connecting, teasing, joking, laughing, solving problems, ball-aching, brainstorming ideas and changing their deep seated beliefs. And I am inspired!

These groups of diverse people have shown me WHY we are going to be OK as a country. They have made me realise that, despite the horror movies of – politics, Nkandla, Eskom, xenophobia, crime, unemployment and corruption – despite all of that frustrating and concerning reality, I still have reason to feel positive. There is ANOTHER REALITY, another movie to watch.

It is clear to me that each of us makes a difference, every day, by being the best that we can be. We get on with it, with each other, despite the challenges. We work together, to make it work. At work. After work it is a different story. Many of us still retreat back into our social laagers, feeling safe in our (dis)comfort zones. But this too will change in time – our kids are already mixing it up at school, in sports and socially.

It’s so easy to be caught up in all the things going wrong in our country. To be sucked into a negative vortex of depression about what is going wrong and where we are headed. It happens to me now and then. But then I work with another amazing team, at another beautiful venue, in another spectacular part of our country, with another group of talented people doing incredibly good work. TOGETHER! And I am inspired once again by what I SEE happening. The REALITY, in that moment, is brighter than the last news report, the latest drama playing itself out in the mass media. And I am privileged to have many of those magic moments, with many magic mense, who continue to amaze me.

Are YOU able to find these magic moments in your life / work environment? Moments of interpersonal connection, participation and integration, beyond colour, race, religion or creed? Moments which inspire you to feel positive about our people, our country and our future? Moments of kindness, caring, compassion, generosity, support or teamwork? Flickers of hope on the screen of our collective psyche?

If you do, please could you share your stories with each other that we can continue to stay positive and believe in ourselves based upon sharing our actual positive experiences rather than the widely circulated negative stories.

Let’s continue to share and create a better future together – because we can!