UMP WOMEN’S BREAKFAST
24 AUGUST 2015
Thank you, Programme Director, Good morning ladies, Molweni Manenekazi.
It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to get this opportunity to address you this morning as part of the Women’s month celebrations. As I was reflecting on what to share with you this morning, I decided to focus on excellence. As you may be aware, excellence is one of our value as UMP.
Kluckhon & Murray, two world renowned Social Psychologists, once observed that each one of us, is like all other persons, like some other persons, like no other person. Each one of us is therefore unique. However, the point, I would like to drive home tonight is this: each one of us, within our own uniqueness, can raise the bar, and make sure that they excel. Excellence requires effort. It is not a cut and paste exercise.
Deepak Chopra reminds us that:
‘’If you focus on success, you will have stress. But if you pursue excellence, success will be guaranteed’’.
The aim therefore, should be to pursue excellence, and the rest will fall into place. To raise the standard, and to realise that the biggest room there is, is the room for improvement for all of us.
The trap of mediocrity abounds. There are too many people in the sea of mediocrity. To get away from the crowd therefore, individuals who excel, have to consciously, create a pool of excellence around themselves. They need to be the kind of people who are always willing to walk or run the extra mile. Like one observer remarked,’’there is no crowd at the extra mile ‘’.
None other than the great Philosopher, Aristotle reminds us that:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit”.
Dreams are important, because they allow us to embark on a serious journey, in pursuit of those dreams.
Also having a word of advice is Pat Mesiti, the Australian writer who wrote a book entitled: ‘’ Dreamers never sleep’’. Arguing therein that when you have a dream to pursue, you work endlessly, and never sleep.
Without a dream, we may struggle to see potential in ourselves because we don’t look beyond our current circumstances. But with a dream, we begin to see ourselves in a new light, as having greater potential and being capable of stretching and growing to reach it.
The African – American poet Langstone Hughes wrote a short, yet deep poem, about the folly of not fulfilling our dreams.
The title of his poem is: “A Dream Deferred”.
“what happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
A then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load
Or does it explode”?
The foregoing poem captures the essence of the pain of not following ones dreams. Dreams need to be carried out, and not deferred. Hard work, tenacity of purpose, resilience and a never say die spirit are what is required of us as women, in order that we may succeed.
Paulo Coelho, the author of that seminal book, the Alchemist, reminds us that:
“The secret of life though, is to fall seven times, and to get up eight times”.
Commitment is about rising above all odds.
Excellence requires an understanding that to attain anything of note, there must be preparedness to sacrifice. There should be an understanding that delayed gratification is important. Thinking how good it would feel, when the objectives have been attained, and the aim fulfilled.
Do persevere in everything you do. Nothing worthwhile is easy and no single achievement has avoided failure. We all learn from our mistakes. Making a mark in the world is hard. It takes patience, commitment and comes with plenty of setbacks and opportunities.
Things will not always be smooth. Those who succeed understand the fundamental truth that they should keep on moving on. When the going gets tough, the tough must keep on going. After every setback, there should be a concerted effort to come back. Stumbling blocks must be converted into building blocks. Bitter lemons turned into lemonade.
Keys to success
The following five thoughts are what I would like you to take away and ponder, more than ponder, apply in your daily lives, as you get out of the sea of mediocrity, and enter the pool of excellence:
The law of favourability
Paulo Coelho, in the Alchemist, explains the law of favourability thus: “When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it”.
Orison Swett Marden (Quoted by Tony Robbins).
Your words become your thoughts, your thoughts lead to your decisions, and your decisions lead to actions, actions lead to habits, habits result in character, and character leads to destiny.
Therefore, if you want to change your destiny, change the way you think. Change your thoughts ,in order to change your decisions, change your decisions in order to change your actions, change your actions in order to change your habits, change your habits in order to change your character, and change your character, in order to change your destiny.
Commitment is the driving force towards excellence. To work consistently and tirelessly at something, you need to be committed.
Commitment is about putting your heart, mind and soul into it. It (commitment) is pursuing your goal relentlessly.
The biggest challenge we often have as humans is to implement. We have great intentions. But these remain just that: intentions. Unsung songs, unwritten poems, incomplete business plans, visions never followed. We keep on postponing as humans, forgetting that life is short. More importantly, we become oblivious to the fact that the life we have is the real thing, it is not a dress rehearsal.
To excel therefore, you need to master what Bossidy (2007) calls ‘’ the art of execution’’.
The reward for something well done, is to have done it!!!!
Alan Deutschman, in his provocative book: ‘’ Change or die ‘’avers that ….’’ If you want to change your life, change your life".
Take a decision, and carry it out.
The ten most important Q’s
There is research evidence emerging, suggesting that to be effective humans we need many forms of intelligence. The following being key:
1. IQ (Intelligence Quotient): The ability to think rationally, to act purposefully, and to deal
effectively with our environment. This is the genetic ability that we bring and have inherited
2. EQ (Emotional intelligence): This is the measure of our Psychological maturity. Our self -awareness the ability to understand our emotions, and those of others. And taking control of these emotions. This is what gives us confidence and keep us motivated. It also makes us take personal accountability.
3. SQ (Social intelligence): Social intelligence is a measure of our social maturity. The level of awareness we have of the impact we have on others. How comfortable we feel in a group, and how we manage others. This is what gives us our interpersonal skills
4. MQ (Moral intelligence): This informs the decisions we take, when no one else is looking. It speaks to integrity and accountability
5. BQ (Body Intelligence): How we treat our bodies, and not allowing ourselves to dig our graves with our teeth. Eating well, exercising, handling anxiety, and sleeping optimally. Everything should be done in moderation.
6. FQ (Financial Intelligence): Making judicious choices in spending money, and investing wisely for the future.
7. PQ (Political Intelligence): Understanding the balance of power, and how to use to your advantage. To this day, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
8. STrat Q (Strategic intelligence): Taking decisions that take into account, the uncertainty of our times, and the ever-changing and dynamic environment. Realising that change is the only constant.
9. Spiritual Intelligence: Believing in a Supreme being; God for Christians, the Prophet Mohammed for Muslims, Buddha for Buddhists.
Recognising the need to believe, and draw sustenance from a higher power is key, for human functioning.
10. CQ (Cultural intelligence). The world has become one village. It is therefore important to have the capability to function effectively across a variety of cultural contexts. And capable of managing diversity in the workplace. Diversity is more than race and gender.
It includes religion, sexual orientation, the generation gap, urban/rural, ability/ disability, economic disparities etc
Although as humans, we can never be perfect and complete, it is absolutely imperative to gain mastery over these ten Q’s (Cues).
When we master these, we tend to be the best we were ever destined to be.
Let me close by encouraging you to have high expectations of yourselves. When you do that, others start having high expectations of you and this is how you will succeed in the workplace.