Becoming A Woman Of Worth

What really matters to you?

I’m talking about the thing that keeps you up at night and gets you out of bed in the morning. It’s your drive, your motivation, your passion. It’s what you’re pouring out all your blood, sweat and tears for. Maybe it’s one thing, maybe many things, maybe you don’t know.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that matters to me.” Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs ran Apple and grew it into a company that was hugely profitable. Way more profitable than its competitor Microsoft which was led by Bill Gates. At his death Steve Jobs was worth about US$7 billion. Bill Gates? At the time, his net worth was almost US$70 billion. Gates led the less commercially successful company and yet was worth 10 times more.

How is that even possible?

Jobs’ stake in Apple was significantly smaller than Gates’ share in Microsoft so he earned significantly less from the company that he ran. Whether you think this was wise or foolish on his part, what’s clear is that Jobs wasn’t in it for the money. He meant it when he said that being the richest man in the cemetery didn’t matter.

We’re all chasing something and for many of us that one thing is money. It’s the thing that keeps us up at night and gets us out of bed in the morning. It’s our drive, our motivation, our passion. The passion is more potent if you know what poverty is. Being poor is your biggest fear because you know what it’s like to do without things.

I’ll ask you again, what really matters to you?

“I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made gardens and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them… I also amassed silver and gold for myself and the treasure of kings… When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had laboured to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of wind.” Ecclesiastes 2: 4,5,11

Money is necessary, it buys you stuff. Money is powerful, it opens doors. Money is helpful; it helps you to do good for other people. There’s nothing wrong with your desire to have a little money or a lot of it. There’s nothing wrong with working hard to own houses, cars and companies. In fact, wealth is a just reward for honest work and financial wisdom (Proverbs 13:11).

The problem with money is this: it is temporary, it doesn’t last. I walked through the cemetery last week and I was reminded of what an equaliser death is. Even the richest person in the world leaves her wealth behind, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” (Job 1:21) If money is the one thing that keeps you up at night and gets you out of bed in the morning; if it’s what you’re living for then your life is meaningless and all your work will come to nothing.

“Don’t weary yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.” Proverbs 23: 5

A woman of worth is someone who understands this. She doesn’t measure her value or the value of others in money terms. She may have stores of silver and gold but the real treasure is her heart. Everything begins and ends with the heart. A meaningful life, a full life, a satisfied life, flows out of a satisfied heart.

Your turn

What does being a woman of worth mean in real terms?

Honey love
Shulaxoxo


What If I Fail?

There is only one thing that I hate more than failing, and that is failing twice. It happened to me. I took two driving tests one day after the other and FAILED, missed their 88% pass mark by a few percentage points. Twice.

From a very young age we are taught to reject failure, it is something to be avoided at all costs. During your school years, your teachers drilled it into you: you absolutely cannot fail. If you fail in school, you will fail in life, you cannot fail in life!

And many of us go through life haunted by the question, What if I fail? We live in fear of the consequences of failure, the shame of having to explain ourselves to people.

Here is the thing, failure is inevitable; ‘little’ failures like failing a driving test and significant ones that will have you questioning your purpose in life. Sometimes failure is your fault, other times it is someone else’s, and often it is just a weird combination of circumstances that you cannot explain.

So change your “… if I fail?” to “… when I fail” because if it has not happened yet, failure will happen to you! Given its inevitability, when failure happens we only have two choices: use it or lose it.

Using It.

Google has a secret lab (Google X) where they pay their people to identify a problem and find a crazy solution to it, all in the name of innovation and making the world a better place. The crazier your idea is the better, and even if your idea bombs horribly, you still get rewarded. Here is why:

“You must reward people for failing, [Teller] says, If not, they won’t take risks and make breakthroughs. If you don’t reward failure, people will hang on to a doomed idea for fear of the consequences.” [1]

Why does Google take this stance? Paradoxically, by rewarding failure they are actually encouraging excellence. Google is not just looking for good ideas, they want out of this world solutions. And they understand that this is only possible in an environment where the fear of failure is removed. The failures encountered are little steps in the path towards huge breakthrough.

Google gets it! What they are doing at Google X is using failure as an opportunity for learning because the truth is that failing will teach you more than winning ever will, if you let it.

Losing it.

Failing sucks! And the first thing that we are all tempted to do when we fail is to give up completely. Discouragement, frustration and disappointment have us in a chokehold. All the negative emotions can have you losing it, feeling stuck and crippled. Here is what Nick Vujicic, author of Life Without Limits has to say about that,

“It’s perfectly normal and probably healthy to go through stages of anger and sadness, but at some point we all have to say: “I’m still here. Do I want to spend the rest of my life in misery or do I rise above what has happened and pursue my dreams?”” [2]

This, from a guy who was born without arms and legs but is an international public speaker and author. What is your dream? An Oscar, a Pulitzer, a Nobel or Best Mom in the Galaxy award? If your dream does not make you ask What if I fail? then it is probably too small.

Make your dream ridiculous and when you fail, remember: it does not matter how many times you fail or fall, what matters is that you get back up again!

Your turn:

In what area in your life have you failed – personally, academically, professionally?

What have you learned from that experience? What would you do better? What did you do right?

I love hearing from you guys so please hit me up!

Honey love
Shula xoxo

Notes ::
[1] D Grossman “Secret lab ‘rewards failure”  available at: http://m.bbc.com/news/technology-25880738

[2] N Vujicic Life Without Limits: inspiration for living a ridiculously good life (2010) at 93.

Run Your Race

image

Life is like a race but most of the time it feels more like a marathon than a sprint. Our lives begin and then they end, we do not have a choice in that. But we can decide how to run the race. What is your strategy for winning in the long run?

I like to learn from those before me, from their failures and successes. There is so much wisdom to be gained from listening to those have been there and done that, people whose success speaks for itself, like Oprah. In one of her Oprah’s Masterclass interviews she said something that I thought was significant:

“Don’t waste your time in the race looking back to see where the other guy is or what the other guy is doing. It’s not about the other guy. It’s about what you can do. You just need to run that race as hard as you can.”

You just need to run that race as hard as you can.

Oprah goes on to relate how, in all the years that her talk show was running, over 100 other new talk shows came on air. They came and went and Oprah’s team never lost focus, they ran their race. But exactly how can we translate these powerful words into action? How do we apply it to our lives?

1. Train hard. This is the hardest part. And the most important. Athletes know that the race is not decided on race day but on training day. Training is the foundational phase. This is where you discover your strengths and weaknesses. If you want to pursue a career in the financial sector, for example, one part of your training may be getting a degree in accountancy, and then articles. Your training phase is where you gain the basic skills that you need to run your race well.

2. Run for the finish line. There are no prizes for those who make it to the starting line, or even those who make it halfway through. The prize is at the finish line. Keep your eye on the prize and take your eye off everything else. Do not worry about what everyone else is doing, focus on what you have been called to do. Stop comparing yourself to those around you, remember this is your race, not theirs.

3. Run to win. Why bother running if you are not going to run to win? Imagine this: an athlete has spent years being groomed and trained for the Olympics. The year is 2016 in Rio and it is seconds before her big race. What do you think she should be thinking? What about: “You know, I’m okay with coming last. I’m just happy to be here.” That kind of thinking is not only ridiculous but it pretty much guarantees that you will lose.

Train hard, run for the finish line and run to win- all these only mean something if you are running the greater, something more than yourself. 1 Corinthians 9:24 teaches us that

“Now everyone who competes exercises self control in everything. However, they do it to receive an perishable crown, we do it to receive an imperishable one.”

When the degrees are obtained, the awards won and the goals are achieved, what matters is how disciplined you were in following Christ’s mission, not your own.

Your turn:

Starting today, do you commit to running your own race?

Honey love
Shula xoxo

Do you have an unhealthy relationship with food?

image

We talk a lot about relationships on Mukoko and those are by far the most popular posts with the blog readers. Along those lines, the question today is: Do you have a healthy / unhealthy relationship with food?

I generally dislike having conversations about diet, food choices and weight loss. I get really self-conscious when someone says something like “Are you going to have another biscuit?”, I don’t have to look at them to know that they have a disapproving expression on their face. December turns out to be one of my favourite and least favourite times of the year. You know the drill, mother takes you visiting and the relatives have a go at you:

“Ah, sidlula! Udlani sweety, ifatiliza?” // “Ah, fatty! What are you eating sweety, fertiliser?”

“Heh, are you competing with your mom? Well, you’re doing well!”
*high five* *guffaw*

I have mastered the art of the awkward silence when they ask those questions and my mom’s always at hand to step in and change the subject.

It’s complicated.

Not every woman has an unhealthy relationship with food but many of us do. Which one of these Miley Cyrus songs describes your relationship with food?:

1. Wrecking ball.
On a typical day, I eat normal portions of food but when a craving hits me, I’m in that kitchen like a wrecking ball.”

Sometimes the craving hits because you are in genuine need of some kind of nutrient in your body (like whatever nutrient Coca Cola has) but a lot of the time it is just because you are feeling bored, sad, stressed or food is your procrastination tool! I have a friend who admitted that when she is stressed, particularly during exam season, she struggles to regulate what she is eating and how much and she is too lazy to go to the gym. To make matters worse the pressure of work often means that she is up really late, which makes her a midnight snacker.

2. We can’t stop.
“I hate to see food go to waste, once I’m on a roll, I can’t stop! I can’t help but think of all those starving kids in Africa so I eat everything given to me.”

This is the classic line that a good friend dished out to me (have you noticed how it is always a friend and not me??). Your restaurant of choice is whichever one has the all-you-can-eat special. You heart breaks when you see food thrown out. You are called the “garbage can” because every leftover comes to you.

3. Party in the USA.
“I’ve lost my appetite hey, at a party in the USA.”

Okay, so maybe that song has nothing to do with this kind of eater, my bad! PIUSAs are better described as non-eaters because, given a choice, they would be more than happy living off water and oxygen. I have friends that don’t particularly like eating and they consider food a necessary evil. Their meals are quick and bland and a non-event!

4. Fly on the wall.

Just that image has put me off talking about food altogether. Eew.

The healthy choice.

Sometimes the choices you make about food say a lot about what is happening in your heart. Other times they do not. It is good not to over-think things but it is  good to be introspective. Whereas over-spiritualising your food issues is unhealthy, it is very healthy to ask yourself the question: Do I have an healthy or an unhealthy relationship with food?

“Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. But there’s far more to life for us… We’re waiting for the arrival of the Master Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthly bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be under and around him. Philipians 4: 19,21

Your turn:

What does your relationship status with food have to do with being a successful woman? For some of us, it is evidence of an underlying issue. Many women who overeat struggle to process their emotions and stuff down food like they stuff down their anger or sadness. Some women hate their bodies and feel driven to gain or lose weight. Still, some of us are too lazy or undisciplined to watch what we are eating.

All those things: low emotional intelligence; an unhealthy self image and the lack of discipline, will hinder your success in life. But it does not have to be that way.

If you think that you may have a heart issue underlying your food issue, the next questions to answer are:

Do you allow your appetites to run your life?

Have you brought the underlying issue to Christ and sought help from a qualified person about it?

I enjoy your comments so much, keep them coming!

Honey love,

Shula xoxo

beycoming successful:: a word to unbeylievers

image
image Author: Asterio Tecson. Creative Commons. Flickr.com

“You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.”

If you have not already heard, Beyoncé released an album a few days ago and the entire world has been buzzing about it. I will not spoil the fun for you and will let you read about what all the fuss is about.

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I have been obsessed very much fond of Beyoncé since she came out with Destiny’s Child. There was just something that Kelly, LaTavia and LaToya and then Michelle did not have. And it was not just that she hogged the attention, she had the ‘X-factor’ that made you stop and notice. You know what I’m talking about – yes, even the haters.

Beyoncé is a maverick.

Whether you love her, hate her, or are indifferent to her, you must realise this : the woman is a legend in the making. And if you read Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world you will see that she ranks 17th out of 100 influential women (in terms of money, media presence and impact). Ranking below her is Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the US House of Representatives, Presidents, Prime Ministers and CEOs of major oil and IT companies.

Beyoncé is a powerhouse.

She also has a fan club that is (sasha) fiercely devoted to her, the behaviour of her fans at her live performances is reminiscent of the kind of rapturous chaos that we saw at Michael Jackson’s shows. It is both fascinating and disturbing.

Beyoncé is a religion.

And although Beyoncé is one of my go-to people when I need inspiration, there are some things that I cannot go to her for, like:

Salvation. Contrary to what you may have been made to believe, Beyoncé can inspire hearts but cannot change them for good or save people from themselves.

Advice on how to keep friends. Remember Latoya and LaTavia? Enough said.

Natural hair maintenance tips. I’m picking my afro and she’s patting her weave.

But there some powerful lessons every woman can learn from Beyoncé, whether you are a beyliever or an unbeyliever. Beyoncé is no goddess, she is not a saint, but she has proved that she is no ordinary human either.

Beyoncé is phenomenal.

And here is what we can learn from her:

Talent may get you a room in the house but only hard work will earn you the title deed. I remember hearing a friend lament at how gifted and beautiful Beyoncé is and how her genes give her an unfair advantage in the business.

Sure, the woman is naturally gifted in her singing and in her looks, those are things she could not choose. But the truth is, there are thousands of exceptionally gifted and beautiful women who have not made it to the top. If you’re looking for them you’ll find them in Beyoncé’s crew of back up dancers and background vocalists. Beyoncé was not born writing Grammy award winning songs or performing jaw-dropping routines. From a very young age Beyoncé was performing and singing – at home, in talent shows at her mom’s hair salon. The Beyoncé we see today is not just post-Destiny’s Child, she’s the fruit of decades of vocal training, coaching, practice and grooming, of perfecting her art.

What I am not saying is that all you need is hard work to make it, there are many hardworking people out there who never got past the first audition. What I am saying is that giftedness is not enough.

Four things are striking to me when I look at Beyoncé’s career path, four things I have learned about how to be successful:

I. Success belongs to those who dare. Great risks give birth to great benefits. History belongs to those not content to just learn it but want to make it. Don’t wait for your dream to fall into your lap, go out and pursue it.

II. There is no virtue in shrinking yourself to make others feel secure around you. There is a false belief out there that those who hide their lamp under the bed are good, humble people. False humility makes you shrink back when you should be stepping up. True humility makes you bold because your ego and identity isn’t attached to your gifts.

I’m only sharing my two with you to make room for your lessons about success, please leave a comment below!

Beyoncé’s self titled album sold more than 600 000 in the US in three days. That is more than Lady Gaga and Katy Perry sold in one week. COMBINED.

Beyoncé has the same number of hours in a day as you do, what are you doing with yours?

Honey Love, Shula xoxo

To contact Shula email realmukoko@gmail.com.