MBOMBELA - To be successful in business you must never stop learning. Well-known businesswoman Ms Thuli Mashaba says she still undergoes business coaching, despite the success she has already achieved in the fields of construction, investing and entrepreneurship.

As part of the Lowveld Big Change mentorship programme, Mashaba recently had the opportunity to turn the tables, and mentor Ms Phephsile Maseko. The advice, which she also shares with Lowvelder readers this week, centres around constantly being willing and open to learn from others.

“Don’t project a know-it-all attitude. To be successful you often need somebody else’s perspective. Now I believe in coaching. If you have failed, sit down and be taught.”

Mashaba’s 10 must-do’s to achieve success:

1)      Anchor yourself in God

It is important to draw strength from somewhere.

“The only place you can draw strength from is God,” she says. “Business is tough and so you need something to comfort you, something that will give you endurance, tenacity, persistence and perseverance.”

She says putting het foundation in God has really assisted her. “That it where I find the shock absorbers to allow me to focus on where I am going.  You need somewhere where you plug in an recharge.”

2)      Develop emotional intelligence

Without emotional intelligence, you can allow personal issues to affect your worklife. Don’t do it.

“Sometimes it happens that things are not going well. We are women, we have a lot of things to deal with and we are emotional beings.

“But you cannot destroy everything that is going well about one element that is not right. You need to be able to separate yourself from things.”

For instance, if things are not going well at home, that is no reason to miss an appointment or destroy a working relationship.

3)      Isolate your senses

Tying is with keeping your feelings separate from work, is not getting bogged down by what you think you are now.

“If you are not feeling something, you can begin to doubt whether you are doing the right thing. When I first started the coaching sessions with Etienne (Pretorious, Lowveld Big Change founder), I was really feeling down and didn’t believe in myself.

“I had a revelation about isolating your senses: Don’t go by what you see, what you feel or what people say or other negative things: just allow the process to unfold especially regarding being coached.

“To be successful you need somebody else’s perspective. Now I believe in coaching. If you have failed, sit down and be taught. Be a student every day of your life and in the end you will see the results.”

4)      Be honest

Sometimes you don’t need many things, you just need a good name, Mashaba says.

Be honest especially in partnerships and with associates and wherever you need assistance. Be considerate to concerns raised.

5)      Make short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits

Learn to make a sacrifice in the short-term to reap the benefits in the long-term.  Acknowledge where you are – next time you’ll be elsewhere and able to claim a bigger stake in something.

“Always be conscious of where you want to go and where you see yourself irrespective of you present circumstances. This will enable you to make sacrifices now, you can buy the convertible later.

“A situation may seem unfair to you now, but always think ahead. Don’t’ focus on current circumstances. Look at a scenario futuristically, learn to see benefits in the future.”

6)      Good partners

Make sure you have good partners. “It is very difficult to be successful on your own,” Mashaba says. “I have had partners before who were only concerned about themselves, not my well-being or my progress.

“Having good partners enables you to grow. It is important that they are also committed to making short-term sacrifices.”

Aside from financial benefits, good partners also offer emotional support – they share the stresses and fears and risks of the business.

They can also offer convenience: “Construction sites are not nice places for a woman – if you have good partners they can stand in for you on sites.”

7)      Have a teachable sprit

“Wherever you go, be patient, even when someone talks a bit of nonsense. Ask questions, be calm and open to any ideas.

“Never take any encounter for granted. Know that it is a lesson. Even if you learn something you already know, there is a reason it is coming up for a second time. Appreciate what you are being taught.”

8)      Be accountable

A great leader is a person who is able to account to somebody else, says Mashaba who closely monitors what money she spends and how she spends her time.

“I can always account, I always know where I’ve messed up. Also be strict with your time. Once I see it is lunchtime I ask myself whether I am happy with myself and what I’ve done that day so far.”

She is very disciplined, scheduling time for Facebook and TV in the evenings in line with her time to unwind and relax.

9)      Invest in yourself by getting a coach/incubation programme

Investing in yourself by getting a business coach is really important because it boosts the confidence of you investors clients in you.

“It tells them that you take yourself seriously. People are surprised that I still have a business coach. But I take myself seriously and I want them to take me as seriously.

“It lets them know that you are going to operate professionally and efficiently because you have someone you account to. It has done wonders for me.”

10)   Remain humble

Never think you are important or deserving. Never throw a tantrum when you don’t get seated at the best table. Eventually someone will realise the mistake and it’ll raise your esteem for being professional about it.

“Don’t talk about yourself, somebody else will talk about you. When you interact with people, listen to them - make the conversation about them, not about you.

But be punctual. “Late coming does not make you look good, it projects you otherwise and tampers with your confidence, it disempowers you to talk with authority,” Mashaba concluded.

[original online article]

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