I’m an entrepreneur, at work

I sat at my desk last week a different person to the one I was just a few months ago. Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach and felt like I was tiptoeing on clouds ready to leap off a cliff at the same time.

KK and I have successfully started our own small business. We are officially entrepreneurs!

No one around me noticed the change (or perhaps panic in my face). People are busy and there’s very little time nowadays for anyone to stop and check-in on one another. It’s a pity because I’m not the only one standing at the edge of that cliff.

As I gazed around the desks, it dawned on me that I would not be where I am today had it not been for many of my colleagues. Their support, friendship and lessons over the years has grown me into the person I am today.

Pulling this off would also not have been possible without all the skills I had picked up during my 15 years of service at Standard Bank.

  • I’ve learnt the power of networking. Of relationship-building.
  • I understand the brand and how important it is to be true to what it is I’m selling.
  • I know how to assess the market & be aware of my competitors.
  • I’ve picked up key skills such as negotiation and buy-in.
  • I guess what excites me the most is the social media and engagement with potential customers.
  • I’ve also been taught that while the good times come, so do the bad and that it’s only by putting hard work into something that you see success.
  • Most of all, I’ve learnt patience. Things happen when the time is right.

    The view from the 4th floor of my office. Development is happening all around me.

As the bank grows, so do I. The courses I go on, the people I interact with. All of it adds to moulding me into a cleverer thinker, to be more strategic and constantly have a business-like mindset to every decision I make.

The more I grow at work, the more my business benefits. And because I’m eager to make a success out of both, the more effort I put in.

It’s a win win situation.

Have you lost your hum?

If you’ve sacrificed doing something lately which brings you joy because you’re busy at work, you’re not alone. It’s how we’ve become. For most people, it’s a way of life. Their norm. The more technology takes over our lives, it frees us up with more time to fill. It’s unfortunate that we fill this extra time with cramming in more work.

A few weeks ago, I watched Shonda Rhimes’ TEDTalk. It got me thinking… What was my hum? What brought me real joy?

I thought about all the times I had skipped running after work because I had emails to get through. Or Sunday afternoon naps I had missed because of an important presentation. Or declining lunch invitations with friends because I had so much to get through.

At the end of May, I signed up with a new running coach. My training program has meant trying something new – less mileage but more consistency. In winter, that has seen me leaving the office early to get a run in while it’s still light & also finding an alternative running route closer to work.

In addition to that, I’m considering buying a small business. The homework and research around what this would mean has been all consuming.  It frightens and excites me.

Not wanting to fail at either of these has meant relooking my day and my priorities. Having a vision means that you do look at things differently. Work has become just one part of my day. It means I’m thinking about something else other than work issues all the time. There’s a spark that has been reignited deep within me. It’s a hum.

If you watched Shonda’s talk, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the more time you make to play, the more focused you are at work.

The difference it has made in my life is astounding. I’m finding my hum. 

When something else other than work occupies your mind, you start to know what really matters. If work is all you have in your life, then it is time to reassess your priorities. You need to start playing. You work better when you play.

It could be playing with your kids, reading a book, spending time with friends or simply… going for a run. Find your hum.

It’s a choice, but it’s mine

I slept in late today. It was cold. It was drizzling and even though I had my running kit set out and ready to go, I chose to roll over and sleep. It was my choice.

Today was Mother’s Day. I’m 42 years old and don’t have any children. I made the decision years ago not to have kids. I believe that too is a choice. And it’s my choice. Not a lot of people understand that.

If you spent any time on social media today, you would have seen the flood of Mother’s Day messages. It’s truly awesome for all the moms out there. But I did see one or two posts about how tough it is for those that aren’t moms, or loved ones who have lost their moms.

I kinda lie low on days like these. My opinion about my choice of not having kids get more negative comments that positive ones. A lot of frowns and questions come my way. Not everyone thinks it’s a choice. Not everyone understands my choice. That’s okay. I have to live with it, not them. But the guilt trips always come.

Choosing not to run was my choice and I did have serious FOMO all day long. I knew that had I gone running, I would’ve felt fantastic and perhaps enjoyed that extra roast potato at my mom’s house a lot more. I also know that I enjoyed cuddling up in my warm bed.

There are pros and cons to every decision. I’ll run tomorrow. Happy Mother’s Day to all my wonderful friends who are mothers (including my awesome sister)! You guys inspire and amaze me. Running is hard, but not as hard as what you guys do each and every day. But I know, it’s also a lot more rewarding!

Thanks for the lunch mom, it was delicious! I love you!

Reflecting on this year’s Two Oceans race

It’s long overdue and regular readers of my blog might have noticed that I haven’t yet published my annual account of my Two Oceans half marathon race.

In previous blog posts, I’ve mostly bitched about the race and vowed (every time) never to return. It’s been a love hate relationship. However this year, everything fitted together like a puzzle and it turned out that I ran the race with very different eyes.

The race was a few days after a friend had let us know about the cancer moving to two parts of her brain. Her regular WhatsApp messages popped in and out of my thoughts sporadically & my mind flashed through what she was going through.

The night before the race, I had said to myself, how can I moan when I know how much Susan loves triathlons and swimming & would love to just get out there and run? So I didn’t moan and woke up on race morning looking forward to the race.

I started in race category D which kinda felt like I had golden circle tickets at a rock concert. It also meant less time waiting compared to category E and loads more room to stand in.

10 minutes before the race started, my mind flipped into panic mode. But instead, I thought, scared? Bron you don’t know what scared is. Susan is scared.

When it hurt near the 17kms mark and my legs were tired, I thought you don’t know what tired is. This is not pain. Not like what Susan is going through.

And when I wanted to quit, I remembered that quitting was not an option for her.
Finally, when I crossed that finish line, I said “this is for you Susan”. But somehow, the message was really for me. I had come through 21.1kms having learnt something quite humbling about myself.

two oceans half marathon medal and photoI moan about my running way to often. I criticize my pace and point out all my weaknesses. I blame the race, the race organizers and my training. It’s the backbone to my blog. But I need to stop. I am a runner and incredibly grateful to be able to cross those finishing lines at road races.

I am good enough. My body is good enough! There are so many people out there who don’t have the opportunities or the health that I have to be able to run. So from now on, every time I don’t feel like running, I’ll think of those that wish they could. I’ll think of Susan. Because what she made me realize, that every time I put my running shoes on, I need to be grateful that I am able to run. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast or even how far. We seem to forget that.