I come from Eldorado Park. I have made it to the place in my life where I am proudly from Eldos as opposed to being Proudly Eldos. Its the neighbourhood Im from not my primary identity. I have seen my friends and family struggling to not over identify with Eldos. Losing the struggle and settling to give up on their efforts towards their dreams. The fear of being without community, identity and being judged by that community ensuring they stay small enough to continue to fit in.
How can you be big enough to withstand the rejection of your cimmunity while you still claim their identity? What does it take to live into your dreams, if they are indeed bigger than Eldos?
The best way I can describe it is by saying: “Be AWEH!”
This means being:
ABLE, WILLING, EQUIPPED with HEART.
Being ABLE, is about knowing yourself. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses and constantly working your blindspots. Working your blindspots means striving to know what others know about you, being aware of what you hide from others (don’t hide it from yourself as well) and work to know what you don’t know, consistently. This will ensure that you do not have the dream to be a Grammy winner when you are tone deaf, play no instrument and don’t write lyrics.
Living into your dreams means knowing your ABILITIES.
Then you have to WILLING to turn your ability into your fortune. You need to put in your 10 000 hours to turn your ABILITY into excellence. You have to be willing to put the work in even if your ability/talent is not “sexy”, “popular” and it not going to make you famous, particularly in this era where it seems we are all driven to want some sort of fame/notoriety. The “selfie” being a prime example of this. Taking various pictures of yourself but not delving deeper than the picture.
My abilities definitely don’t fall into the “sexy and popular” categories. My talents are to Care, to Communicate, to Mediate, to Innovate, to Drive. My talents often annoy and frustrate others particularly because I am a “woman” and I am “black”. I am not afraid to stand in my power, my status, my rank and my excellence and my failure.
I have been willing to be this annoying, frustrating person.
I found helpful metaphors for who I am and allowed myself to practise my abilities which are now my most marketable skills. Calling myself “an acquired taste” assisted in allowing me to become EQUIPPED for utilising my abilities to live into my dreams. My dream by no means articulates excellence in the way that you understand it. But it articulates excellence for me and my life. I have not shied away from conversations of “race”, not knowing that I would have lighted skinned children. Acknowledging my femininity and choosing to be feminist, has helped me become a strong, black, Female Social Innovator/business owner.
These are just two examples of my non sexy talents that are my excellence and I do these with “Heart”. Being a mom is something that I worked on. When I was in university and the others students asked me what I wanted to be, I always said “mother” first, much to their disgust. I instinctively knew that I needed to master excellence in myself to be in this role. I have taken on various challenges that have equipped me for this role, in which I continue to work on my 10 000 hours.
Equipping myself on the job to be a business owner has been one of my greatest challenges. I have yet a way to go to clock my hours. I started my first business in 1999, with only my talents and I was successful. I earned good money and did work that utilised my talents in line with my values and principles. My second iteration in business was contrary to my heart. Being a consultant employed for great money and quick fixes did not hold my heart and I did not succeed at this business. I am not saying that I did not make money. I was actually financially very successful, but I was betraying myself.
My third iteration combines my abilities, harnesses my willingness to becoming excellent, allows me to equip myself every day and holds my hearts’ intention for the work I want to do in this lifetime.
Fairexchange Pty and Trust is an iteration of my AWEHness.
I am proud to be from Eldos and some of Eldos is proud to claim me, but I do not fit in. I am living outside of my comfort zone and my comfort zone is no longer a comfort to me. This is the biggest risk. You have to be able, willing, equiped with heart to Being an outsider, because most of the time your dreams catapult from where you are to where you have yearned to be.
Living with my whole heart, makes my life excellent. What will your AWEHness bring into your life?
Shap and Aweh!