BEING ALIVE TO NEW POSSIBILITIES. 

To say that the world is in bad shape, is an understatement. The global economy is in bad shape, the environment is in bad shape, politics is in bad shape, social cohesion is in bad shape, our collective moral fiber is in bad shape…… When you and me go through the media headlines on a daily basis, there are just too many instances of trust that has been betrayed, values that are expediently abandoned, exploitation and manipulation by very powerful people in our society. We are still recovering from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic ( touch wood..) that left a trail of destruction in its wake. The post- pandemic world is crying out for a fresh breed of leadership that can bring about a dispensation that is more humane, inclusive and give people a greater sense of meaning.

As I reflected on the state of affairs globally and locally, I was challenged by the writings of Howard Thurman, an African American legend; one of the intellectual giants that greatly shaped the thinking and agenda of the Civil Rights Movement. He at some stage served as spiritual adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Thurman once said  “ Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

WHAT MAKES YOU COME ALIVE?

If each one of us just rewind the journey of our life, I am sure we will all have a story to tell when in a moment of time, we were at our best; at the peak of our passion and highly effective. It invoked in us life-changing moments never to be repeated.

In my life there were quite a few such moments for example the birth of my first child and my first entrée into fatherhood, the 10 October 1982 when I quitted alcohol for good after years of excessive drinking, graduating at varsity, buying our first house, walking my daughter down the aisle at her wedding…. There are however two that stands out for me. The first one is when we started our country’s new democratic dispensation in 1994 and I was given the rare opportunity to serve as the first MEC of Finance in the North West Province. With the iconic Nelson Mandela at the helm of SA Inc.  made me come alive. Notwithstanding my own limitations at that time of not even understanding the difference between a debit and a credit when I was appointed in this powerful position, the mere thought of being part of co-creating a new order for our country, made me come alive. The opportunity to learn and develop, building something that never existed before, being in charge of substantial resource allocation to make a difference in people’s lives, designing sound financial strategies and developing a team of empowered people to help me in my multi-billion rand responsibilities, made me come alive.

The second one happened more recently. At the end of last year, I published my first book – Credibility Matters ( to get more info on the book click on  https://bit.ly/3lLwVsO) Since childhood, I was a very keen reader but I never imagined that one day, my book will be on display of many a leader’s bookshelf. It was a journey of self-discovery as I chronicled my life experiences from humble beginnings, the volatility of my youth and how powerful defining moments led to a life of significance. The mere thought that I can share with the world a few highlights on what shaped my thinking, values and behavior to make a humble contribution in shaping future leaders, really made me come alive. The central theme of my book is to challenge the reader to live life with the highest degree of credibility, in a world where compromise reigns supreme. I also determined in my heart that in writing this book, I will not challenge the reader on something which I have not applied in my own life yet. The world is yearning for authenticity. The book has been doing very well thus far and received very favorable reviews from very influential quarters and many lives have been touched by its contents. This really makes me come alive!

What is that moment in time, that made you come alive?

PASSIONTHE ESSENCE OF LIFE.

Passion to improve the quality of life of your fellow-man, is the fuel of your being and a great source of energy and drive. Someone once said “ Passion will keep you committed when the chips are down, the obstacles many, the odds are high and the resources are few.”  People often ask me the question – Martin how will I know my calling and passion? My question to them is – what are the things that make you mad, what are the things that make you glad or what are the things that make you sad? Chances are, that is where your passion lies.

Regrettably, many an individual’s passion sometimes gets doused by exaggerated expectations, misplaced priorities, succumbing to temptations, backroom politics, egoism, mistrust, lack of vision and focus.

Passion is the flame that sustains a relationship that you value most dearly. I am reminded of the scripture in Revelation 2:4  “ I have this against you, you walked away from your first love.” Notwithstanding what the current state of play in your world might be, never lose your passion for life. The world needs people who have come alive and stay true to the things they are passionate about in life.

INCREASE YOUR MARGIN

Brad Lomenick in his best-selling book The Catalyst Leader, admonishes leaders about the importance of building adequate margins in their lives. Leaders must protect their hearts and constantly explore opportunities for growth in their inner lives. They must determine for themselves what values will drive their behavior and what are the non-negotiables in their lives. The healthy state of a leader’s heart is absolute essential, to be a catalyst of change. It speaks of genuine and sincere motives; doing the right things for the right reasons. It is an attitude of heart that is driven by inner convictions and not by external agendas.

Maintaining strict spiritual disciplines by regular reading of God’s Word, prayer, fellowship with and accountability to other believers; having a heart for the poor, marginalized and destitute, as well as living a life of contentment and gratitude, are essential to sustain your inner vitality. It is also important to guard the company you keep; negativity, pride, professional jealousy, cynicism…. these things rub off very easily. Seek out the company of those that can stretch your mind, challenge your paradigms, broaden your vistas and energize you to be the best possible that you can be.   

Life is riddled with countless unpredictable and new realities. Greatness is not found in being an expert in analyzing a vexing problem but in providing a plausible solution towards its resolution. The time is now, right here in your immediate environment to “ Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  Around you are boundless opportunities that can make you come alive. Don’t wait for that spectacular moment, embrace those small yet beautiful opportunity to turn things around for the better; it will inspire you towards bigger things.

It’s time to show up and come alive! 

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