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Mpume Ncube-Daka, Seasoned Business Executive And Coach

Change presents many opportunities, but it also strikes fear and doubt in the hearts of many. For Mpume Ncube-Daka, she took change as a chance for personal and professional growth, which allowed her to build a successful business coaching career. She sits down with J.R. Lowry to share how she jumped into a number of industries before landing on the one she truly loves. Mpume shares the skills she learned in finance, telecommunications, broadcasting, public relations, and non-profit that contributed to her coaching success. She also shares tips on how to come up to speed and add value when jumping into new areas, challenging yourself to perform even better than in the past.

Check out the full series of "Career Sessions, Career Lessons" podcasts here or visit pathwise.io/podcast/. A full written transcript of this episode is also available at https://pathwise.io/podcasts/mpume-ncube-daka-seasoned-business-executive-and-coach.

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Mpume Ncube-Daka, Seasoned Business Executive And Coach

On How Her Love Of Change Has Fueled Her Career Journey

My guest is Mpume Ncube-Daka. Mpume is the Founder and CEO of About Change Conversations, through which she provides career and executive coaching, facilitation, and business strategy support. Mpume started her career as a financial accountant working for Unilever. She subsequently held roles with the mobile carrier MTN, telecom equipment provider Ericsson, and broadcaster MultiChoice.

Along the way, she did some nonprofit work with Mindset Network and started her own public relations firm. She recently struck out on her own to be a coach. Mpume has earned multiple degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, including a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Finance and an MBA. She also completed certificate programs in business coaching and corporate governance. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mpume, welcome. Thank you for being on the show.

Thank you for having me.

I’m looking forward to hearing your story. Let's start at the beginning. Where did you grow up? What was your first paying job?

I grew up in South Africa in one of the regions that is Zulu dominated. I'm a Zulu girl from the rural area of KwaZulu-Natal. My first paying job, I was a student and I was doing university work at Unilever. I started off as an assistant financial accountant.

In your case, that internship that you were doing during your university years turned into your first full-time job.

Yes. What was happening during [school breaks], they would move you around into different departments. I was sponsored by Unilever. I was getting paid during holidays and I was working.

That disposable income, I'm sure, was nice to have at that age.

It came in handy, I have to say.

What part of Unilever were you supporting?

I was based in the Unilever head office in their financial accounting department. Unilever has got a number of companies. In South Africa, there was Lever Brothers. There was Hudson & Knight back in the day, Ola and Unifoods, which was the food business. All that has changed a bit now.

You were working in the head office in South Africa. When you think back to that first job, what did you learn? What did you take away from that experience that you've carried with you since then?

I took away a few things. I took away the things that I was clear that I enjoyed in a job and what I didn't enjoy. Hence, I made a number of career changes after that. What was clear was that having to work with numbers on a daily basis wasn’t my thing. That got clear early in my career. The one other thing I took out is having great mentors. I had the Unilever financial director as my mentor. That, for me, was the best experience that I ever had because he guided me within the corporate space. He taught me a thing or two, which was a good thing.

You were in your presumably early twenties then. Do you feel like what you decided you did and didn't like about work, does that still hold true for you? Were you able to judge it at that early age?

It still holds true. I still say to people, you can pay me millions to do a financial accounting job, and I won't take it. I'm Okay.

Fair enough. It takes most people probably 5 or 10 years to figure out what they want to do professionally, and sometimes even longer.

That's true. What was clearing for me was the routine work of an accounting job where you've got monthly cycles and financial cycles. That routine was clear that it wasn't something that I wanted to do. Having to sit behind the computer and be focused on this thing that you needed to do wasn't who I was. That had come through when I was at university, but we'll touch on that as we talk.

What led you to MTN and into the telecommunication space?

Some of it has been luck. Literally, it was a recruitment agency that found me. By that time, I had moved out of accounting into marketing. I had left Unilever. I also worked for Nestlé. They found me years later. What was interesting was the marketing role that they had was fascinating for me because it was looking at the growth of MTN within the African space. I was part of the team that went into the country. We were doing due diligence on the new licenses that were coming up. I was doing market analysis and marketing potential from that perspective. It was an amazing job. I got to travel within Africa, which was great.

How broad was the scope of what you were looking at when you were doing those market analyses? How many countries across the continent?

The projects that I worked in, if I remember correctly, I think I did about six. We won some and we lost some. One of the ones that I remember we won was Nigeria, which is one of the biggest markets for MTN. We lost in Tanzania. We won another one in Cameroon. This was the time where it was a big competition between Vodacom, which is Vodafone globally, as well as then MTN in South Africa.

Presumably, you're looking at the demographics of the market, the density of the market, trying to figure out how many towers you'd have to put up and all of that.

Trying to figure out what type of product you want to bring into a country. What was glaringly clear was that the South African market was totally different from the rest of Africa. To make an example, in South Africa, when the mobile network operators launched, one of the products was a contract-based product that was available. In the record of Africa, there are no credit records. There's nothing. Everything is purely prepaid. There was a space then you were clear that you would go with a prepaid offering. That also had implications in South Africa.

CSCL 34 | Business Coaching

Business Coaching: The South African telecommunications market is totally different from the rest of Africa. Instead of using credit records, everything is purely prepaid.

 

Even within the prepaid offering, there were subsidies that were being put onto the handsets and all these other things. Within the rest of South Africa, somebody had to buy the handset and do pure prepaid. It was fascinating. The markets were totally different as well. The Francophone markets and the way things are sold and how the consumers and the demographic are totally different to other markets. It was an exciting time.

In the relatively early days of mobile. I missed this step. You were at Unilever and you left Unilever, and you then you went to Nestlé.

I went to Nestle for a couple of months. That was the shortest stint in my career. I was with Nestlé for eight months. I was still within the financial accounting space, but my role was more financial analysis. That, for me, was better than a pure accounting role, where then I had to do these routine cycles that were driving me insane. While I was at Nestlé, I got an opportunity. A friend of mine called me and said, “There's this small publishing company that is looking for a marketing person.” She had me speaking about the fact that I had wanted to come out of accounting into marketing.

I thought to myself, “I've got nothing to lose. Let me apply.” I had been studying for a diploma in Marketing. I had done marketing as well as part of my degree. I applied. I got called in for an interview, which was quite exciting. I went in for an interview and they said to me, “Please, do a marketing strategy for us and come back after a week and present.” I went away, did a marketing strategy, and came and presented. I walked away and I got the job.

How do you feel looking back on those situations where you get asked to come in with some piece of finished work or your best stab at finished work as part of the interview process?

I don't mind it because I think it shows your thinking process. When I've been an interviewee, I've always said, “You don't have to be wrong or right.” What I get from it is you demonstrating your thinking process and what you think could work in that business. For me, what was exciting is that you are coming in with a clean slate. You've got no baggage.

CSCL 34 | Business Coaching

Business Coaching: You don't have to be wrong or right when you're the interviewee. You simply demonstrate your thinking process and come in with a clean slate.

 

You don't know whether those things will work or not, but at least whoever is interviewing you gets a sense of who you are and how you think and how you make conclusions about a number of things. You could be totally wrong, but for me, it gets exciting because I can demonstrate the value that I can bring into that space.

You started in the consumer products world and finance, then you moved into the telecom world and marketing. How did you navigate that change? How did you come up to speed? How did you get yourself comfortable that you could add value even though you were coming into some new areas that you hadn't done before?

What I think I mastered early, and I don't think I was conscious about it, now that I'm coaching and doing all these things, I realize what it is that I was doing. The one thing that I mastered was understanding the skill that I had and what were the transferable skills that I could bring in. I remember within the moving out of finance into marketing, I was able to demonstrate how my finance background could help within the marketing space. That became an available resource because what you usually hear is that marketing people just want to spend money.

They can never understand the return on investment and all those things. I was able to bring in a different perspective because I was not too precious about being a marketer. For me, it was also a learning process and bringing those transferable skills helped. Now when I reflect back, I realize that having been at Unilever and working during holidays and I had been moving around in different departments helped me to adapt to the change because I would go in and learn something and then move on to something else. That was also quite good in terms of me opening myself up to new things and new learning.

The way you've described your experience at Unilever, it's a bit like a rotational program, whether it was formally designed that way or whether it happened that way given the circumstances you were in. You get a ton out of those programs when you're a young professional new to the working world because it forces you to figure out how to be useful quickly and how to be comfortable with it. You were at MTN and then you went to Mindset Network. You took a detour out of the telecom space for a while before you went back in with Ericsson. How did you end up over working in that space with Mindset Network?

It wasn’t a full detour. I'll tell you why. Mindset Network is an NGO that looks at literally giving content into high schools and primary schools and that. How do they do that? They either use the internet platform or other times when they were there, when I was there, they were using pay TV decoders. That's the element. I found myself that it was in the education space, but there was still a telco and ICT broadcast element, which is the part that I've found that is fascinating for me. That made it quite easy.

Some of the stakeholders that I had worked with before were part of the mindset group, but how did I get the job? I got the job. The CEO was married to my boss at MTN. At some point, he knew that I wanted to move on. His wife was looking for a senior marketing person. He was like, “Go interview and see what happens.” That's how I got that job.

Both halves of the couple were happy then in terms of how that worked out for you.

Building relationships because she wasn't obliged to employ me, but she knew the value that I could bring in the space.

How did you find working in an NGO? How is it different from working in the for-profit world?

Tough in the sense that there’s no budget that you can splurge and do all sorts of things. It makes you to be creative. My negotiation skills went to a different level. I was able to negotiate with broadcasters and all these different stakeholders from a marketing perspective, which was quite great. Also, what was great, I was also responsible for the stakeholder management, which were the partners that were donors into the business. I got myself working with senior executives across different companies within the country.

Running an NGO is tough because you don't have a budget you can simply splurge. Still, it pushes you to be creative. Click To Tweet

Some of those were banks, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and The Liberty Foundation, which are big companies within South Africa. That was an amazing experience. Some of the guys were tough and I had to toughen up and showcase that the project they're working in was beneficial to the communities and to them as the donors of the business.

In some ways, when you go out to have those kinds of conversations, being a nonprofit, you operate from a position of purity. You're not there to make a dollar. You're going in with a good cause that people can get behind, but at the end of the day, you're asking them to do something for you for free, hence the negotiation.

Trying to find the balance because even if they're doing it for good, there's still brand equity and all these things that they're expecting to come out of that. How do you find the balance between that and the fact that the NGO is wanting to do good. Finding that balance used to be tricky, but we always found a way.

CSCL 34 | Business Coaching

Business Coaching: NGOs only want to do good in the world, but brand equity still has to be managed. Finding a balance between those two can be tricky but not impossible.

 

You were there for a few years, and then you went into public relations, Onyx, if I'm remembering right.

Onyx was basically a business that I created. I was a Cofounder of Onyx Marketing. I pulled in one of the ladies who was a supplier at Mindset Network, she used to do PR for us, and one of the executives who was responsible for business development. There was an entrepreneurial spirit that was like, “We needed to explore this.” We then pulled forces. There was a tender that was out for another NGO at that point in time, which is called the Soul City Institute.

I worked with the Soul City Institute when I was still at the publishing company that I was at. I knew that business and I understood it. We literally put in for the PR proposal that they had. We went through quite a scrutiny, but we ended up getting the business. For me, to transition out of mindset into my own business was a fairly smooth process because I walked away and there was already a business that was in play.

It’s akin to having the next job before you leave the job that you're in. In your case, it was your own business. How did you find being an entrepreneur?

Exciting and scary and everything that comes with that. What I loved was the space of having to service clients and the space of having to come up with great strategies and plans for your clients and not making it just about one brand. Working with different companies and different brands got exciting. That, for me, was the exciting part and the fact that it was a retainer contract.

A non-profit is a space of service where the greatest strategies and plans are created. It is not just about one brand but bringing together different companies and brands. Click To Tweet

The cashflow element, which is usually a concern for most entrepreneurs, was not as bad. We needed to get more business, but at least there was that cushion that helped from that perspective. The fact that I could own my time. I remember when I started on it, my daughter was at high school at the time. She said to me, “Thank God you can pick me up on time.” That, for me, said something.

Kids are always the ones who bring reality back into play. There was a point when I was traveling all the time for work. My daughter was maybe eight. I was putting her to bed one night and she said, “Daddy, how come none of the other daddies have to travel as much as you do?” That went right through the heart, brutal. It wasn't too long after that that I changed jobs, but it was probably well overdue at that point. Much less travel after that.

I can relate because I was always that mother who was driving in and she would be picked up late, and there was always a rush about something. When she said that, and I could pick her up on time, it was the best decision I ever made.

What ended up happening with your PR firm? How did the business grow? How did it play out over time?

The business did well, but when the 2008 economic downturn hit, the business continued, but what was happening was that my husband was in business and I was in business. It felt unsettling. I had an opportunity where a friend running a recruitment agency called me and said, “There's an opportunity at Ericsson. I think you will be perfect for it.” I remember saying to her, “I don't want that opportunity. Leave me alone. Don't call me.” She pressed at me for three weeks. At some point, I gave in and I was like, “Let me go for the interview.” The rest is history.

You ended up staying there for a decently long time. It clearly worked out okay.

It worked out. I stayed with Ericsson for about five years, if not more. It was an amazing company to work for. I got to travel the world. Being a global company that was full of opportunities was amazing for me.

Other than the getting to travel the world, personal benefit, how did it add to your skillset? What did you get there that you hadn't gotten to that point?

I had done a lot of marketing from a consumer perspective. Ericsson is a business-to-business marketing space. What was great was that because I understood the consumer side from a telco perspective, I was able to then bring in a different stance in the marketing when dealing with the clients, because it wasn't just about what we wanted to sell you, it was also about this is how this will benefit your end consumer.

That was the best thing because I understood a telco consumer, and I was a telco consumer myself, and having to bring that into the space then helped. Also, the business-to-business marketing space got its own nuances. It's all about driving thought leadership, one-on-one conversations, and doing maybe trade shows and exhibitions and that type of space. That was a different marketing. It added into my marketing skill.

CSCL 34 | Business Coaching

Business Coaching: The B2B marketing space has its own nuances. It is all about driving thought leadership, one-on-one conversations, and holding trade shows and exhibitions.

 

It is certainly different than thinking about more of a business-to-consumer play. There are overlaps and differences that I've experienced in my own time being responsible for marketing aspects of my jobs over the years. You mentioned earlier that you had this interest in broadcasting that that was intriguing to you from your time at Mindset Network, and then you went to work for MultiChoice. You were in the broadcast business. How did that all come about?

After years of being with Ericsson, I went on maternity leave and I never went back. I got pregnant with my son, who's my last born. Whilst I was on maternity leave, there was a restructure in the business. The business was asking people if they wanted to take voluntary retrenchment. I was already at home. I put up my hand. I thought it would be the best thing to spend time with the baby at that point in time. Some of it was from guilt because I was at university when I had my eldest daughter. My career was at the top. I was literally traveling. I was never home. This child was being potty trained and walking and I wasn't there.

With my last born, I had to take a step back and decide that I wanted to be a present mother. I put up my hand and I said, “Let me go once. I'm away anyway.” That's how I ended up leaving Ericsson. I was with my son for a year. A year later, I wanted to go back to work. I literally sat down and I asked myself, “What are the companies that I would like to work for?” I knew it had to be in an ICT environment of some sort. MultiChoice was one of those top companies. I think I had other companies on the list were some network service providers.

There was still Auto Page at the time and another company which I can’t remember. I literally went and targeted those companies in terms of applying. I went into LinkedIn and I found the people that were in my network. One of those people was the former CEO of MultiChoice, who I had met years ago when I was still at MTN. I dropped him a message to say, “I've been out of work and I'm looking to go back into work. These are the roles that I was looking for.” God forbid, he answered. He responded to me and he said, “I don't know what is going on, but I'll get my HR people to get hold of you.” HR got ahold of me, and there was nothing at that point in time.

About three weeks later, a role had come up. I got pulled in for an interview. I also had Auto Page that I was interviewing for. I was debating, but I think MultiChoice was the one that I wanted to go to. An amazing thing happened. The role at Auto Page got put on hold, and then the MultiChoice role was there. I got offered the job. That's how I got into MultiChoice.

You were there for a while, too.

I was there for eight and a half years.

Talk about the decision to leave, to go back out on your own, to start this coaching business that you're doing now.

I got to do coaching whilst I was at MultiChoice. I got nominated to attend a leadership cause at the GIBS Business School. GIBS is good that for any of their executive programs, they offer either one-on-one coaching or group coaching as part of the offering. For this program, there was group coaching. As I was going through the process, I remember going back to the office and telling my boss, saying, “I've been coached before, but this group coaching thing was doing something for me.” I could see myself being one of those coaches that were engaging with the students. I said to her, “I would love to explore this coaching.” She said to me, “You would be great at it.”

It was a conversation. It went by. The following year, GIBS offered a certification in coaching. I mentioned it to my boss in passing. She said to her, “Apply. I'll pay for you.” I was like, “What?” She said, “You'll be great at it. You'll still use coaching within the leadership within the business, so do it.” My teacher is paid for my coaching certification, which was amazing. That's how I got into it. I was coaching on the side whilst I was there. It wasn't anything that I thought I would, but as I was doing it, impacting people's lives. As I was seeing the impact that I was having on people's lives, it became the thing. I got obsessed with this thing. I knew that if I had to live, this was something that I wanted to do on my own. That's how I got to it.

Talk about your coaching practice now in terms of the types of people you typically work with and the types of situations that they're facing.

I had wanted to focus on career coaching, but what I'm finding is there's the career coaching element. These are people who are saying, “I'm stuck. I don't know what to do within my career. I need help.” There's that bad conversation, and then there's somebody who's saying, “I want to change careers. I don't know which route to take and how to follow that process.” There's that part of the conversation.

There are people who are then managers that maybe they were specialists and now they're being thrown into management and people are overwhelmed and feeling like, “I don't know how to craft my career moving forward.” There's that part. What has also happened is that because I've got such a long experience within the corporate space.

I'm being pulled into executive and management coaching because I've got that experience. I'm also doing a lot of management and executive coaching as well. Another leg that I hadn't thought about or I must have thought will come through within some of the business schools, I'm also being pulled into business coaching. I'm also a supervisor for MBA entrepreneurship students. I had been doing that for the past few years. Now there's a lot of business coaching. These are people who are starting their own businesses that I'm also finding myself coaching and mentoring.

Those are the pillars of the people from a coaching perspective. There's an element of doing one on one coaching as well as group coaching. I'm also now offering different kinds of programs. I'm also doing a lot of master classes, facilitating, doing speaking engagements around leadership executive coaching, anything workplace-related.

It's funny because people distinguish between career coaching and executive or leadership coaching. To me, it all runs together. At the end of the day, we have a professional life. Sometimes I need a coach to help me plot my next step. Sometimes I need a coach to help me do the most with the step I'm in right now.

That's true. What I find is that it overlays. Also, some of it aredistinct things around what is happening at work that I'm trying to deal with. This is for my personal career growth. There's that distinction that sometimes comes through.

I know you're a self-described change junkie. What is it about change that's appealing to you topically?

The biggest thing is I see opportunities when change presents themselves. I see possibilities. Let's make an example. Somebody gets pulled in and they're being told that they're being retrenched or laid off. One person will go into an overwhelm and a spin and feel like the whole world is falling apart. Me, I will go into, “This is such an opportunity. Now I can explore other things that I've always wanted to explore.” My mind goes into, “What are the possibilities? I can take this retrenchment money and go do 1, 2, 3. For me, there's this opportunity that I'm seeing. What the other person will be is in the dance and thinking this is the end of the world.

That's where the difference comes in. I make it sound easy. It's not always easy, but I think I'm open to those opportunities. I'm open to those opportunities, so there isn't a major overwhelm that comes with it. I don't go into, “What if I fail?” I always think, “What if I succeed?” That becomes then the driving and motivating factor for moving forward.

Obviously, you coach a lot of people. Presumably, change comes up in those conversations. Why do you think people struggle so much with change? It's inevitable.

When you think about it, you go through change on a daily basis. There's so much that happens in your day.

A bulk of it is fear. There's a lot of it that is hinged on fearing the unknown and your risk appetite being questioned. If your risk appetite is high, then you are prepared to take the risk. If your risk appetite is low and you're the person who wants a clear path in everything that you do, then you struggle with that. For me, there's also a sad part that the fear holds people back. It holds you back and you find that you let go of bigger opportunities that could take you to the next level because you want everything to be clear.

Where can you find clarity and everything? I interviewed somebody who said to me that they look at that mainly with career change. They look at it as if it's a certain navigation where you know there's a cave coming up, but up until you're in the cave, you don't know. You have to be in it to figure out how you come out of it. For me, it's looking at it from that perspective. Not everything is straight. There are bends. You have to go with the flow. I make it sound easy, but it makes sense to me.

What advice do you give your coaching clients on how to navigate through change professionally?

It's the realization that you don’t know what you don’t know and being open to what could be the possibilities. If you are open to those possibilities and those opportunities, then you open yourself up to whatever comes because whatever that comes, you can deal with it as it comes. You don't preempt what your next step is going to be as long as you've got a bigger vision of where you want to go. For me, the focus is about knowing what's the end game. If you know what's the end game, you might take a left or right, but as long as it gets you to point B that you want to go to, that's the important thing.

For you, you've done a variety of things over the years. Is this the final chapter and something you ride off, the end of your professional career, or is this another chapter and there'll be something after this?

It’s the final chapter, but I’m open to anything. What I'm loving about it is it’s opening all sorts of other things that I might not have thought about. There are opportunities for lecturing, facilitating conversations, and non-exec-type directorships. It's opening me up to all sorts of other things because I've got the experience from the business world. Now, there's also the experience of wanting to grow people and work with organizations that see their employees as a major asset.

I'm bringing a different perspective into that. That is an exciting part. Would I want to go and be a CEO of a big corporate? Maybe not, but do I want to work in a big corporate way I can bring in my thinking and different ways of looking at things? Yes. There's a consulting thing as well that is coming through. That is the exciting part.

At least, I've been in business for many years at this point and have done different things as well. I think ahead. I don't think there's a line in the sand end date. I look at people whose LinkedIn profiles say retired. I think, “What are you doing every day? There's only so much golf you can play or whatever you like to do.” I like staying connected too much to what's going on. To your point, as your career evolves, new opportunities emerge. You can see, “Now I could go do that. I hadn't ever thought about that before.” That's part of the fun of living.

Up until I'm dead, why do I want to close the door? I'm not closing the door. Let's keep it as long as I'm here, breathing, and excited about other things.

It's a good way to think about it. When you look back on your career, what do you think are the strengths that have fueled you over the years?

I did my angiogram assessment a couple of years ago. I came out as an eight. One of the characteristics of an eight is it's people who get things done. I'm that person. I'm solutions driven. You talk to me about something, I'm already in solution mode, and I'm asking you, “When are we implementing?” Most businesses, you don't want to be stuck. I've worked in the strategy space, but strategy sometimes fails when it comes to implementing, because you can have it all good on paper, but then the execution and the implementation might fall flat.

Business strategies may all look good on paper. However, they can still fail in the execution and implementation. Click To Tweet

For me, an element of implementing and executing on staff becomes the critical component. I'm not a detailed person in terms of the detail, but I will pull together a team that will make sure that the delivery happens. For me, that has been one of the biggest things. It's not something I thought about as I was in my junior professional space, but I keep seeing it coming through where I was given opportunities to either build a team or start something new where I make sure things get done. That has been the driving force behind me.

What have you had to work the hardest to develop?

Self-awareness. Getting to know who I am as a person. A lot of things happen for me quickly. I finished university, I was quite young. I finished high school young. I had to grow. Sometimes I got forced into maturity without even realizing it. In the self-awareness piece, I've had to take a step back and understand who I am as a person, what drives me, what motivates me, and what triggers me in my blind spots. Some of the things were not easy to digest, but taking the time to look at that has helped me. Now I think I'm comfortable in my own skin. I'm comfortable with the person that I've turned out to be. I'm a cool person.

It's good to be comfortable in your own skin. For some people, it happens quickly. For other people, it takes them maybe their whole life.

Now I can sit comfortably with my emotions. At some point in my life, I would dismiss how I was feeling about things. Now I can sit comfortably and ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way? What's going on?” and engage and reflect within myself. Before that, wanting to do things would take over and I would dismiss a whole lot of things that were happening. Now, I'm content, but we keep growing as people on a daily basis.

What are your goals for the next year or two, then?

It's making sure that my business grows in terms of revenue. My vision is literally to build a business that has got a lot of coaches that are working at a global level. I don't want it to be a business that is just about me because I want it to be sustainable. I want to create a legacy and impact people in a global scale.

It's interesting that you say that. I talked to coaches on a fairly regular basis. Some of them are happy running their own business, making their own hours, and having complete control over things. Others hit this point where all of a sudden, they want impact on a bigger stage. Whether it's teaching or speaking or writing or whatever, they want to have scalability that they can't get through their own coaching work.

I'm one of those because I think it's limited what I can do on my own. In fact, I've got a lot of cultures that I work with because I'm saying I will go get the business, but I don't have to execute that business on my own. What happens if I'm not filling up to working? I want the business to still run and for it to still make the money. It shouldn't just be reliant on me. For me, that's where the sustainability comes in.

Business sustainability happens when owners don't have to work on it full-time and still manage to make some money. Click To Tweet

You talk about being able to go out and get the business. It’s the marketer in you. What do you do to recharge your battery? How do you keep yourself energized?

I do a lot of walking in the mornings or in the evenings. In South Africa, we are blessed with amazing weather. I do a lot of that. I'm finding myself spending a lot of time with my children, which I'm enjoying. I love all things TV. I'm trying to get back into reading, but I lost it along the way.

I go up and down a bit on reading. I tend to read on the subway train into work, which is at least a little bit of time every day. You add up that 15, 20 minutes of reading time. Eventually, you finish a book and you get to the next one. That's been good. It sure beats driving in terms of getting into work.

I've got a pile of books that I've got. I keep looking at them. I start one chapter here and one chapter there. I'll get back into it. All things TV, it makes my mind wonder.

I say to my wife, there's a point at night especially where I'm like, “Brain is shutting down now. Let's watch something completely mindless on television.” Any final thoughts that you want to share? Any last career advice you want to give to our audience?

I'm all about embracing change and exploring the best of who you are and being positive. As I was saying, looking at what if I succeed? What could be the next best thing that I can do with my life? I get sad when I see people in jobs that they hate, but they're stuck because of their fear because they believe that they will lose their salary. That saddens me. For me, it's all about exploring who you are and finding fulfillment and happiness in your life.

This point you've brought up several times about what would happen if I succeed as opposed to what would happen if I fail. It's a simple idea, but it's an important construct. The way that you think about change and think about opportunity.

I always say life is too short to be in a job that you hate, but life can be too long as well to be in a job that you hate. Either way, you need to decide.

Either too short or too long.

You might wake up 30 years later and you're still in the same place and you've been hating every minute of it.

This has been a fun conversation. Thank you. I appreciate your time and getting to know you a bit. I'm glad that you reached out and that we got this set up.

Thank you. I enjoyed speaking to you.

I enjoyed speaking with you, too. I'd like to thank Mpume for joining me and sharing her unique career journey and everything she's learned along the way. If you're ready to take control of your career, visit PathWise.io. If you'd like more regular insights, become a PathWise member. It's free. You can also sign up on the website for our newsletter. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks.

 

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