Diary of an Aspirant Entrepreneur: When the teacher becomes the learner

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Diary of an Aspirant Entrepreneur: When the teacher becomes the learner

By Rehana Moosajee

As I signed my letter of resignation, I knew that I was closing a chapter in my life. By 28 February 2013, I would voluntarily relinquish the title, the perks and the security of a monthly salary. Next steps mapped out … none!

Due to the fact that I had been in the position of the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport in the City of Johannesburg, between 2006 and 2013, the resignation was a fairly public affair. A statement by The Executive Mayor and the African National Congress, a response from the opposition and a flood of messages and calls to me – most anxious about what had prompted me and enquiring what I would be doing next. I granted no interviews, thanked all who contacted me, but honestly had not thought about what I would be doing next. I knew that what I needed most of all was “me time” – quiet spaces and time for reflection, the need to re-balance and centre myself. So, my journey started…

As I wrote in my journal and went with the flow of what life was presenting to me, it began to consolidate. My life until then had presented seamless opportunities to move from one job to another – first as an educator, then as support staff to elected representatives, voluntary and paid work in community media, brief stints in the private sector and then almost 13 years in the public sector, where through the efforts of many, we had registered remarkable achievements including establishing Africa’s first full Bus Rapid Transit System – Rea Vaya. Yet, I wanted something more. Most of all I wanted my life to have meaning through touching the lives and hearts of others. In October 2012 – I had spoken at a gathering of 1500 Transport professionals in Seattle on invitation from the American Public Transport Association. I had concluded that talk, with the need for all of us, no matter what sector we are working in, to put our hearts and souls into the work we do. It was time to reconnect with my heart and thus began the process of the birthing of Rehana Moosajee Consulting PTY Ltd.

 I researched definitions of entrepreneurship, until I found one that resonated with me:  “Entrepreneurship is the process of creating something new with value, by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic, and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence”.

It was evident that I knew very little to nothing about entrepreneurship and so started my desire to gain more knowledge, link up with people who had walked this road before me and were generous enough to share. I quickly realized, that even though officially I was unemployed, I would have to invest in my own growth and development. As opportunities arose, I seized them, living my old maxim from “Dead Poet’s Society” that I had passionately taught my learners a few years ago – Carpe Diem! Between March 2013 and July 2013, I attended a host of workshops and seminars. Some paid for, some gifted to me, but all proved invaluable learning experiences.

On the 8 May 2013, I attended a talk by Robin Banks – entitled  “ The Spirit of Money”.  I learnt a lot from that evening most profound was the need for clarity that gives power. The most challenging aspect was unpacking core beliefs about money, that we all internalize as we grow up. Those words that have resonated in our minds many times over : “Money does not grow on trees. People with money are greedy. Money is the root of all evil……” Robin, reframed all of this into abundance thinking, reminding us that wealth creation is 80% psychological and 20% mechanics. He encouraged us to trade scarcity beliefs for prosperity beliefs and move to an abundance mentality for after all the Universe is abundant. Some other key learnings from this seminar were:

·         Be mentored by successful people
·         Have empowering beliefs
·         Find your passion
·         Set clear goals
·         Work smart, not hard
·         Tithing or giving back to causes that resonate and assist people or the planet
·         Have Fun

Most of all have an attitude of gratitude for what you already have in your life.

On the 18th and 19th May, a friend graciously invited me to be her guest at a seminar, held by JT Foxx. Again a variety of concepts and ideas came to the fore that I felt were particularly valuable. Amongst them were that business is very much about relationship building – reciprocal relationships. A large amount of time should be spent on building relationships.  The importance of marketing as an engine of your business and that often in marketing you sell experience and authority not just a product. The linkages between branding, credibility and power. The importance of coaching in business success. Some of the lessons, were things our parents and teachers emphasized as we were growing up: The importance of perseverance, you become who you hang around with and every time you are in a room with people more successful than you, you increase your odds of success. Another important learning was to see your business from the perspective of your client. I learnt so much, that I signed up for JTFoxx’s Megapartnering Africa. 

Held over 3 days at the Sandton Convention Centre – 5 to 7 July 2013, this event to which I was entitled to take 3 guests who were more successful than me taught me a lot but also reaffirmed a lot about what I don’t want to be. Whilst at a content level there was a lot to learn, the entire ethos of crass materialism, competition and exclusivity did not resonate well with my guests and I. Despite the fact that we struggled with the values that informed the outlook, we stayed and continued to discuss why the approaches did not sit well with us. I had spent a fairly substantial amount of money to attend this course and learnt that nothing is ever wasted. Even though it was unsettling, it reaffirmed the importance of values and ethics to me and each of my guests.

On the 27th May 2013, quite unexpectedly, I ended up attending, something called “Entrepreneur X Factor” – almost an idols style event for entrepreneurs. I was fascinated by the presenters  of the seminar: Mike Handcock of New Zealand and Dave Rogers of Singapore – both had been in highly successful corporate environments and quit to pursue their passion. They own a company called : “Rock Your Life”. I loved the energy and methodologies they used to present, infusing ancient wisdom, spirituality and highly creative and fun techniques including laughter yoga! The most fundamental learning from this day was the linkages between questions and the elements.  Water being linked to Why, Wood to What, Fire to Who, Earth to When and Metal to How. What became evident was that too many of us when starting a business,  focus on the how rather than the why. Understanding the why of your business is key to building perseverance. The Why is what propels you into action. The Why is what gets you enthusiastic enough to create single-minded focus. I subsequently negotiated my way into a course that Mike and Dave offer which includes coaching on Skype, lots of videos to watch on You Tube , a lot of homework to be done and introductions to a global Circle of Excellence. I have really become a learner again, watching videos, taking notes, testing the ideas and having fun!

So, Rehana Moosajee Consulting has just been born. In the process of establishing an identity through websites, social media and unique product offerings, that resonate with me at a deep level. I have been humbled by the men and women I have met thus far, many of whom have graciously given of themselves to assist me. Registering the company, getting BBBEE ratings, opening a bank account, setting up infrastructure, designing a logo, setting up opportunities to pitch the business- all have provided wonderful opportunities not only to learn new things but for heart to heart connections. I have no doubt, that realizing my vision of being engaged in activities that are healing, transformative, inspirational and connecting to the global family of humanity is the beginning of another chapter of my life. So it is no wonder, that my journal, for Rehana Moosajee Consulting has on its cover: “Life is a Journey not a destination”. I am certainly excited to embark on this journey….

By | 2014-08-19T00:23:10+00:00 October 7th, 2013|Articles, featured|0 Comments