A life lived in excellence is a life lived with intention
Remarks by Sepo Lamaswala Haihambo at the Economist Businesswomen Club hosted at Avani Hotel on 8th June, 2017.
Sponsored by Telecom Namibia & Jaguar Windhoek
Good Morning Ladies-
It brings me great joy to be here with you today.
It really is an honour and a privilege to have been invited to speak at the Namibia Economist Businesswomen’s Breakfast.
These events have come to be a big social event marked in diaries as the one not to miss because of the tools these sessions provide women in this country by simply creating a space to network, learn, share knowledge and in turn empowering and re-enforcing women’s foundations to further professional growth.
When I was asked to speak to you this morning I asked myself “what could I possibly share that would add richness to this group of actualized women that they don’t already know?”
With some introspection and thought I settled on speaking to you this morning on “Living a life of Excellence” and the reason I settled on this topic was to share the lessons I have learnt through paying school fees at the university of life.
Lessons I believe are not necessarily universally encountered and thus possibly useful to you.
To begin I would like to start by saying what this talk will not be.
This talk will not be the unpacking statistical research to produce a formula to excellence OR a talk that teaches you how to efficiently condense 10,000 hours of learning into 3 months.
Right about now, half of you are asking yourself “then what is this talk about?”
The answer to that is simply this – this talk will be the sharing of life insights and lessons I have gained over days, months and years that I have come to know in my heart to be true for sure.
So today I share as a woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend and professional; with you my peers other women, wives, mothers, sisters, friends, daughters and professionals.
The insights are by no means prescriptive or exhaustive and I’m looking forward to engaging with you during the networking time to hear some of your personal interpretations of excellence so I can too broaden the scope on my own interpretation.
What is excellence?
For the most part when we think of the word excellence – it conjures up images of standards so high it is almost humanly impossible to attain or a life lived in a manner so rigid that the expression joie de vivre or joy of life in English has little or no personal meaning.
Whilst I will not attempt to summarise the definition into a sentence; what I would like to do today is build a case for a version of living a life of excellence that doesn’t equate to getting to the gym by 5am; running a thousand personal and professional errands between 6am and 6 pm and still managing to bake chocolate muffins by 7pm in six inch stiletto heels in perfect make up by 7pm.
To build this case I have condensed this journey into four steps.
Step one – know yourself and your truth
This, whilst it may sound paradoxical is actually one of the hardest things for any human being to consistently do as it requires us to stop pretending we don’t have dreams and stop pretending that mediocrity is okay.
It means seeing yourself as you truly are. Nothing added, but also with nothing taken away.
Just you. As you are.
It also lets you know – who you are not.
Knowing one’s self demands asking and answering the questions we would normally gloss over. It means not just asking ourselves the how and what questions but the deep insightful why questions as well and listening to those answers even when they do not please us.
As difficult as this is, It remains a worthwhile exercise because;
Knowing yourself allows you to acknowledge your innate strengths and gifts.
Knowing yourself quietens a lot of inner turmoil and helps narrow down those things that are important to you, which makes decision-making so much easier as things that aren’t aligned with that truth and knowledge of self are quickly identified and deleted as options.
Knowing yourself allows you the privilege of being happy being you and lets to understand that you will never reach your greatest potential in life by trying to be someone else or trying to please other people.
Knowing who you are allows you to live what’s inside you and living what’s inside you will give your life meaning and richness.
But I warn you; It will also scare you because it will mean saying to yourself that what it is you really really, really want but are often too scared to say out loud.
Step two – acknowledge the possibility as possible
Imagine with me now that you are now on this journey and quite good at being you.
Acknowledging all your dreams, hopes and fears in all their glory.
You’re writing bucket lists left right and centre. With a long “some day one day” list.
What’s on that list? Things most of us can relate to?
Go on holiday, Go back to university, buy a dream house or buy that red sports car!
Has anyone every asked themselves why you have some things on a “some day one day” list verses the “today” list?
I believe the” some day one day” lists are comforting to us; they give us an illusion of having time to get things done BUT somewhere deep down we actually don’t believe those things on that “some day one” list are possible.
Ands that’s why those things are not on the “today” list.
The risk of believing we have an infinite supply of time to get about the business of living our lives is one of the greatest illusions of our time.
It’s that illusion that gets us to a place where we are sleep walking through our own lives.
So much can and will changes in our lives when we acknowledge our dreams are possible and probable.
The human mind is an incredible thing and can achieve amazing things once it acknowledges something as possible.
We have a system in our bodies called the reticular activating system (RAS) that helps our brains decide what information to focus on and what to delete. So we subconsciously delete what we don’t believe is possible.
An example of this is;
Roger Bannister was the first human being to run a four minute mile. He broke that barrier in 1954 and ran a mile in 3:59; until that point in time it was thought as impossible.
Experts had said it can’t be done.
In the last 50 years the mile record of 4 minutes has been broken countless number of times and lowered by almost 17 seconds, and that record currently stands at 3:43.
The question is never if it’s possible but how to make it possible.
Cell phones and email communication just 30 years ago were non-existent. At some point in history cars and electricity didn’t even exist. These things have one thing in common: they began as concepts in someone’s mind and because their inventors believed in those possibilities we know those inventions to be realities.
To push past our perceived barriers we must train our minds to believe that there are no barriers. Not even the sky
Step three – priortise
We all only get 24 hours.
As human beings we only have a limited a limited amount of Energy to expend and to ensure laser focused precision in our execution we must be selective and deliberate on how we direct that energy.
Prioritising allows us to be more specific about the outcomes we want and what excellence will look like when we get there.
Spreading ourselves to thinly causes internal dissonance and limits our ability to do each thing to your best of our ability.
Step four – begin
The old Chinese proverb says a journey of a 1000 miles begins with one step. In this quote, Lao Tzu is trying to express that great things start from humble beginnings.
The lesson here is that no matter how grand our concept of excellence our journey to that place begins with taking one step in that direction.
If we just keep taking one step after another we will get to our destination.
For after all we must begin in order to inhabit our dreams.
We’ve all heard the expression “YOLO”?
An unknown author says that the ” you only live once is a false statement as you live everyday; But you only die once.” Everyday is an opportunity to begin and my heart’s plea is that you don’t sleepwalk through your life.
Living life believing there will always be time is a falsehood, life is finite. so we need to begin.
Making that dream life of excellence a reality requires you to be intentional.
If you forget everything else I have said this morning, please remember only this on how to live a life of excellence according to yours truly.
“A life lived in excellence is a life lived with intention!”