It’s Nelson Mandela month; a time to reflect on all that this great man has done for the people in our country and try, in our own way, to carry on his legacy. It’s not difficult to be inspired by someone with all the characteristics of a great leader and who is a patriot for human rights and fairness. Just like Madiba is the father of the nation you, as a startup business owner, are the father of your ideas. These ideas have the power to drive your startup business and contribute to a better South Africa for us all.
Unemployment in South Africa is at a staggering high and is often linked to other problems in society, especially crime. Mandela’s fight for equal rights included the fight for each individual to have the right to a job and to earn an income.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” – Nelson Mandela
Therefore, the alleviation of poverty is one of the areas that need our attention the most. While the symptoms of societal ills are an on-going concern, you, as a startup business owner, have the power to treat the cause and create employment for yourself and more importantly for others. Although there is a lot of pressure on your business to grow and help create jobs, you can always draw inspiration from Madiba’s life and philosophies to help your startup business reach its full potential.
To be a great leader you need to motivate yourself and those around you.
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.“ – Nelson Mandela
There is a lot of pressure on small businesses to succeed, not only to help people secure an income for themselves but also to create much-needed jobs. In our current economic climate restricted business growth and customers’ wallets make for a greatly demotivating scenario. Madiba believed that everyone had the potential to overcome challenges on their path to success and he proved just that through continuously motivating himself. While it might be hard for some people to motivate themselves, keeping your eye on the end goal and working tirelessly towards it will reap benefits. Motivation is also contagious and can spread to others. The more motivated you are – the more motivated those around you will become. Also, allow yourself to be motivated by other successful entrepreneurs who went through exactly the same struggles you are currently faced with.
Learn to forgive and don’t hold grudges against those who disapprove of your ideas.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela
Forgive and forget – one of the hardest things to accomplish. While forgiving seems to be the easier of the two, as humans we seems to struggle with the forgetting part. Nurturing a grudge absorbs so much time and energy that could have been put to better use. As the owner of a startup businessthere will be people who will try to stand in your way. It’s hard to move on or turn the other cheek when a competitor spews harsh words or an unsatisfied client turns around and gives you a piece of their mind. By learning not to sweat the small stuff you can become more focussed on your business goals and steer clear from any inhibiting bitterness.
The road to success is paved with lots of sacrifice.
“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” – Nelson Mandela
Mandela sacrificed 27 years behind bars for what he believed in, a belief in a greater society for all. Starting your own business is courageous, but we are only human and it’s easy to get demotivated by slow progress or periods where there is simply no growth at all. Every single small businessowner has had to make sacrifices, whether it be time, money or just a comfortable and predictable lifestyle. Throwing in the towel is the easy thing to do, and unfortunately many startup businessesend up doing this but learning to sacrifice can give you the greatest reward of all – success. All the cited Nelson Mandela quotes are from his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom and can be found on the goodreads website.
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