Mwamvita Makamba holds the role of Business Performance Partner: Corporate Affairs for Vodacom International Business & Trustee at Vodafone Foundation. Originally from Tanzania, Mwamvita is now based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As I write this piece, I am overlooking the magnificent Zambezi river at the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone, Zambia, where I can see from afar the steam from one of the natural seven wonders of the world: the glorious Victoria Falls!
I vividly remember sitting in my hotel room a year ago, this time in Dubai, at the end of 2011. I wrote a paper titled “Thank God for 2011″ that I shared with my family and friends. It was my reflection on how eventful and fruitful the previous year was, and how I hoped for an even greater 2012.
They say be careful what you wish for. Little did I know my prayers for a greater 2012 would be answered with such thunder!
At the crux of 2013, I’ve had another opportunity to reflect. But this time, not just to family and friends but for working women all over the world! I hope to inspire even a fraction of them to believe, to dream, to keep working harder and most of all, to aspire to thrive in all aspects of their lives.
Here are my eight big lessons for 2012 and hopes for 2013:
Give like never before: if you are even a little bit more privileged to have more than others around you, make it your mission to assist whenever you can. There is no happiness in having plenty of everything while your neighbor has none. Through sharing and helping the needy we only can enjoy our abundance. Actually, often time more to you comes that way. The world will be a much better place if each one of us sees it as our duty to help the less fortunate. This was my prayer and it has been extremely rewarding.
Work harder than ever before: In 2012 I saw a change in my career that moved me from Tanzania, my home country where I was born, went to school and worked, to Johannesburg, South Africa. I am currently based here and working in a few markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Away from the comfort of my family, I have officially become a single working mum to my six-year-old daughter, Malaika, and a new mum in town who is always on the plane and in a hotel room in a different African country almost every week. Juggling that, play dates, school activities, and staying excellent at work has been a marathon for me in 2012!
Lift your game 360 degrees: There is no shortcut in life. if you are to excel in anything you do, you have to work hard. But more importantly, work smart! Plan your schedule, prioritize and meet every deadline you set for yourself. There is no excuse! No one can deliver you success except yourself. One of the greatest things I learned this year is that it is all possible. You just have to go for it and be willing to work for it.
Search only for the positive: I have never been this positive. I have always believed in the power of being a positive person but it has been a struggle to stay positive (human nature). In 2012, learning and mastering the art of positivity has single handedly delivered my bliss and success this past year! There is always a positive side to any story or situation however bleak it looks. Search for only that. Negativity is poisonous and only brings out the worse in any situation, be it at work or home. Stay focused, smile more, stay genuinely positive. This attribute will take you far.
Stay grateful: It is human nature to always want more of everything and often times we use all our energies to do just that. We rarely really take time to appreciate what we have. In 2012, I learned not only to be grateful but to stay grateful day in and day out. As I wake and go about my day, I am grateful! I have devised my own small ways to remind myself to say thanks for all I have and all I am. I can never ask for more before first being grateful for what I have. Try it and see your life unfold before your eyes.
Appreciate others, share ideas and work not alone: There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far go together!” This could never be truer for me than now. I have benefited tremendously by working with my colleagues, learning from them and never to being afraid to ask when in darkness. Seek guidance and be open to learn something new everyday. I have learnt that only when you are open to others’ ideas can yours be listened to and materialize. I got a lot done this year because of this lesson.
Everyone has their special place on this earth and there are resources enough for all of us: I have stopped sweating the small stuff and I concentrate on my ‘hustle’ to deliver to me the emotional and physical satisfaction I need to keep on and to thrive in life. Realizing this lesson makes you focus in what you are and capable of becoming, rather than focusing on other people’s lives.
Don’t just dream, dream BIG: If you can at all dream, why not dream big? As my earlier lesson, the world had enough space and opportunities for all of us regardless our background or where you come from. I come from a middle class Tanzanian family and went to normal government schools in Tanzania. My degree and Masters degree all from the University of Tanzania. I worked myself up and made my life in my own because I dreamt! I am not saying I have achieved all that I want, but I am surely on the right track. Everyday I get inspired and I dream better and bigger dream. I see most of them becoming true everyday in my very own eyes.
I could go on and on but these are the main eight lessons I have learnt so vividly this past year that they have become a part of me. These are my secrets to a successful career and for thriving in life!
I know for sure now that 2013 can only be an even greater year for me in all spheres of my life. And it can be for you too! All you need to is intend it and go for it.