Lungisa E Sonqishe
Personal & Business Strategist
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship” Louisa May Alcott
Wisdom is knowing that I still have much to learn
My life has been knocked out of balance from living in multiple countries—not forgetting those that I have visited—at the best time of my life. Nations that each have their own customs, regulations and ways of doing things. This is not a complaint—on the contrary— I am most grateful for all the knowledge I have gathered from my travels. No university can teach you about life itself. I am fond of my experiences and have learned—and continue to learn—a great deal from them.
Long ago, I moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town where I found myself working as a model. I can honestly say that I was never motivated to go to castings or to see potential clients. In fact, I was never really comfortable in front of the camera. Surprisingly, I managed to land several jobs despite this. It was soon evident, however, that this was not my vocation.
I later went to Amsterdam where I studied Mass Communication, a four year degree that aptly prepared me for the corporate world or, more specifically, the advertising industry. One of my first experience in an advertising agency, was with Saatchi & Saatchi in Dubai as an intern. From there I worked with other agencies where I continued to discover how to practically enforce what I have learned at university. What a trip!
I learned the importance of branding and I saw the creative process in action. The concepts of Image and Identity fascinated me. I recognised that the two always must be in synergy. Identity is when an organisation says, “This is who we are and this is what we stand for”. Image is how the public views the organisation. If the public agrees that organisation is indeed who they say they are, then the company is doing a good job of preserving its image.
Handling accounts, first small, then large was also part my advancement in the corporate world. I slowly found myself doing nothing else, but working. When I was not working I was thinking or dreaming about work. That little nagging voice was at it again, “surely, this is not all there is”. There was no passion, no interest and no motivation. Work was all there was.
Doing it alone
Circumstances lead me to the dawning of my self-employed lifestyle. While in Dubai, I started my own company, Elite Conseils, where I offered services in Image Consultation and Perception Management. My business focused mostly on external appearances and how my clients were perceived by the outside world.
Over time, what I observed was that people are very resistant to change. They came to see me because they clearly saw that something needed to change. However, a lot of them would simply find it difficult to change what has become their “identity” for so long. They thought, people who dressed a certain way were either more sophisticated, more important, looked better or, are more confident than they will ever be. This insight prompted me to reposition myself. In doing this, I could then view them from a vantage point, so to speak.
I got It!
I started talking to them about how they wished to be perceived and why. I would ask them what they were passionate about, what they absolutely loved doing, and what distinguished them from everyone else. I would have them to describe a situation where everything felt just perfect. I would help them open-up about their values and what they believed to be their mission in life. I thought, wait a minute, I am on to something here! Not only that, but I also found my passion! Being of service to others in the best way I know how. What a blessing!
I came to realise that I needed more skills in my newfound path. I immediately enrolled myself in a good Life Coaching institution. I thoroughly enjoyed the Life Coaching courses; both Introductory and Advanced levels. I feel like life prepared me step by step to where I am at today. Every experience, every country, every book, the education, work and all the skills I have accumulated over time are all the right combination for my current undertaking.
I see you
I see you, is my company’s tagline. In Zulu when we greet each other we say, ‘Sawubona’. Sawubona is not just the mundane, ‘Hello’. It means, ‘I see you’. When you greet someone this way you are actually saluting the greatness in them. We all have that greatness within us that communicates with us all the time, when we choose to hear it. Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten the true meaning of Sawubona. I invite you to listen to yourself. Are you really happy with how things are? Don’t be scared to stand for something and live by your values, not someone else’s. This is what makes us unique. Or we can choose to blend in a sea of uniformity and settle for an ordinary and a mediocre existence.
I see you!