Walk a mile in these shoes

You don’t know me. You don’t know the womb that carried this life, the hands that nurtured it  or the heart that loved me. You don’t know my ABC’s or the Birds and the Bees. You don’t know my scars or bruises, my blessings or my curses.

You don’t know the memories I’ve cherished or the ones best forgotten. You don’t know about my first day of school or my first tooth. You don’t know about my piano recitals or the ballet concerts. You don’t know about the muddy hockey boots or the blistered feet.

You don’t know my hopes or fears. You don’t know the comfort I’ve felt from a friend or the joy of sharing a good laugh. You don’t know my academic achievements or my dedication.

You don’t know the hurt of the tears that stain these cheeks or the whole hearted belly flop laughter that I can produce. You don’t know me with no money and no place to rest my head. You don’t know my biggest disappointments or my greatest testaments.

You don’t know what I believe or what I doubt. You don’t know of my dreams for ‘someday’ or my fear of disappointing those who love me. You don’t know of my heartbreak or my new found loves. You don’t know…so walk a mile in these shoes before you say that you know me.

Picture source: http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs17/f/2007/190/3/7/The_Red_Ballet_Shoe_by_xxkattieer.jpg

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If I were the boss

I’ve always fantasized about the way I would run a business one day when I was in charge. Granted most of my ideas were probably formulated in the workplace when faced with a desk piled high with paperwork and a superior giving me instructions on what to do, how to do it and when to do it.

Over the years I’ve had many jobs, ranging from waitressing to consulting and as a result of these experiences I’ve encountered many different management styles. Some of which I agreed with, others which aggravated me, but all of which I’ve learnt from. And so drawing from these experiences I have developed my own management plan encompassing five main areas.

Firstly, I would promote self management. I have always believed that individuals know their own capabilities better than anyone else and that micro management is a waste of time. If everyone were self sufficient and managed their own time and responsibilities effectively, I believe we could accomplish so much more in a single day.

Next, I would implement a flat organisational structure to encourage better interaction amongst employees from all sectors of the organisation and also improve the flow of communication throughout the company. Third, I would promote transparency within the organisation, so that employees on the ground were kept in the loop with what directors and supervisors were planning. This would promote trust within the organisation and also improve communication. In this way all employees would feel that they are part of the planning and growth of the business, creating a stronger, more unified image for the organisation.

The fourth thing I would do is promote ownership within the company. After working in varying industries the one thing that I have always felt lacking was a sense of pride and commitment from employees when measuring their loyalty to an organisation. It is my belief that in order to take pride in something one first needs to feel as if you have played a part in building the project and that your role in the organisation is valued and acknowledged. By focusing on individual performance and achievement I believe it is possible to achieve a sense of pride.

Lastly, I would implement development within the organisation. I am a firm believer in life long learning and that no one is ever too old to learn new skills. I would give employees the opportunity to study further and also have ongoing courses, so that all employees were constantly training to become better professionals and acquiring new tools which would benefit them both personally and in the workplace. I feel that this would promote self worth, ambition, drive and allow individuals to fully utilize their potential.

Sometimes I think bosses just get it all wrong and forget about the little things. They complicate matters by implementing too many rules and structures which are not always necessary to run a successful company. Sometime one just has to remember the K.I.S.S. factor, Keep It Simple Stupid!

Picture source: http://www.imvu.com

Two people come out of a building and into a story

The story begins as all age old fables do: Once upon a time there were two little boys with very big dreams. Emmett and Silas were best friends who grew up in the same apartment block, attended the same school and did virtually everything together. To the outside world they were inseparable and to each other they were a lifeline.

The boys were raised in the heart of poverty and their apartment building represented the crippling future of their neighbourhood where gun fire, drug smuggling and prostitution were the order of the day. Both the boys mothers were em-brawled in the ‘neighbourhood industry’ and their fathers were one of many men in the area who had relations with their mothers.

The boys were taught that life was a game of survival tactics, that what they saw was the only future they would ever know and that the furthest they would roam from home were the boarders of this neighbourhood. But one day the two boys grew up walked out of the building which had crippled them all their lives, down the road with gun fire blasting and crossed over the boarders of the neighbourhood which for so long had been their fortress and their jail and they discovered a world very different from the one they knew.

Emmett and Silas discovered a world where big dreams were encouraged and possibilities were endless. A life where change, compassion, love, ambition and hope were not just words they read in decaying books at school. They walked out of a building and into a story, the story of their life.

Picture Source: http://www.crystalxp.net

They call it growing up

I long for the days when the only time I had to manage was play time and the only investments I made were at the corner shop, buying Chappies bubblegums at 5c a pop. The days when the only people who could hold me accountable were my parents and self discipline was an exercise in bladder control.

I miss the days when managing my reputation meant being popular amongst other tots and my only responsibility was to tidy up my play area. Days when my most valuable asset was a Baby-love doll that could eat and wee all at the same time. Who came up with that great idea anyway? 
I remember days when my only concern was how many games I could play, how many trees I could climb, how many friends there were to laugh with and how many times my mother would call me in for dinner before I got a spanking. Days when my only binge diet consisted of mud pies and swimming naked at the beach because I forgot my bathing suit was considered cute. 
I long for the days when swinging was only done at play parks and ‘crap’ was a bad word. The days when Kideo was action packed entertainment, when little blue Smurfs were the only posters on my bedroom wall and Barney was my biggest role model. Days when getting an applause was as easy as learning to walk or pooping in the toilet instead of your pants.
These days are long gone now and somewhere in the course of life that little girl became a woman and learnt that ‘grown up life’ consists of budgets and planning. That playing games could get you into trouble, that people hold you accountable for what you say and do, that relationships are not as easy as Barbie and Ken make them out to be and that climbing trees will not get you any closer to your dreams. 
I’ve heard they call it growing up!

An interesting encounter

She boarded the Oxford bound train oozing confidence and singing an unfamiliar tune.
I turned to look at the sound resounding from the empty carriage.

The humming of her voice and her heels as they made contact with the elevated floor. She looked at me with a smug, cheeky grin on her face.
‘Whatcha lookin’ at?’ she demanded in her thick London slang.

I considered the question for a moment, as I imagined her making her statement even more boldly, by placing her hands on her hips and stomping her heels on the ground. I watched her expression grow more daunting as she asked again: ‘I said watcha lookin’ at huh?!?’

I thought of all the responses I could possibly swing at her that might wipe that smug look off her face, like:

‘I was just thinking what a beautiful young lady you are, that is until you opened your mouth,’ which in all honesty would probably provoke her even more.

or, ‘I was just trying to figure out what that tune is you were singing.’

or ‘I was just thinking what a beautiful voice you have.’

Of course, none of there statements were true, but might have helped to shut her trap and would hopefully have surprised her.

So, instead I settle for: ‘the same reason you’re looking at me for… you’re thinking ‘I better not mess with that bad ass looking girl or she might knock my teeth in.” Nah, that’s just what I was thinking. But all I did was smile and bow my head, pretending to be a dense foreigner who just didn’t know any better.

Picture Source: http://www.heritagerail.biz

Designer PR

As a Post Graduate Public Relations student I am often confronted by the many misconceptions that the general public has about the industry and those who work in it. Somehow, PRO’s have gained a reputation for being scheming, money peddling, manipulative robots. Although I do realise that each individual PRO has their own image and business manner, it’s very hard to believe that these derogatory comments are all that came from Public Relations.

Public Relations is one of the most influential elements in the business world today, this says a lot for a field which not too long ago was still considered as nothing more than a marketing tool. As a future PR graduate I see it as my duty to promote the endless possibilities that PR has to offer for individuals and organisations. PR plays a major role in positioning a product or organisation as in the case of designer PR.

When South Africa first launched it’s Proudly South African Campaign in 2001 PR played a huge part in building the image of the brand and promoting it as such. In order to get the buy in of the nation Public Relations Officers knew that they had to promote the brand efficiently and make it an internationally recognised brand that South Africans took pride in and fully embraced.

Suddenly the general public were encouraged to buy locally produced products and thereby support the local market. The Proudly South African logo became a common appearance on the packaging of many local goods and many high ranking South Africans also began to promote the brand.

The brand is not only a way of getting people to invest in the local market, but also a encourages South Africans to take pride in their county and the fruits of it’s labour.

A tale of friendships, old and new

I spent some time in the company of some ‘new’ friends this weekend and got to thinking about something I once overheard somewhere. I don’t recall when or where or the exact words, but the just of it was this: when you get to the point in your life when your friends start agreeing with everything you say and stop challenging your thinking; your actions or your lifestyle, it’s time to start thinking about making new friends. I do believe that whoever said that knew exactly what they were on about and possibly had a similar experience to the one I’ve had.

After being away from home (Cape Town) for two years and re-connecting with many of my old friends upon my return, I found that many things had changed, yet so many things had stayed the same. I had done a lot of growing up while away and had changed in many ways and needless to say my friends had done the same. We had all grown in different ways. Some of us grew up, some of us grew apart, some grew taller and some grew fatter.

One thing that bothered me was that in many of my friendships the essence of the relationship had stayed the same, i.e. the friendship had not grown or evolved. As a result of this, we were always in agreement, there were no challenges in sight and the world was at peace, meaning that there was little or no growth in sight.

It was then that I realised that it was time to make some new friends and I can honestly say that as a result I’ve been challenged in ways I never dreamed possible, I’ve grown and learnt so much and I’m still learning everyday. I’ve met some beautiful people who make me believe in the impossible and also allow me to impart things into their lives.

I value my old and new friends greatly. My old ones for the part they’ve played in my life thus far and for the great people they are and my new ones for constantly challenging my point of view and allowing me to be a part of their life journey too.

Here’s to friendships, old and new!

I AM…

In an attempt to not completely screw up my first blog post and use the topic ‘I am’ in the most creative way I could think of, I decided to write a poem. The concept is loosely based on John Clare’s poem of the same name. So, here goes.

I am inquisitive and adventurous
I wonder how many people actually live a purposeful life
I hear the city buzzing around me
I see people rushing by
I want to ask them where they’re headed in life
I am inquisitive and adventurous

I pretend to know what I’m doing and where I’m going, when in reality I’m lost
I feel like a big red balloon floating in the sky
I touch thin air with my fingertips
I worry that I wont fulfil my full potential
I cry secretly whenever I watch a sad movie
I am inquisitive and adventurous

I understand that you have to believe in yourself first, before anyone else will
I say that you’ve only got one life, so make it count
I dream about travelling the world and meeting all sorts of interesting people
I try to invest in people’s lives
I hope that they have a bigger dream too
I am inquisitive and adventurous