Mentors, mentorship and qualities to look out for

Mentors, mentorship and qualities to look out for

“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how.”

Anonymous

 Why do we have mentors? Why do we need mentors? What is a mentor?

This type of person is not necessarily in the lime-light or has social status, it can be the person next to you or even an equal. A mentor leads by example and is not always aware of the people following their example. By setting an example you are seen as a mentor. This is not always deliberately, but because of certain personal morals and values, you set an example to others. Being a mentor means exhibiting integrity and responsibility – inspiring and motivating others to reach their goals, being it in a business, or social environment.

Starting off in the business world, I was nervous and unsure about what to expect. I knew I wanted to lead my business by empowering and encouraging my employees. By leading in a positive and well-structured manner, you achieve optimal productivity and efficiency. A positive working environment will motivate not only yourself, but your employees as well. This will help them in gaining and building their knowledge. I want them to feel comfortable and respected in their profession. But trying to achieve this is not easy.

Virtual_Assistant_Mentor

Luckily, I have a person in my life that taught me how to achieve these goals.

I do not even think my mentor knows he has influenced my life in such a way, but he surely made an impact.

Abe Beukes, the winemaker at Yonder Hill, needs to be mentioned, even if this is only for myself.

Photo by Daniel Naude

 

What Leading by example means

Having Patience and Endurance

Abe has taught me, if I want to reach my goals, I will need patience and endurance. Seeing the way he treats his employees and work closely with them, showed me how to lead my business in a way to create a positive environment. I strive to have an open, but professional, relationship with my employees. To do so I need to be approachable and listen to them. He has not only taught me how to lead my business, but even though I achieved one of my goals, nothing stopped me in reaching other goals. I strive to not only be a good leader but also to improve my own knowledge. In this manner I can help my business gain greater success. Having him as my mentor has definitely prepared me in building my own independent business.

 

Developing one’s self

A mentor prepares and helps you to not to make the same mistakes, but rather improving yourself in your business. Being part of the Virtual Assistant (VA) world, showed me that having a mentor is an important aspect in developing one’s self. Without this knowledge, it would not have been easy to start my VA career. In my life I have had many mentors. Each of them had an impact on my life. Amongst all of these people, only a few revealed to be true mentors.  Working with all of these different people, I gained enough knowledge and experience to distinguish who I would like to be associated with. Abe is always open to answering questions.  He shows patience and open mindedness and tries to put himself in someone else’s shoes when questions are being asked.

Although being a renowned winemaker, and probably knowing everything that needs to be known to be a good winemaker, he still attends conferences, workshops and lectures to widen and improve his knowledge. He believes in constantly upskilling yourself.

 

Influencing the people around you

Having said all of this, each person chooses their own mentor. You as a person needs to decide what you want to achieve and how you want to be seen, in a business or social environment. When I started, I decided that I want to have a positive and encouraging effect on people’s lives. I realised that my previous mentors could not teach me in a way to successfully achieve this goal. That is why I decided to follow Abe’s lead. Having a mentor like him and achieving my goals, I can also strive in being a mentor to someone else. At the end of the day you will never know if you are someone’s mentor, but by exhibiting integrity, responsibility and positivity you can make a positive change in someone’s life.

In bringing this together I decided to take these words from this Franchise Growth Partners blog,  it perfectly summarizes the person I want to be in business and personally.  It starts with a choice to be the person you want to be:

Be willing to share skills, knowledge, and expertise. Always demonstrate a positive attitude.  Always try to take a personal interest in the mentoring relationship and exhibit enthusiasm in your profession.  Try to provide guidance and constructive feedback so that you can be respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization. Lastly value the opinions and initiatives of others and motivate by setting a good example.

Why should we continue new habits after Lockdown is over?

Why should we continue new habits after Lockdown is over?

The ever-looming word Lockdown has become a daily subject in every household across the world. Many countries have different rules and regulations; however, the end goal is ultimately the same.

Lockdown has forced humanity to change and develop new habits and ways of life. It is said, that on average a new habit takes approximately 21 days to form and integrate into our daily lives. Lockdown for most of us, has resulted in us being confined to our living quarters and has made us readjust our daily routines. Those in essential services are still braving the outside world and the rest of us are staying home and learning to navigate this current lifestyle.

 

Maintaining an optimum level of wellness

We have now seen that we don’t have to physically drive to the gym or sign up for a gym membership to actively exercise. Now we have no reason for excuses. There are many South Africans participating in the Mzansi Lockdown Marathon Challenge, running a total of 42 kilometers in 21 days in their gardens. Friends and family are having virtual exercise sessions together and many are learning new exercise regimes like Yoga.

The bottom line is it should not have taken a worldwide pandemic for some to add exercise to their daily routines. Exercise is vital in achieving an optimum level of wellness. All of a sudden, we find ourselves taken notice of what we eat and consuming copious amounts of vitamins. Eating healthy and making up for nutrients we are lacking in our daily diet is necessary, embrace this new healthy lifestyle and make it your new way of life. Skip the crash diets we all only start because there is a special occasion around the corner. A healthy body results in a healthy mind, so yes add achieving an optimum wellness to your list of new habits to keep.

 

Regular communication with loved ones

We should all ask ourselves why has it taken a pandemic to force so many of us to regularly interact with family and friends? The answer may be one regulation of Lockdown: Social Distancing.

Why is human interaction so important? It is important for our mental health. Social contact helps humans to cope with stress and major life changes. Yes, life gets busy, loved ones move abroad and there isn’t enough time in a day to do all things we want to achieve. Family and friends are our support structure throughout life, and we should ultimately interact and ‘check in’ on one another on a regular basis, regardless if life is looking up or down.

Nowadays, technology offers us so many exciting options to have virtual group interactive sessions like Zoom, Houseparty or WhatsApp. Recent social media trends have shown many of us uploading screenshots of group chats and participants are shown to be sporting big smiles. Make a pact with your family and friends to maintain regular communication after Lockdown, this will strengthen your support structure. Yes, this is added to the list of new habits to keep.

 

Increased cleaning and sanitization standards

Yes, of course we all washed our hands and cleaned our houses before the pandemic. However, the pandemic has once again forced us to increase the extent of any task. I’m sure most of us feel our sanity is slightly questionable, when we are singing Happy Birthday to ourselves in the bathroom mirror for 20 seconds, each time we wash our hands.

The fact of the matter is that our hygiene standards have obviously changed, we shower and launder our clothes excessively. We find ourselves sanitizing doorknobs and light switches on a daily basis and stock piling anti-bacterial detergents each time we see it on the shelf in the Supermarket (admit it, we are all doing it). Is heightened cleaning and sanitization standards an item we should add to the list of new habits we are going to keep? Add it to the list and adapt it to fit your new way of life after Lockdown. Create a weekly cleaning schedule, helping you to keep your home beaming with pride and destroying the pile of laundry you have been dreading all week. A cleaning routine will assist in achieving a peaceful home.

 

Be more sustainable

Lockdown trends have shown so many of us planting our own fruit and vegetables. Being stainable is the future, it is showing our planet how much we care. So, the answer is – absolutely yes, add being more sustainable to our list of new habits we are going to keep. Develop a recycling routine that works for you and your household inhabitants, recycle your fruit and vegetable peels, you can repurpose them as compost. Purchase the extra garbage bins and implement separating and recycling your garbage. Mother nature will thank you!

 

The art of Self-love

What does self-love mean? Self-love is taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Not settling for less than you deserve. Loving yourself does not mean you think you are the smartest or most beautiful person in the world. Self-love is defined as “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness”. Many of us now find we have the extra time on hands to do things we don’t normally have the time or energy for. Many of us are searching for hobbies and skills we can develop to keep us busy or better yet sane. Going forward let us make the time to love ourselves, we only get one life. Yes, we are adding this to our list of new habits to keep. Start out small and progress, schedule that weekly pamper session and wipe the dust off your Grandmother’s sewing machines you have always wanted to learn how to use. Take advantage of this opportunity and make the time to love yourself and develop your portfolio of skills.

 

Why?

Why should we continue these new habits even after Lockdown is over and this pandemic has ended? We only have one life and we should give it everything we have! Make the time, make the effort, life is short. Appreciate the small things in life, like freedom, you never know when it might be taken away, even if it is just temporarily. Adapt your new habits to life after Lockdown and be the person you have always strived to be, but never had the time to become, your time is now!

When is your Facebook post spam?

When is your Facebook post spam?

As marketers we need to focus on the big picture. We must communicate the right message to the right audience, and we need to do it at the right time. With Facebook there are so many tools to help you do this. But have you ever wondered if your posts could be seen as Spam?

Marketers have their work cut out for them when it comes to connecting with their followers without scaring them away. To state the obvious – no one likes spam and I too want to run away when it’s happening for the 10th time that day. We get spam on all platforms of social media, phone calls, text messages, you name it.

 

Bait

As a consumer I want my Facebook time to be my catch-up time. I don’t want to be bombarded by companies trying to sell me something. But what is spam? The word “unwanted” is used in the Cambridge English dictionary, but as a marketer, Facebook spam for me is “like this page if you like chocolates” and the “follow us if you are happy” kind of posts. To be honest it’s bait, not just spam. That’s not how you increase your followers. As marketers we need to be informative and not annoying. So, no, posting all day long is not the way to get the most engagement.

 

How to avoid spam posts

Make it relevant

To ensure that your readers are not considering your posts as spam, make it relevant. Do your research to establish the time your follower is active and schedule your post to be seen when they are online.

Time your posts

In terms of how many times you should post is up to you. However, the amount of times you post should be calculated by the life cycle of the post. The average post on Facebook has a life cycle of 90 minutes and will reach 75% of it’s potential in the first 5 hours. Therefore, my suggestion is, give your post time to do its work. Get the most out of each post by posting less.

Followers

Something you should also keep in mind is your follower count. We must keep to the rule of thumb which is posting twice a day should you have 10 000 followers. For companies with less followers, focus on quality and not quantity. As mentioned above, we need to post relevant posts and content. To bind the two together, a quality post is relevant, so do your homework on your followers to ensure you have an audience you are talking to.

Be consistent

In my opinion, if you are a small business you are still safe to post three times a week. The most important thing to keep in mind here is to be consistent. Have a posting schedule for the week or a month with your campaign running and don’t just post for the love of it.

Be accurate

Posting the wrong information could very well be the worst thing to do for your brand than posting too little.

In the end, be true to your brand identity and share valuable information with your followers. The results will sock you compared to posting whatever and whenever you want and not following your campaign plan.

How to find your happy place at home

How to find your happy place at home

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic that we are all facing at present I thought that it would be very appropriate to encourage everyone to find that place that you can call your happy place.

Do you have a happy place? A physical place that you can retreat to that grounds you and makes you feel peaceful and find balance. Finding your happy place sounds cliché, I know, but everyone has at least one. A happy place is a serine place that puts positive thoughts in your mind and a smile on your face. This is where we can be our true selves allowing ourselves to be present, casting aside grudges of the past and pausing our worries for the future.

 

Recharge your batteries

Everyone needs a place they can go to where they can step out of daily life and just relax. All of us need a place to recharge our batteries, where we feel safe and where we can do things that bring us joy. We all have that one place our mind immediately goes to when we imagine a safe and comfortable environment. It’s important to remember that your happy place mustn’t be something that uses up your energy,

I have a love affair with the beach.  There is something about looking out over the beautiful endless ocean, feeling the sand beneath my feet, and smelling that fresh salty air.  It never disappoints, rather it is always there to soothe my soul and dissipate my worries.  With each wave that rolls in, comes calm and loving energy. It is definitely my happy place.

When finding a happy place, you need to have an open-mind and be willing to try new things. It is always good to experience new things alone. You will know if the place or activity you are doing brings you peace of mind and become stress-free.

 

How it benefits you

A happy place gives you the chance to be in your own little world, feel happy and de-stress. Whether it be with a good book, a movie, a meal, exercising or at a relaxing spot. You get to find out what really makes you happy and how beneficial it is in your life. A happy place can get you out of a bad mood or a bad state of mind.

 

Creating Your Happy Place

  1. What kind of environments are you most drawn to?
  2. Where do you feel most energized and alive?
  3. Where do you feel most calm and at peace?
  4. It’s somewhere you feel safe.
  5. It has things in it you enjoy.
  6. It has privacy.
  7. You literally look forward to being there.
  8. You feel peace and joy in it.
  9. Take a few minutes to jot down a list of the places that always brings you the most pleasure.
  10. It could even be that your happy place isn’t physically real, but a mental place you can go to when you need to.

I hope that these 10 tips help you find your happy place.

 

Conclusion

If you don’t have a happy place, dealing with your stress and isolation during these very trying times will probably be much harder. Stay Safe!

My Top 4 Reads for 2020

My Top 4 Reads for 2020

The most influential and successful people in the business world are – reading. To quote one of my favourite investors of all times, Warren Buffett, ‘the key to success is reading, as much as 500 pages per day (yikes!)’ According to Buffett knowledge builds up like compound interest over time. Makes sense if you think about it a bit doesn’t it? Someone like Bill Gates, for example, reads about 50 books per year according to the Business Insider South Africa. Now to be honest with you I’m an avid reader, however this year I’ve got a lot going on so I decided my reading strategy will entail reading a selection of just four books. One for each quarter of this year. I’d rather read less than the average Bill Gates and take the time to implement the knowledge which I’ve gained than reading 50 books without implementing anything useful in my business.

 

These Titles Made It Successfully onto My Reading List

 

#What Makes Them Great? 50 Ways to Become the Industry Leader

By Douglas Kruger

Now to be honest this was my first purchase for my collection this year. So far, I haven’t been disappointed. I’m sure you’ve also wondered what the differentiating factor between the icons of a specific industry and those that are just ‘good’ at what they do might be. Well, I certainly have. That’s one of the reasons I find Kruger’s book so helpful as it gives 50 practical tips on how to achieve just that!

 

#How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age

By Dale Carnegie, Brent Cole

Some of you or maybe all of you might have come across this book before. You might already know Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends & Influence People released in 1936.  released in 1936. Yes, you read it right the first time… Since its release, it has sold over 15 million copies and has recently been adapted for the digital age. Now a book that endures the test of time certainly merits making my list.

 

#Beginner’s Pluck – Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now

By Liz Bohannon

In her book Beginner’s Pluck, Liz wants the reader to, ‘rethink everything you’ve been told about finding your passion and following your dreams’. Liz clarifies a whole lot in her book about the emphasis placed on finding your passion and instead focusses on the reality of building your passion and purpose as she puts it ‘actively, day-by-day’.

 

#Find Your Way – Unleash Your Power and Highest Potential

By Carly Fiorina

I recently listened to a leadership podcast interview with Carly Fiorina. Like most South Africans I’d never heard of her before then. However, her journey from secretary to becoming the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company sounded remarkable and I adding her book to my 2020 must-read list was a no-brainer.

 

Bringing it together

Dear reader, from experience I have seen first-hand what consistent reading, gaining knowledge and expanding your horizons can achieve for our personal and professional lives. I know that reading doesn’t necessarily come naturally to everyone, but I really want to encourage you to give it a try before reaching for the audio versions of the book. For the simple – in an era where communication is turning more digital by the second, it is imperative that we improve our reading comprehension and communication skills. I believe without a doubt that effective communication will serve us well while we actively grow our business’.