‘Look beyond the present to a bright future’

OWN YOUR IDENTITY: Dr Sharon Munyaka spoke at a BWA workshop in Linkside last week Picture: GERDIE DE LANGE -
OWN YOUR IDENTITY: Dr Sharon Munyaka spoke at a BWA workshop in Linkside last week Picture: GERDIE DE LANGE –

Matrics urged to go beyond the ordinary

POSITIVE psychology may be a business buzz word but it also was key to the message Dr Sharon Munyaka imparted to her audience at a Businesswomen’s Association career workshop last week in Port Elizabeth. Munyaka was one of six women addressing 100 matric girls from high schools around the metro at Linkside High School last week.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University doctor of commerce graduate was one of the forerunners of Positive Organisational Scholarship at the campus, and put the focus on the “positive” in her BWA talk.

As an industrial psychologist in private practice she explores ways of positively transforming individuals, teams and organisations.

“Different opportunities exist for all of us but you need to know where you want to go; have the vision to see beyond your present circumstances towards your future. The difference is in how you do this,” she said.

“A potential employer may see five CVs with the same marks but will choose the one that shows something more than just those grades. If you are going to lead, it takes work and courage and you will stand out.”

Munyaka – one of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Top 40 Under 40 business achievers for 2015 and a finalist in the BWA regional achiever awards last year – said business success did not necessarily come easily. Having worked in the public health sector and in academia, she left formal employment to set up her own consultancy. But then, one of her mantras is courtesy of Facebook chief executive officer Sheryl Sandberg, who asked: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

“It starts with me and I believe in what I am doing,” Munyaka said.

“I’ve always known I was destined for greatness. I may be young and a woman, that has not stopped me so far, and I may be black, but what does that have to do with it?”

She keeps her own focus on the future noting “the front windscreen is bigger than my rear-view mirror”. She said your rear-view mirror should not determine your destination.

She encouraged her audience not to give up in the face of obstacles but rather to say: “All right, game on, let’s do it again, practice makes perfect”.

“We are all ordinary but we can be extraordinary,” she said, noting that the difference between those who were successful and failed was that the first would “get up, check what it is that you did wrong and try it again – because you are amazing”.

“Are you reading the newspaper and listening to the news?” she asked, citing the xenophobia which has hit the country. “You have got to take an interest in what is going on around you. Use your brain to think – you have the power to think for yourself so start interrogating the world around you.

“And love whatever you do – love it enough to fight for it and own it.”

-Gillian McAinsh


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