I live by the dictum that one should always act with intent and purpose. Experience is always valuable, but what really matters is how you use the expertise you have gained during each phase of your life journey.
During the three years I was self-employed as a logistics broker and commodities trader, I experienced both a commodities boom and the 2008 financial crisis. Visionary partners and a dose of chutzpah led us to apply for mining rights. We were patient, we were resilient and the market moved in our favour.
I have seen that choosing knowledgeable and dynamic partners has consistently been the stand-out catalyst for business growth and diversification.
As a young man, I was clear on the way my life would play out. I grew up knowing that I would complete my studies and immediately return to Upington and get involved in the family business founded by my grandfather. After graduation, I returned to Upington full of optimism and excitement.
Within a few months, the business was sold.
I had to recalibrate very quickly - I was out of a job with no plan. It felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet. I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was the first of many instances in my life where a door closing turned out to clear the path for a new, better direction.
I learned that we are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, we can build it up and draw on resilience when we need it.
Nothing teaches you the nuts and bolts of business like a family-owned business. I gained negotiation skills, humility and an appreciation of what it takes to be successful.