Authenticity Is The New Power Suit

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Takalani Netshitenzhe is the External Affairs Director of Vodacom SA

Over and above the usual pressure to succeed in the high-performance corporate workplace, many women still have to deal with the added pressures of racial, gender and social discrimination.

This can amount to not feeling good enough about oneself and struggling to cope in an already competitive environment leading to mental distress. Rather than talking about it, women keep quiet because of fear of being seen as inadequate or labelled as misfits.

Two years ago, as part of enhancing my auspicious public and private sector career journey, I enlisted the services of a leadership coach for both my professional and personal growth. It took a lot of courage to undertake this coaching journey, which started with allowing myself to be vulnerable professionally and acknowledging that I have weaknesses and strengths.

However, looking back, I am confident that investing in myself has been worth it, because it made me realise that it is okay to have imperfections and to make mistakes. I learned to accept and to love myself for who I am, and most importantly, when and how to say no to the things that do not add value to my life. Although I admire certain traits in others, I do not copy them, because I believe to be an effective leader and person, that is when I am true to myself.

I find that staying truthful to myself gives me peace; and professionally, it helps to build trust. Unfortunately, trust is one of the missing ingredients in the corporate world because it is a highly competitive environment. I find that trust is also one of the missing ingredients in society. I believe that it is only when we learn to trust one another that we will truly learn to live out Ubuntu – to embrace our neighbours and colleagues as a part of us. I believe in a society where there’s mutual respect for each other’s views, choices, aspirations, needs, ambitions and dreams – a world free from fear and free from want. This is the world I want us to see, build, and live in.

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