By Amanda Khoza, Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion, Liberty Group
I once belonged to a dance hall
Not the type that you go to jol
With lithe limbs I would leap
Up the air to each beep
Must make sure I don't ever fall
Also owned a pair of pointe shoes
Knew the rhythm and beats and cues
Now my couch is my bed
Sure I should have long fled
Now I sing of overweight blues
Delicate and airy, there's a quiet energy present and the suspense for action hangs in the shadows of the wings. A slow, deep rumble comes from the belly of the auditorium; it’s the percussion accompanied by the bass of the tuba and the slow beat of the throaty trombone which sync in unison and moving marching fervour. The eerie sound of a lone violin gently pierces the air; trembling and easing the low octave into a mellow warm sound.
On cue, the corps de ballet of dancers enters, en pointe, to the centre of the stage. The silence in the audience is palpable, as though everyone is holding their breath in anticipation. The troupe arabesque like the slow fluttering of butterfly wings, and then ups the tempo by effortlessly doing a series of pirouettes and foutte turns. You can see the power and agility in their nimble limbs as they execute beautiful grand jete developpe leaps of precision, before exiting gracefully and a collective sigh of triumph and a boisterous emphatic "BRAVI!" comes from the crowd.
It's a shout of acknowledgement of the skill of the dancers as well as of their own presence amongst fellow connoisseurs of the arts. This is a privileged life; if we thought about it closely, we would see how that privilege is ours too. Whether we dance or are danced for; whether we choreograph or perform; whether we are patrons or it's our debut.
We all are part of this dance of life and that is essentially what business is about.
To supply, to serve, to produce, to consume, to build, to process, to consult we could trudge along or fudge it, nonetheless the audience anxiously watches. So many parts to consider; like in ballet, let’s assume 3 positions to sum up what compels and sustains the business person. First position, the power of a well-developed idea and executed plan gives you the opportunity to audition. To be able to present your idea well and to show that you can perform starts forming your availability to participate. If you can feel music you can dance – in your own unique way. I believe if you can think, you can ideate. Warm up; be prepared for this performance. Realise your possibility.
Second position gives us access to contracts which provides further opportunity to prove your ability and credibility to deliver. The opportunity to be solicited, to be invited; to sell, to perform - should not be taken lightly. Professional dancers put in the time, they sharpen their trade, and they fine-tune their skills. Just as they are many dancers in a troupe - they seek the principal ballerina spot - they know the value that is unique to them in that grouping. In business, your competitive edge will advance you that spot but being an option is valued too. It's about starting and staying the course and not being intimidated by other options out there. Sustain your optionality.
As your offering is selected and you deliver to high standards, a time may come to expand which sets us in third position. When growing and reaching greater potential is presented, then you must just show up - well turned out, with resources with the input of a skilled designer, strategist and choreographer. Giving expert insights, upskilling and stretching to the utmost of your capacity, but you must not over-stretch yourself. Like any dancer, that could take you out for a count and we don’t want that now, do we? Show you can do more, whilst showing you have everything in check and on point. Simply: be clear on who you are, what you can do, how you will do it, where you are going, and how you will get there. Increase your investability.
Like many children who start out with dreams of prancing on that stage - only those who remain committed to their craft are able to stay the course. As the music starts whether classical or hip-hop, gear up for the performance of your life. Entrepreneurs need to applaud themselves daily, that they have chosen this life, this dance of life. Don’t forget your possibility, optionality and investability - realise your idea, sustain your relevance and invite us to the show. Brava! Bravo! Bravi!
Amanda Khoza is the Divisional Director: Transformation & Inclusion at Liberty Group, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a passionate advocate for economic empowerment, financial literacy, and believes in the power of entrepreneurship to make real and lasting societal change happen on the African continent. Amanda is championing a host of initiatives for women entrepreneurs in South Africa, including partnering with Lionesses of Africa on the Lioness Lean In Liberty Sessions programme for intrapreneurs at Liberty, supporting The Mix newsletter each month as an impact partner, and joining with Standard Bank as the impact partners for the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator programme series in Johannesburg.
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