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Working while foreign

Working while foreign

I don’t think we realise how difficult it is, for a second language Black person to thrive in a Eurocentric workplace, which no offence, is the culture or South Africa’s corporate. I’m not saying that should change. I am saying that Black people who did not receive education from multiracial schools should cut themselves some slack if they are struggling in this environment.

Just learning another language is not easy, it takes a child about 7 years to speak at a basic level. Many black people will probably have their first academic class in 100% English in their first year of University . Since people make friends with people they are comfortable with, if they never have a white friend in university; the first 100% English conversation they are going to have is at the workplace.

Another obstacle Black people face, is that we often measure confidence by how assertive and outspoken a person is. We talk about negotiating for a salary raise and a promotion; about self promotion and articulating your transferable skills, making bold legacy changing decisions, etc

For a Black African woman, these are the same things she has and continues to be told they are shameful behaviours (uyaphapha, uyadelela, uyaqhoma.)

The same measures of success in a Eurocentric workplace are a shameful behaviours in most African cultures.

When one works in an environment where, who they are and how they do things is foreign. It takes more and often longer for that person to thrive, to feel and be seen as capable; the imposter syndrome is real.

So cut yourself some slack if your first leadership position happens only when you are in your forties as compared to the young Black woman who studied abroad and is the youngest executive at 28. Ignore the white person who insists on correcting your grammar instead of listening to the core message. Forgive yourself for not speaking up when you could have because you blanked and the ‘right words’ didn’t come.

You are working while foreign. In a culture whose nuances you are still learning and you are doing great .

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below ⬇️ to book a 30 Minutes ‘3 stage plan to achieving your goals session’ with me.

https://koalendar.com/e/meet-with-busisiwe-hlatswayo

For other ways to connect:

https://linktr.ee/Blackwomenintheworkplace

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Are you really living a life of integrity?

Are you really living a life of integrity?

I’ve always thought of the definition of integrity as being ethical and honest. I was fascinated when I came across the second definition of integrity which is being integrated, embodied,etc. As opposed to split, divided, disjointed, etc.

I have realised that prevalent socialisation did not support my integration. The religion I grew up in was very much about suppressing my feelings and thoughts for principle. The productivity culture is also about ignoring the body and forcing it to do what needs to be accomplished. The men are from Mars and woman are from Venus philosophy divided us into the binary of logic and emotion, with logic/male being superior of course.

The concept of integrity and embodiment encourages the integration of my feelings, thoughts, values, my body and my spirit into alignment with my ultimate purpose.

Incorporating this in my work as a coach has been such a game changer. I’ve noticed that with some of my clients are quite logical and therefore talk is an easy way for them to integrate concepts into a change in behaviour. With some, you can’t reach them with logic, you have to go

into the body, it’s only when they feel the change in the body that change becomes integrated.

The question for you then becomes, how has the prevailing socialisation created a splitting of who you are into unintegrated parts? What wisdom are you giving up by being detached from your body? Or from your emotions? How can you be in integrity with all of who you are?

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

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Are you willing to leave spaces that cannot handle the fullness of who you are?

Are you willing to leave spaces that cannot handle the fullness of who you are?

I have come to the realisation that I am not for everyone. That different people receive me differently and that impacts on how fully I can show up with those people.

There are people who can’t stand me. I’m too much for them. Everything about me is too exaggerated for them. When I am around them I feel too much, I feel like I have to shrink and censure myself to make the interaction bearable.

Then there are people who like the idea of me but can’t handle the fullness of who I am. They welcome some parts of me but cannot contain or make space for other parts of me. They may enjoy my mind but cannot handle my boundaries or my power. Their company requires me to split myself into parts so I can be palatable to them.

Then there are those who embrace the fullness of who I am . Whose presence affirms the importance of the different parts of who I am in the making of all of who I am. What I’ve observed is that those are people who are in full acceptance and in integrity with the whole of who they are. As a result, they don’t need to require others to split themselves.

My work is to learn to discern what kind of company I am in. To actively choose to spend more time with my real tribe. Those who are in integrity with all of who they are, that they are able to do the same for me.

Are you too much, or are you expecting more from those around you than they have the capacity to give you? Is it time to find your real tribe?

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

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How can you live this day, the way you want to live the rest of your life?

How can you live this day, the way you want to live the rest of your life?

When I was young everything was about preparation for the future. At some point in my mid thirties I realised that this is the future. I started pondering what it means to live in ‘the future’. Turning 40 a couple of years ago made me realise how short life is. I had lived probably half my life and was left with just over two decades maybe three of active work life. I had already lived over two decades and it’s not that long.

I’ve also come to realise that you get what you want by becoming or living what you want to see happen physically in your life. If you want to run marathons you don’t start with running the Comrades, you start with running for 30 minutes and build up from there. If you want to travel, you don’t start with a trip around the world. You start by doing touristy things locally for a couple of hours on weekends.

A couple once said that if a woman wants him to buy her expensive shoes, she must bring him an old pair of expensive shoes to demonstrate that, that’s who she is. It was hilarious then but he had a point. Like attracts like, you attract into your life what you become. How can you become more and more of who you want to become?

What is this big thing that you want to accomplish that seems so impossible and overwhelming? Is it becoming your own boss, an Executive, a Senior Manager, a thought leader, a whole different career.

Maybe it’s not a position you are looking for maybe it’s a feeling – is it peace? restfulness, confidence, courage, freedom or abundance.

How do you carve a little bit of that in your daily life now? Can you take more naps so you feel a little rested? Can you start interviewing, reading on leaders who look like you, so you can practice your own version of what they are?

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

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Do you really think you are that powerful?

Do you really think you are that powerful?

It is starting to dawn to me that Black men have decided that Black women are responsible for everything that’s going badly in their lives and in society as a whole. I’m baffled by this thinking, how are we that powerful? I’ve been following the discussion on my instagram page and it doesn’t seem to matter what the issue is, there are those Black men who will come out and tie it to how it is the Black women’s fault. The latest of which is the latest police killing in the US, someone decided it is somehow the fault of single Black women.

Black women please don’t fall into this trap. Please don’t take responsibility for taking care of, being the pillar of strength for, taking financial and emotional responsibility for everyone in your family, church, community, friendships. It is a tunnel with no light at the end. They will still find reasons to resent you – if you think this is to buy their love and appreciation. I’ve seen it with older women in my family. I hear it from the Black women that I coach.

It is an early grave waiting to happen, it is life style diseases, it is madness, alcoholism, chronic depression and bitterness waiting to happen. What is going to happen is that you are going to take it out on your children if you have them and they are going to resent you for life.

I sit with Black women who are in jobs that are strangling the life out of them but they can’t pay for coaching services that will help them because they are prioritising everyone else. Their career are stagnating because they just have too many responsibilities, their energy is too scattered. They are in toxic workplaces but they won’t live because some people there depend on them.

Being over responsible for adults in your life is not love it is codependency, it is enmeshment. There are no boundaries, you don’t know where to start and where they end.

Some of you need to start adopting the former prime minister Jacinda Arden’s words and say that you have nothing on your tank. I dare you to fast from helping any adult for one year and see if those people will not find it elsewhere or in themselves. Use that time to fill up your tank, do some healing work, invest in yourself. This is not for everyone and circumstance differ. If this one is for, you know it.

Girl! you are not that powerful.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

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Are you giving yourself enough grace?

Are you giving yourself enough grace?

Working as a Black woman in Corporate, especially as a first Corporate professional in your family can feel like being thrown in a as a player in complicated game without being given the rules and tools of the game.

The Black experience is not monolithic, however most of us were given two tools to navigate the workplace; a qualification and good manners. We were taught that as long as we have an education and we are good girls, all will be well. These are just inadequate.

This is not about blaming our parents, they did the best they could while living in survival, worrying about providing basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter.

There is also no class in university that teaches you how to navigate a corporate culture that is based on a western culture that is foreign from yours, with different rules than your own. Nor is the a class that prepares you for the biases and discrimination that you are going to face, not just because you are woman or that you are Black, but because you are both.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes, you are going to fail. You are going to have a lot of blind spots. You are going to have give yourself the grace to navigate this imperfectly.

You are going to get yourself a different education. The one you didn’t get from your parents, the one you didn’t get as part of your formal education. The one that you get penalised for not having in the workplace. You are going to do it because this is your fight, your livelihood, your fulfilment, your joy. You are going to do it because you can.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

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Will you give yourself the permission to lean in into the discomfort?

Will you give yourself the permission to lean in into the discomfort?

As a Black woman in the workplace, what do you do when you learn that you are not a perfect victim? Do you dig in, go into denial or do you lean in to the discomfort to learn what wisdom it has for you. Two truths can be true at the same time, you can be a victim of racism, sexism and unconscious bias. While at the same time sabotaging your career because of your own unknown unknowns.

The truth is coming from a marginalised group come with its own limitations. You are more likely to be among the first professional in your career and beyond get an education and work hard, you might not have adequate knowledge and skills of how to intentionally and successful navigate a career.

For an example; you might be viewed from a stereotypical lens and also have a cultural mismatch with the leadership of your organisation. In the book titled Corporate Tribalism, the author’s research that the western culture of individualism, self reliance and self advocacy is vastly different from non western identities where the is reliance on the wisdom of authority and your manager is your scorecard.

You don’t want to take responsibility for what you may not be responsible for;i.e. the biased way that people view or treat you. However you have a responsibility to own and manage your career. Including learning what winning looks like in your career and workplace and becoming aware of and working on your weaknesses.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

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Are you allowing time to be your tyrant?

Are you allowing time to be your tyrant?

There seems to be a general consensus that time is limited and we have to make productive use of each moment. The Covid-19 lockdown showed us that this is not true. There is plenty of time and a lot of what we choose to fill our time with is not necessary. Among the many gifts that the pandemic gave me, this paradigm shift is one I cherish the most.

The inheritance of racist and sexist oppression is the denial of our humanity, reducing it to working equipment in service of our masters. Slavery, colonisation and apartheid turned our bodies to that of workers who live and not human being who work. The trauma of that still live in our psyche and our ways of being and seeing ourselves.

For Black girls this was extended into the home where their whole lives were about how much hard work they can do in service to their family of their origin and in preparation to be hard working wives, the pride of their husbands and mothers in law. Where it was considered a shame for a girl to sit around and do nothing.

When we get to the workplace and entrepreneurship it becomes all about the grind and the hustle. It becomes about how hard you can work and be seen to be working. Popular slogans of the productivity slaughterhouse put down sleeping and resting and just being, as a sign of what ‘they’ said you are: a lazy…

Part of decolonising ourselves becomes reconciling ourselves with time. Upholding rest and self care as just as important as work. Audrey Lorde – writing about her struggles with cancer- says that we need to be able to differentiate between over exertion and stretching ourselves. That self care is not an act of self-indulgence but of self preservation and that is political warfare.

By all means be dedicated to your work, but please leave some of yourself for your own and loved ones enjoyment. You are just as valuable when you are being productive as you are when you are not.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

https://koalendar.com/e/meet-with-busisiwe-hlatswayo

For other ways to connect:

https://linktr.ee/Blackwomenintheworkplace

Are you missing the power of this moment?

Are you missing the power of this moment?

I find it fascinating and sad that after experiencing a huge breakthrough some of my coaching clients would focus on how many years they have wasted obsessing over this thing that has taken less than an hour to process and release.

It saddens me that, instead of celebrating this huge breakthrough, this freedom that they have just created for themselves. They are still stuck at how long it took to get there. Regretting the opportunities they’ve lost and the progress they would have made.

This is often because they believe the lie that they should be further than this . Maybe they would, maybe they are where they should be right now. Can they know this for sure? Does it really matter?

There is so much power in the present moment. Don’t miss it by focusing on the past and being anxious of the future. Don’t crowd the power of this moment with failures and limitations of the past.

What would you allow yourself to accomplish now if you were to let go of what you haven’t accomplished so far?

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

For other ways to connect:

Don’t you know, that what you don’t know can hurt you?

Don’t you know, that what you don’t know can hurt you?

I recently coached a Black woman, she was not the first one to come to me with problem. She failed to qualify to become a CA (Chartered Accountant) over a decade ago. Even though she is a smart, hard working woman, she has been stuck with this failure and it has dampened her confidence and stagnated her career.

I have so much compassion on these women because that was my story for so many years as someone who failed to qualify to be a CA as well, and who battled the same feelings for a number of years.

It wasn’t until I came across a tweet by Khaya Sithole @CoruscaKhaya unpacking the systematic racism and exclusionary practices that contributed to the high failure rate of Black CA candidates in South Africa; that I allowed my getting over that failure to begin.

Carl Jung once said ‘Until you make the subconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate’. Which means that if you don’t uncover the subconscious beliefs that direct your life, you will assume that the outcomes of your life are fated.

I would say to Black women ‘if you do not make the impact of the historic and systematic racism and sexism conscious; they will direct your life and you will internalise it as a personal failure’.

The other factor that intensified my internalised incompetence over this failure was the fact that some Black people who looked like me who qualified. I fell into the trap of assuming a monolithic experience of all Black people. I wasn’t mindful specific advantages that they might have had, that allowed them to pass when I couldn’t.

This is what Michelle Obama elucidates in her latest book, that she had some advantages that allowed her to push through. We all fall in a spectrum of privilege.

We fail ourselves and our children when we do not educate ourselves about the impact of racism and sexism, so we can better contextualise our experiences. This is what Megan Harkle’s mother attested to. That if she knew then what she knows now, she would have better prepared her daughter for the implications of being a Black woman.

Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?

Click the Link below or ⬇️ in the Bio ⬆️to book a Free 30 Minutes Career Strategy Session with me.

https://koalendar.com/e/meet-with-busisiwe-hlatswayo

For other ways to connect:

https://linktr.ee/Blackwomenintheworkplace