Sharesce Akaloo, Sasfin’s Head of Risk & Compliance, B\\YOND Business Banking, has a simple approach to life. She decides what she wants to achieve, and then she works out what she needs to do to succeed.
It sounds so simple, but as we know, execution is everything, as well as having the right mindset. Here are Sharesce’s lessons in breaking through the conventional paradigms and finding success.
1. Embrace self-confidence
In my experience, one of the biggest reasons both men and women set goals that appear unattainable is their lack of trust in their own ability and agility. Success is attained through shattering mind constructs that box you into fear of failure. You need to visualise your ambitions with foreseeable risks and opportunities, and then acknowledge and embrace them. If you avoid or ignore experiences that scare you, you run the greater risk of never fulfilling your dreams.
In a corporate world, which is intimidating by its very nature, people often fear how their ideas and input will be perceived. This can lead to a deliberate choice to shrink into the background, in fear of not attaining validation. The reality is that it takes diverse views and experiences to build and deliver anything great. Never underestimate your contribution, and the respectability of your view. Be brave enough to use your frame of reference as a springboard. This means accepting that for some individuals in the corporate world, family trumps their priority list, whilst for others building a career is at the top. Neither is right or wrong. Tap into those personal experiences to provide meaningful input into the organisation and your personal career. Most importantly be comfortable in that skin and work around it.
2. You can’t limit your challenges, but can always challenge your limits
I live by this mantra. In my personal experience, I recollect being thrown into the deep end from day one. Experiential learning is so often underestimated. Use this as an opportunity to access real-time coaching and feedback. Apply an inquisitorial approach and a growth mindset. These challenges often help you catapult towards your goals, or provide redirection towards an unforeseen more fulfilling path. Perseverance and steering clear from the allure of instant gratification is key. If you want to grow and succeed you need to have grit and tenacity and be in it for the long haul. Don’t shy away from anything outside your comfort zone. Be adventurous and bring along the gear required for that adventure.
3. Emotional Intelligence is vital
The ability to appropriately manage and express emotions is vital. We work within a corporate, but people are our greatest assets. Richard Branson famously said, “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” It is crucial to remember that we are all people collaborating towards a common vision. We need to be cognisant of our impact on each other and the fact that personal matters can have a fundamental impact on a person. Needless to say, the human element in us doesn’t cease to exist at the office. The ability to communicate effectively is also a key component of overcoming challenges and being productive.
Open and honest communication is always a two-way street. I personally believe in giving people opportunities and watching them go beyond their frame of reference, stretching themselves and accomplishing what they deemed near impossible. The beauty is that anyone can be empowered, when aligned to the right opportunities. This is one of the cornerstones to leadership.
Healthily channeling our emotions is equally important. Women are naturally associated with being emotional in the working environment. I personally own that this is a natural inclination for myself as a woman, which can be managed if channeled appropriately. My first mentor was male. He assisted me in mastering the art of thinking rationally and assessing the situation before determining the best course of action. Emotions can then be harnessed into productive energy. Mary Shelley’s statement “I don’t wish women to have power over men; but over themselves” comes to mind. It’s important to acknowledge our innate differences, accept learnings from each other, network and collaborate to hone our respective talents.
4. Hunt for opportunities
Each day is filled with challenges and friction. This can dim your light or provide incredible opportunities; it all comes down to mindset and knowing yourself. It’s important to try new things without fear of failure but rather seeing all opportunities as stepping stones. I ventured into the business of a beauty salon in pursuit of diversifying my personal portfolio. While it was a great building block and learning opportunity, I ultimately realised that I was not meant to be a beauty salon owner. That’s okay. My fit became apparent to me, the professional domain is where I must continue to play. There’s a lot of power in knowing yourself and where you should be.