The fourth #SheSays event took place on Tuesday, 26 February 2019, at the incredible Naskdak rooftop venue in Cape Town. The theme for the evening was around career boldness and what it takes to break away from the comfort zone.
The moderator for the evening, SheSays director Anelde Greeff, asked the all-female panel of speakers to share their stories of braveness, the risks they have taken to get where they are today and how they have navigated ups and downs along the way.
When opening the conversation around braveness, Pride Maunatlala, Head of Marketing at Foschini, shared that she believes it all starts by taking the time to listen to yourself, to trust your gut and believe in your purpose. “We all have that voice. Listen to it.”
Stefania Johnson, former ECD and shareholder at FCB South Africa agreed and then explained that she doesn’t believe a comfort zone always is a bad thing – comfort is something all humans seek. “The most dangerous comfort zone, says Stefania, “is that of the mind.” The moment you are no longer engaging in things outside of your ‘bubble’ is when comfort starts to become dangerous.
“It is important to take your mind for a walk”, adds Stefania. Learn new things about industries or topics you don’t usually spend much time on and form an opinion around that. Jackie Burger, Founder of Salon 58 and former Editor-in-Chief at Elle South Africa built on this by saying that a comfort zone is often a necessary evil. “If you are ever feeling stuck, you need to ask yourself “What is the worst that can happen?”.
Pride shared that often, “the only thing standing in the way of your purpose is yourself.” She adds that a person is often their biggest enemy. “Only once you acknowledge a barrier for what it truly is are you able to find a way around it.”
When looking to move out of your comfort zone, Stefania says that there is a big difference between taking risks and acting recklessly. Katherine Pichulik, Founder and Designer at Pichulik added to this and explained that she views risk as a muscle. “It’s not necessarily the best decision to make life-altering changes on a whim. Risks needs to be treated as a process. Try taking small steps towards your bigger end goal – exercise the ‘risk muscle’.”
But with great risk, comes the great unknown. This can often lead to what has been dubbed as the ‘imposter syndrome’. While it was acknowledged that it is normal to feel this at some point in our lives, we need to “forget about imposter syndrome, says Pride, “everyone is making it up as they go along. You are doing okay.” Katherine added to this by saying we are all on our own journey, we all have our own stories, and we all belong.
Of course, when moving away from the comfort zone, there is often the fear of failure. For Jackie, she believes that we need to start embracing our failures. “Failure isn’t the problem – failure is an opportunity to learn. The problem is all the drama that surrounds failure – the self-doubt that accompanies failure is the real demon.”
Stepping out your comfort zone can be a scary journey, but let’s face it, if Beyoncé has an alter-ego to get into the mindset for her concerts, then it might be a good idea to create an alter ego of your own. It works for the panel.
Note: Sadly, Asha Patel, Head of Marketing at Google SA was unable to make it
A big thank you to our sponsors and partners Media24, The Bill Murray Process Consultant, Pongracz, XL Events, Woolworths, DNG Presentation Staging and Friday Street Club.
Photographs by the Estee de Villiers Photography.
Words: Brittney Kok