We all experience life changing events that challenge us in many ways but, what happened to me in June 2016 changed me forever but, before I get into that…
As you enter the job market, you might find that there are a lot of buzzwords thrown around, including the terms career and job. You might be looking for a career, but you aren’t going to enter the career market! For years, I have been telling employees, colleagues and friends that there is a big difference between a job and a career. Little did I know that there was another twist to that saying… there is a difference between a career you control and a career someone else controls.
According to the Dictionary, a job is a piece of work, especially a specific task done as part of the routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price whereas, a career is an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.
According to The Balance today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career. It is not often, if at all that a person changes their career. A career is for life, or so I thought until I had the carpet pulled from under my feet.
My Career Journey
I started my career in 1986 with a 3-year apprenticeship as an electronics technician. After obtaining my qualification I started looking for the best way to enhance my career growth as a qualified technician which, I found in the entertainment industry more specifically in a casino. This was the biggest casino in Southern Africa at the time.
During my 5-year term at that venue my career went from slot technician to floor supervisor to shift manager. This was achieved through in-house training programs as well as being nominated for an advanced management course.
In 1994 South Africa went through a big change with Nelson Mandela being elected as president. This brought changes to the gambling law in South Africa which now allowed for the issuing of 40 casino licences.
This was a great opportunity and I further increased my skills in this industry by joining a recruitment and training company that was equipping the new casinos in South Africa with staff. My position involved interview and selection followed by technical training.
In 1999 I was recommended by a colleague to a new casino that was due to open in 8 months. This casino required a Technical Manager for which my application was successful. This first 6 months involved long hours setting up the casino floor and ensuring all equipment was in the right place and operational.
My term at this casino saw my career grow further into being offered the position of Acting General Manager after which I was promoted to General Manager 6 months later. This was a huge challenge at the time but being the highly motivated and driven person that I am, it took the bull by the horns (so to speak) and settled into my position that I held for 5-years.
Opportunity For International Travel
In 2005 I was head hunted by the same colleague that referred me to this casino, for a position with a casino equipment manufacturer in The Netherlands. This was an amazing opportunity to further advance my career as well as travel around Europe. My application was successful and in 2007 I relocated to The Netherlands to start my new job as Regional Sales Manager.
This meant that I was separated from my family and my sons (5 and 6 years old at the time) but the fact that I could travel to South Africa 4 times a year and my increased earning capacity, meant I could ensure my responsibilities as a divorced father and provider.
My 4-and-a-half-year term in The Netherlands saw me travel to Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Austria, London, Italy, Venice, Greece, Iceland, Morocco, Egypt Lebanon and even as far as Las Vegas.
I was grateful to have this fantastic opportunity and I made the most of it despite the long hours and continuous travel and eventually was selected to join the Product Management team. This move saw me take a trip to Macau with a delegation from the United States and Europe.
Going Back Home
In 2011 my sons were fast approaching their early teenage years and I felt the need to be there to help guide them into the early manhood challenges. My wish to be back with my sons in South Africa was granted in early 2011 when I was again head hunted by the same colleague as before, to apply for a position as Sales Manager Africa, based in south Africa.
I took up the challenge being the driven person I am and was appointed in the position and relocated to Johannesburg South Africa in august 2011. I was back home and certain that this is where I will remain. I had the opportunity to travel around Africa including Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Mauritius.
I was in heaven with being able to spend so much more time with my sons during this important phase of their lives. My weekends where spent supporting my sons in rugby during season and having them spend weekends with me out of season. Our bond was the strongest it had ever been.
Just as I was settled in my new home and had all the quality time with my sons that I had wished for, I was again head hunted (by the same colleague as before) for a position as Product Manager EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) based in London, United Kingdom.
This would not be an easy decision and I felt I had to discuss this with my sons to get their opinions as they were now young men of 15 and 16 years. I was surprised at their reaction in that they supported my move if that is what I wanted. They knew that despite the distance between us, I was always there for them no matter what.
I was flown to London for the interview process which was successful and in March 2015 I relocated to take up my post as Product Manager EMEA. I was once again given the opportunity to travel around Europe and this time I added a few more countries to my list being Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and as far as India and Australia.
This new post meant I once again added to my skills due to the challenging and highly stressful position but manageable work stress is not a bad thing and keeps you on your heels. I settled into the position within 8 months and was delivering what was expected of me and more which, is something I have always done throughout my career.
I have always looked for ways of improving my knowledge and skills and it proved helpful in my career advancement over the years.
My Life-Changing Event
In 2016 my world was about to be shaken in a way I never expected or thought could happen. I have always referred to the gambling industry as a big industry but a small family. Throughout the years I had created a network of numerous people who were now spread all over the globe and everyone knew everyone.
It was through this network that I was approached in 2016 by an employment agent representing a competitor who was interested in making me an offer of employment. It happened to be the same company that I worked for in The Netherlands but, this only became apparent after the first telephone interview.
With the “family” being so small as mentioned before, my current employer (who is the colleague I have referred to in my career advancement), came to know of this and approached me to confirm if this was in fact true. I have always conducted myself with the highest levels of integrity in my career and confirmed to him that I was contacted by a competitor.
Within 2 weeks of my employer making the enquiry with me, I found myself on garden leave (told to stay home with full pay) after which my contract was cancelled. This all happened while the employer who contacted me was deciding on offering me employment which meant, I did not have a position at the time.
Feelings Of Dispair
I have experienced many challenges in life as we all do but, this one was without a doubt one of the most stressful, fearful and anxious times in my life. I was in a foreign country, away from my sons and without work. The shortest way to describe the month preceding my contract cancellation is… DESPAIR!
I look back now with gratitude for starting my personal development journey in 2007 when I started reading self-help books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins, The Power Of Now by Eckart Tolle, Law Of Attraction by Michael Losier and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki to mention a few.
The personal development techniques I learnt throughout the last 9 years would empower me to take control of my life, accept what had happened and start to plot a path for the future. I had to find a way past, over or through this feeling of despair and… I did!
I remember clearly what caused the sudden change of despair to freedom. I turned to my personal development resources and during my search online for motivation, I came across this question… “What is another way I can look at this?”
This sentence silenced the noise in my head and made me think deeply about the message this event was trying to send me. Within a few days of asking myself this question, the feeling of despair changed to freedom. How you ask? This takes me back to a comment I made earlier which is “there is a difference between a career you control and a career someone else controls”.
Even though I had invested 26-years in building a highly successful career, it was never in my control and this event made that very clear. In a moment of decision (reasons which to this day I do not comprehend as they were never explained), my employer had all but brought my career to a grinding halt. If you recall, the new employer had not made any offer prior to my contract being cancelled.
Arriving at that realization lifted a huge weight off my shoulders but, the reality of the matter was that I was now unemployed. The cancellation of my contract required that I was given 3-months’ notice so at least I had 3-months’ worth of income but, beyond that I was unemployed.
Breaking Through Limiting Beliefs
My journey of personal development has taught me that you can achieve anything you set your mind too and I had numerous examples of that over the last 9-years but, this situation challenged those beliefs.
My continued search for answers, lead me to another discovery being that “my limiting beliefs do not serve me”. I can achieve anything I set my mind too. A new journey began. The journey of identifying my purpose, my vision, my mission in life.
It was at this point that I decided that the corporate world is not my purpose or my mission and based on recent events, not my mission. With this decision being made, it opened a whole new world before me. It was time to clarify my vision with pin point precision then focus all my time and energy on achieving my dream.
We are all born with talents, skills and the ability to learn and achieve what we set our minds too. Sadly, the education system and society does not nurture these and in time, your dreams fade into darkness. It was time to dig deep and shine a light on the dream I realized was always there behind the smoke screen.
My dream was to have personal and financial freedom to allow me to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of those near and dear to me and… anyone else wishing to grow into the successful being they were born to be.
Identifying My Purpose
It was time to Decide, Commit and Succeed. I had dusted the cobwebs off my dream, identified my passion, set my mission in stone and it was now time to turn my vision into reality. Dreams + Work = Success so my journey started to identify the skills that would serve my path, sharpen those that required attention then learn new skills to further my success.
Life has taught me that if you don’t know something then ask, find out, read, question and you will find the answer. The Internet has been one of my favorite hobbies for years so I set out on my journey of discovery.
The goal… Personal and Financial Freedom… The means… Find a mentor. If you don’t know how to do something, then ask someone who is already successful in doing it, learn their skills and you too will achieve the same success.
In the meantime, as if a gift from The Universe, the company that had contacted me made me a job offer within 2 weeks of my 3-month notice coming to an end. This was a relief as I was now certain that I could continue to honor my financial liabilities but, it was by no means the answer as by now I had already decided that I was going to take my future into my own hands. I was in control.
I invested hours, days, weeks and months into online research and after trailing program after program, system after system, I came across the mentors that have allowed me to change my life forever.
You will come across many online offers of personal and financial freedom but, this was the first community of successful online entrepreneurs that offered me training, tools, resources and support for me to start by own business on my terms.
My knowledge and skills gained up to this point along with the new skills developed online, led me to decide that my focus would be on Personal Development, Business Start-ups and Social Media Management. I had set my vision based on these three niches and I was not interested in ever again supporting anyone else’s dream at the expense of my own.
My mentors vision resonated with my own as follows:
“Most people live the life they think they have to live. They are unfulfilled, overworked, stressed and stuck in a system that exploits them instead of helping them achieve their highest potential. They get the education they think they need to get the job society says they should want. Unfortunately, most lack the life skills required to be self-made and self-reliant. Our vision is to wake up millions of people to realize the tremendous potential that lies within themselves. And further, to show them how to harness and exploit this potential in the new, digital economy.
In doing so, they will transition from reliance on their current job or occupation to a life of freedom, self-reliance, and total control. They will do good in the world by creating wealth and abundance not only for themselves, but also for their communities and those around them.”
Perfectly aligned with my vision I decided that I would invest in my future and nothing would divert me from achieving my dream through following my vision with passion. I decided that I was going to join the digital economy and build a business based on my vision that would provide me with personal and financial freedom.
My New Journey
It was time to make the rest of my life, the best of my life. Nothing worth having comes easy but, I was not looking for an easy way out because we all know, there is no easy way out. I was looking to take full responsibility for my current situation to build a business and life I love.
The success of my new journey was largely through my skills gained in personal development which I could put to work on business development which in turn required marketing expertise to succeed. My 26-year career followed by my online education had equipped me with all the tools I required and my new-found mentors were there to further bolster my knowledge and skills as well as provide ongoing support.
The 11th January 2017 saw the birth of Destiny Entrepreneur which is now my passion, vision and purpose in life. I have never looked back as this was the best decision I have ever made for me to finally achieve personal and financial freedom.
I now have full control of my life and my future. “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right – Henry Ford”. I knew I could, I acted and now I am.
“It’s hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed – Theodore Roosevelt”. You have the ability to create the life of your dreams the question is… If not now, when? – Eckhart Tolle.
“It is in the moments of decision that your destiny is shaped – Tony Robbins”.