You wanna “change the world.” Really?

So one of my brothers will probably hate me for saying this – but I’ll ask his  forgiveness later.

He’s been talking about writing a book I think South Africa desperately needs.

It’s a simple, quite obvious, form of marketing which is why I think he’ll do so well with it.

Problem – he’s still just talking about it.

Yeah he’s been real busy working killer hours, taking exams – and the list goes on… but when you’ve got a dream – something’s gotta give. It’s just gotta.

I’ve a really smart friend (let’s call her Mercy) (ok so that is her real name) anyway – I remember a conversation we had a while ago. In it I told her of all the things I wanted to do with my life and my career but just didn’t have the time or the energy for.

“Excuses,” she said.

I told her I was not making excuses I really was – and I proceeded to give her a whole list of reasons I couldn’t pursue what I really wanted to.

Her response was this: “Every time you say you don’t have time or you don’t have the energy to pursue what you really love – you are saying you don’t think you’re worth it. You’re saying whatever it is that you say you love so much is not worth your time or your energy.”

And then I didn’t have much else to say. She was right.

I’ve often heard that the things that are really worth doing are terrifying.

Sometimes the reason it scares the crap out of you is because what you see yourself achieving seems so much bigger than you. It should be. Otherwise where would greatness come from if we all did only what we could?

Sometimes the reason pursuing what you really want to paralyses you with fear: it demands that you claw your way out of your comfort zone. And that can REALLY SUCK sometimes.

Ask any successful person (who had to work for it from scratch) if they had a clear plan of what they wanted to do to get to where they are.

Ask them if it was easy sailing.

Ask them how many times they didn’t cry or wanted to call it quits because it was way harder than they ever thought it would be.

Ask them about how scary it was being broke and/or being ridiculed.

We look at the great – smiling their successful “I’ve arrived” smiles and we envy their stature.

What we don’t see (so often) are all the scars that thickened their skin while they were getting to the “arrival” point.

Working hard and reaping the rewards may sound fantastic, but it’s not that great when what you’re working hard at is not really what you want to do with your life.

I’d like to leave you with an illustration:

Most of us have more than one field in our lives.

Each field requires work and most times it’s not easy to ensure that each field receives as much care as it should.

When we drive (or walk) by our fields we can say: “I’m working hard on this – oops I’m kinda of letting that slip – and on that field over there, I’m really lazy on that one.”

If the one you’re really lazy on has the potential to define your life’s work – it may be worth tending to. The world is waiting.


Hannah Viviers is a financial journalist and founder of HV Public Speaking

Building a powerful network

May I speak with you in person?

Those are perhaps the most underestimated seven words in business.

In a world where we’ve never had more ways to communicate I agree with those who say that truly never have we been so disconnected.

In business the mostly commonly used channels of communication are emails and phone calls.

For the person who is building a reputable personal brand – this is not good enough!

Try for a while asking: May I speak with you in person?

Try this with your subordinates, your superiors, prospective employers and employees, existing clients and prospective ones, colleagues and just every one you can as you’re making your way to the top or retirement (whichever you choose).

Most times we may feel the person on the other end of the line is too busy to meet with us – but just try asking, “May I speak with you in person?”

Better still try a more assertive yet polite request: “When would be a good time for us to speak in person?”

Meeting people in person does one very powerful thing – it brands you on their minds – maybe forever.

Well that all depends on how you deal with that “in-person” meeting.

There may be opportunities that come your way that you might not be interested on taking right now – still ask the person offering (be it a project or job) “When would be a good time for us to meet and discuss this?”

On occasion you may have a brilliant plan or request to ask of people you do business with. Should their response be negative take the no as an opportunity to meet the person on the other end of the conversation with “I totally understand your position. When would be a good time to chat about this in person?”

Structure the request in such a way that the person on the other end does not see the meeting as a waste of their time.

When you are granted the opportunity be WOW!

Dress as though your career depends on it (it does). Prepare for the meeting as though you were going to pitch for your dream job (ultimately you are).

Be courteous and as one of my friends says, “Be confident but not arrogant.”

Be the kind of person you would like to business with.

Handle yourself in such a way that even though you walk away with what may seem like a “no” it’s a BIG FAT YES to you as a credible, fantastic, person to do business with.

And herein lies the difference between a person who’s creating a powerful network every chance they get – and one who’ll probably be constantly failing to grow their business/career because they’re not enriching their network.

As one guy put it: “Your network determines your net worth.”

Whatever it costs you to make that connection – be it time or monetary (buying lunch or tickets to a rugby game or a motivational dinner/conference) don’t see this as an expense – see it as a long term investment for where you’re going.

Be assured that if you get this right – word will spread about you.

Capitalize on a strategy so few people underestimate: human beings are social beings and still need to connect in a way social cyber networks will never satisfy.


Hannah Viviers is a financial journalist and founder of HV Public Speaking

Great is the new ok

While most people in my time zone were sleeping this morning here’s what I eventually figured out – there isn’t time for “just great.”

Today I found out that really cutting edge companies treat their prospective employees with tremendous pizzazz so that even before the candidate they want works for them they are already the employer of choice.

I also found out that for people who are more concerned with developing their careers than merely receiving a “better” paycheck – interviewing a prospective employer during your interview is not a bad thing.

Far too many people work for paychecks instead of seeing each move as an opportunity to get them where they want to get in their careers.

A short while ago I found out that I should look at things other than pay and happiness (for the short term).

I found out that getting published has become one of the easiest thing in the world.

And with a smart way of using the internet – being famous just got a whole lot simpler. And no it’s not by having a million friends on facebook.

In short – all these changes didn’t happen overnight. Nothing really does – except mushrooms in crap.

So yeah it’s hard work. But consider how much work you put into your current job (which you’re probably not so crazy about). How weird is that? Working hard at something you hate to get to somewhere you’re not really keen on getting into…

And I found out that being just great wasn’t good enough. I had to create a whole new  level of greatness.

Why? Because yahoo! was great before Google took over, Google was phenomenal until facebook came along… you get the picture.

Anyone who says everything that could be done has already been done and there’s “nothing new” – well they’re just lazy – and bitter that they didn’t come up with facebook or something else spectacular.

So I step out today with much trepidation in a world that seems to have changed so much since last I checked.

But also I’m excited because now I’m at the place where I have a pretty darn good idea of how I can get to writing my very own check – with lots of zeros.

Hannah Viviers is a financial journalist and founder of HV Business Training