SHE Power: Learn to Be Your Greatest Fan

Pep yourself up, excite yourself, encourage yourself and always reflect on what you can look at from a different perspective. 



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Phumza Dyani
Photo by: Sarah Ardin 

Phumza Dyani is a Founder of the Pan African Network for Investment and Development, a network of professionals and entrepreneurs within the continent and the diaspora with an objective of stimulating trade linkages across the, developing SMMEs, youth and women.

I know this is the hardest thing to do for most. It is so easy to shoot yourself down or doubt in your capabilities. Let me tell you a little story, when I started my writing, I did not have the confidence to put myself out there vulnerably without a back-up of someone trusted in the field. I believed I had something to say and believed there was an intriguing way in how i processed information and developed insights. I am a deep thinker and always try to extract lessons from every experience. This has always been from my childhood up to adulthood. I did know that my way of thinking was different and I had also developed experience which was sound enough to help support my assertions. This is also supported by the fact that I am a deeply spiritual person and love to see meaning to life. 

Take Action

In my wisdom and new-found vigour and zeal, I hired a former journalist to help me with a style of writing that would be intriguing and suited to develop thought-leadership pieces. I realised that the quality I was producing was really good, he was equally helpful in constructing an interesting flow and storylines. I learned fast and acquired the tricks of adding credibility to the content as well as developing headlines with the hook. From about the third month, I realised that there was not much editing coming from my journalist friend and what I needed to do, was to develop the courage to go out cold without his approval. It took me a while, but after a consistent return of work with not few changes, I gave it a shot. 

Take a Chance on You

I realised what was important was the substance in the story. In the normal publications I contributed to, they did not even see the difference. Before long, I was offered an opportunity to write for a global digital publication through a meeting at a Women’s Innovation Conference. I had written an article which I was particularly proud of prior to the opportunity and decided to take a risk and share it with the new editor. It was one of my longest production gems, it took me about two weeks because I was trying out a different angle I had not tried before. I had published it on my LinkedIn articles and it received mild reviews.

The thing is, I believed in this work so much and I felt it deserved more publicity. When I shared it with the editor, I was so ambivalent because I had taken a rather risky approach of reviewing a popular Netflix series. I was concerned that the view I had of it might be completely different to what everyone was learning. In all the self-talk, I reminded myself that my world-view mattered too and out there, there is someone who is dying to hear this perspective. I decided to make the move.

Celebrate the Small Wins 

My new editor was over the moon. The article was such a hit and hit home with many women. It ended up interesting many to watch the series and after watching it, were intrigued by my take on the story.

Don’t Stop Learning

Starting a YouTube channel on the other hand has been an excruciating pain. Whilst I believe in the content I put out there, it seems like a completely different world with different rules. I, however, still believe in what I do and persist in creating great content that I share with the world. It is excruciating to watch the one additional subscriber after enormous effort of developing what you deem as exciting content and putting it out there. Yet, I believe in it so much that I carry on daring to putting it out there. It is fulfilling to develop these pieces and seeing just how much growth there is in risking it all versus the notion of being a bystander in life.

Dare to be Vulnerable

Growth is about taking more of these risks of trusting yourself. To many women out there, i wish you could find a little more faith in who you are and take a lot more risks in trusting your abilities. Believe in yourself and dare to be your greatest fan. As long as you are on this growth path, either growing personally, professionally or relationally, you have got to put yourself out there and trust all will work out. It will be patrifying at times but you have to commit to yourself to do it more and more. Eventually, you get used to the little wins and the losses.

Pep yourself up, excite yourself, encourage yourself and always reflect on what you can look at from a different perspective. You develop a thick skin to understand that even the ‘nos’ are not permanent. When there is a no, there is a slight possibility of refining, improving and trying again. •