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So this has been long coming!  Each year I try to sum up my year with some reflections, and thoughts for the new year.  This year I thought I’d do that while I was laying on the beach in Koh Samet, Thailand, sipping on a cocktail, counting my blessings.  Alas I was busy still doing work – but on the beach in Koh Samet, so I can’t be too mad!

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2016 was an interesting year for me – perhaps a year I entered into a different cycle of my life.  I ended the year completely burnt out but definitely worth it.  While 2016 was a ‘surviving’ year for most, it was a challenging year for me.

At the beginning of 2016, if you recall I blogged about this, I decided it was time to believe in myself more and push myself to do things that scared me.  At that point I had already been toying with the idea of launching a female led talkshow.   I wanted to give women a voice, I wanted to actively engage in dialogue that contributed to the development of the country and our lives, and I wanted to show that women can and do support each other.

There were many times in that process of developing the show that I wanted to quit – it was scary, not easy, not to mention costly.  But I told people about it, knowing they would hold me accountable to ensure it happened.  And it did!

The show was quoted in the Daily Mail, and now it’s airing on Zambezi Magic – across the region.  My heart literally stopped as I thought about that – people outside of Zambia are seeing my face and listening to what I have to say… it is surreal.

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But that was just the beginning of the year!

Loads of work in the middle of the year, and then my most challenging work fell squarely on my lap – Our Perfect Wedding Zambia.  The project that gave me sleepless nights and exhausted me (and had me looking like a homeless person).  Adapt the hugely popular South African show, how hard could it be?!

Hmmm.  Let me back track a bit.  The set-up of our company is usually myself and Mary write the proposal, secure the deals and client manage.  Tasha does the research and insights.  Freddy is the creative lead – he directs and produces.  We still work on the creative side inputting in character development, script, wardrobe, art direction etc.  But in a very basic way that’s the make-up.

So after writing the proposal, doing the pitch, we win the bid!  Great.  Just one small problem; Freddy is unable to direct or produce the show.  Probably the obvious decision would have been to hire someone to direct.

I like to think of myself as a business person, I looked at the numbers and realized it would be pointless for us to do this show if we hire a director.  I’d just produced and semi-directed (ha!) a talk show, how hard could a 4-day reality shoot be?

Famous last words.

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I like to surround myself with people who are good at what they do but also people I can work with.  There were a lot of people in the industry who I thought had bad attitudes and who I just couldn’t imagine doing a 52-day shoot with.  So I chose a crew I thought I could work with, mainly young up-and coming and hungry.

No one had shot a reality show before, or one of this nature.  In fact client expectations were to exceed even what the South Africa’s were doing, the pressure was immense.

I’m pretty sure I spent a lot of time crying and wishing I could quit!  But quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit.

When I wasn’t shooting, I was in editing mode.  It was non-stop.  And pleasing the client was even harder.  Some of our seasoned editors were also suffering, getting the format right was hard on everyone.

The season is coming to an end and while I can definitely agree there were some bad episodes, there were also some amazing stories and great couples – it almost made me believe in love again! LOL.

I did learn though that maybe hunger wasn’t enough, on certain projects you have no choice but to put personal differences aside and bring in the best people for the job, at least close enough to the best (though not sure they would have done it for the budget).   However, because of the attitude of some of the crew, I know I will be working with them for time to come, because at the end of the day, attitude is so important in getting ahead and moving past mediocrity.  The ones who chose to be unprofessional, well those are their career choices.

I was then fortunate to get away for 10 days to experience the sights and sounds of Thailand.  It was exactly what I needed.  I didn’t get to consciously do the reflections I needed but I think the downtime, the rest and recovery allowed my mind to settle, clear out the noise and focus.

There were things I wanted to do last year that I never got to do, my experience last year proved that anything is possible, so this year I plan on soaring, trusting in myself – in God – and taking that next step to greatness.  We can all achieve it if we believe!

Have a great 2017!  (I won’t even promise to blog more because… well life gets in the way, and I’m busy on my grind and living my life!)

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I feel like 2015 was a pivotal year for me. It brought so many lessons and learnings for me.

Sometimes, we don’t always like the lesson or what it’s teaching us, and it can be painful to have to go through it at the time. But when you come out the other side, you appreciate the process. Life is not always going to be easy – no one has ever said it will.

December is the perfect month to reflect on the year’s experiences, to help in your growth and preparation for the next year.   I have always been the type of person who chooses self-reflection to help me be a better person, always aware that we can only be responsible for ourselves.

This year I’ve realized I’ve made lots of bad decisions, decisions made at the expense of myself, my happiness, my joy, my ambitions, in order to accommodate other’s happiness. Under ordinary circumstances I wouldn’t think this is a bad thing, but sometimes, it’s equally important to say no, and to put yourself first.

2016 isn’t about me not giving of myself the opportunity to make others happy when I can, but rather ensuring I’m taking care of myself, so that I can have those opportunities to give to others.

The aim is to live a life without regrets, so though so many things I wanted didn’t happen in 2015, I don’t want to dwell on what wasn’t but rather focus on making 2016 be the best year for me. With my cheerleaders around, I think it’s very possible to make that happen – just takes learning to say yes to myself first, and not to doubt my abilities.

I’m looking forward to a very different year and I hope you’ll carry on being part of my journey.

Have a great, fun-filled, prosperous and exciting 2016!

 

Stay Blessed!

The Heroes and Unity Day holidays should have been a great way to relax – we just wrapped a seven week shoot for Love Games season 2, already fully packaged and edited the first six episodes, so it’s been intense.

But the long weekend became an opportunity for reflection. It started good, had a double baptism for my friend’s kids, as well as a panel on Lusaka Social Media Day. Both were great events. The baptism was great for family and friends to get together and just chill, no drama, no stress, and I got to cook for people who love my food (I only made salads and desserts, but still :)). Then I had to run across town (changed from 6 inch Calvin Klien heels, to even more comfy 6 inch H&M wedges!) to attend my panel at the Lusaka Social Media Day organized by C1rca 1964 and Bongo Hive. That was really exciting too. I got to talk about my social media experience, especially on how I use twitter as me, as my own brand, and my company, as that brand. I wish I’d been able to stay longer as it really looked like a great opportunity to share experiences and learn a lot. I know I’ve definitely learnt a lot on using twitter from my former colleagues Julia and Ben, so would have enjoyed learning more. I look forward to the next LskSMDay! Or more events from Bongo Hive and C1rca 1964. It did get me thinking about some of our own events that we’ll be doing soon – starting with our Love Games special screening for press in a week or so ahead of the TV premiere of season two.

Unfortunately on Monday – Heroes Day, while working on my fro, I got some sad news – Dominic Mulaisho had passed away in the early hours of the morning. Our families have had a long history together – four sets of siblings are all friends – with the youngest child Francesca, being one of my close friends, we even used to stay together in London. He was also a close close friend of my father, only the night before he’d called my father to check in on him, a call he made at least every two weeks, helping to keep my father in good spirits during his own illness.

Dominic Mulaisho is a great part of Zambia’s history, in both the political and the arts fields. He was the economic advisor to our first president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, and former Bank of Zambia governor. He also authored a few books, notably The Tongue of the Dumb, probably one of the first post colonial books to get international attention.

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So, as sad as it is that he has passed on, it also felt appropriate that he passed on Heroes Day, as he should be remembered as a hero.

Whenever someone in my life passes away, I am reminded that life is really short. We always think that we have time to do everything we want and we prioritize things that might not mean that much in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, I love the grind, and I don’t regret any of my career choices. But sometimes I remember that I forget to stop and smell the flowers.

Even yesterday, I sat at home thinking that four years ago today, I buried my brother. Four years. It’s still a painful memory, yet, I was so wrapped up in my own issues that I completely forgot. It’s bad enough that I don’t remember the exact day he died (I was on the other side of the world, taking two days to get back for the funeral), that I only remember the day we buried him – I think it’s a mental block for me.

Time is something we can’t get back, and it’s something we really don’t have a lot of. How we use it defines what we is important to us. It’s not that you can’t do it all, or have it all, it’s just about ensuring that your soul is happy, so that when it’s all said and done you can say, I lived a life I enjoyed.
We’ve entered the second half of the year, and it’s time to reflect on what you want in life, to have a fulfilled life. What changes and decisions you need to make to include more positivity in your life and rid yourself of toxins. Don’t be afraid to be selfish and put yourself first. The reality is that if you don’t put yourself first, don’t expect others too. Being selfish doesn’t mean treating others badly or unfairly, but just ensuring that you are being good to yourself and your spirit first.

This week will be a tough week, hard for my dad, hard for my friends, but we have to be strong, remember those we’ve lost for the positive influence they’ve had on us, and use their legacy to shape our future – to live life to the fullest and impact and touch the lives of the people around us.

Have a good week and go out and make yourself happy!