BY Tatiana Aleshina Ellis
AS a Zimbabwean investor, a proud mother and women’s empowerment advocate, I always challenge myself to make a difference in life.
Making a positive impact is my goal.
As an identical twin, my early life was largely one of mistaken identity.
To this day, it is difficult for me to distinguish myself from my twin sister from our childhood pictures as we looked identical.
However, unlike my twin sister, I was a shy person in my early life.
As we grew up, we began to look different, to dress differently and to act different. I worked very hard on my confidence and challenged myself to overcome my fears.
To assert my individuality, I asked myself these hard questions over and over again: Who am I? What is important in life? What is the secret of success? How can I create balance in my life as I pursue success?
Today — many years later — here I am, looking different, with a clear conscience on what is important in my life, after discovering the secrets of success, and always working towards a balanced life. I can say I have found my identity.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
A child’s development process sums up their life journey including at business level.
There are key lessons to learn from a child’s development process.
The first one is that there is no shortcut to growth and success.
As a business, if you want to last the mile, be patient enough to follow your growth path.
This is important because every development stage has its unique life lessons.
If you skip a development stage, the lessons lost will haunt you in future.
Hard work is the key to success.
As an aspiring businesswoman, be prepared to face challenges in your journey to success.
If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.
My life experiences have always assessed myself based on four most critical aspects namely: relationships, health, job and time.
On relationships, these include your relationship with God, family, friends, business associates and society.
These relationships are important in life; they open or close doors of opportunity and happiness for you.
That is why it is often said your network is your net worth.
Equally important is one’s physical and mental health.
Health defines our capabilities and longevity.
Again, in life true wealth is having a healthy mind, body and spirit.
It is from this perspective that I challenge you to invest in your health through a cocktail of food and dietary options, physical exercise interventions and mental health initiatives.
The third aspect is your job or purpose. This literally refers to the means/ways through which you earn income. A job is important because it funds your pathway to success and defines your lifestyle. Lastly, if you cannot manage your time wisely, you may be running a lost race.
In my career journey, I discovered that there are three important factors that defined my road to success, namely: knowledge, attitude and the environment.
These defining factors were common denominators throughout my life, and I continue to put a spotlight on them to this day.
While knowledge is power and a positive attitude is the will, experience has taught me that the surrounding environment is the most critical factor on the road to success.
Because birds of the same feathers flock together, an organisation that promotes gossip at the top will create fertile ground for gossip at the
Similarly, if you surround an intelligent and hardworking person with lazy and dull people, her output and intellect diminish to match his environment.
This is why Amazon.com, one of the most successful technology companies on earth insists on hiring “high flyers” to keep pace with the organisation’s innovation drive.
As a woman or organisation, are you creating a conducive environment for your success?
Do you spend your time in a toxic environment? If so, then your road to success is steep and narrow.
Lastly, it is important to have a positive mindset towards life.
Never adopt a permanent view to a temporary challenge, and do not let temporary problems cloud your vision.
This is why Oprah Winfrey said: “Turn your wounds into wisdom”.
Here are a few words of inspiration from some of the world’s most influential women:
Michelle Obama said: “Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.”
Melinda Gates said: “I tell my daughters to have their voice in this world, and it became clear I needed to role-model that.”
And today, I say be the difference.
To succeed in life, have a defined success plan, invest in knowledge and understanding, create a positive environment, work hard and never give up.
Have a positive attitude and be the CEO of your life.
- Ellis is a Zimbabwean investor and chief operating officer for West Properties Zimbabwe. She is a businesswoman, women empowerment advocate and proud mother.