I was having a conversation with some friends reminiscing about the incredible talent that the South African sporting fraternity has ever produced. Some of these names reached stardom and took their careers further into coaching or sports administration. Some opened their foundations as part of preparations for life after football on the pitch.
On the other hand, we had to think deeply about some names that disappeared into the ether besides the great talent that these “stars” were endowed with. These are players who allowed fame to go to their heads and forgot the reason why they were known in the first place. They invested their time in self-destructive behaviours, making sure that they are on a fast lane to the bottom of the pit.
Do you remember Mbulelo “Old John” Mabizela who could only say that “I was close to playing for Barcelona was it not for my drug and alcohol abuse”. His off the pitch antics cost him his place at Tottenham Hotspurs. Does the name Lerato Shabangu ring a bell?
There are many international stars from many sporting codes. Do you remember George Best who has great soccer skills but also great ability to drink? How about Lance Armstrong who was stripped of all 7 Tour de France titles following doping stories?
The common theme in these and many other stories is the abuse of alcohol, drug use, sex scandals, ill-discipline and plain flirting with the law.
This is not a case for the sporting fraternity only. I am driving a point here because most sports stars are known celebrities and we can relate to them. How many gifted leaders from all walks of life do you know of whose character was compromised by greed, sex scandals or drug and alcohol abuse? Names from the C-suites, churches and governments pop up.
We are all human and fallible, this is not to judge but to learn from those who fell short so that we can maximise our gifts for the benefit of ourselves and others.
Here is a way to start serving your gifts:
#1. Solidify inner self: It may sound cliché but who we are should precede anything we do. Our natural abilities and talents define who we are. It is about knowing your purpose, values, vision and motivations. Without understanding ourselves we end up being many things to many people. After succumbing to his indiscretions, Tiger Woods admitted that he lost connection to his mother’s Buddhist principles. He further went on to say that “I just lost that, and unfortunately lost my life in the process.” It had to take working on himself including attendance to counselling to regain his top performance.
#2. First things first: Once you know yourself then you can focus on important matters. You can work on what is most important and valuable instead of being guided by the agenda around you. You will know what is major and what is minor, and this distinction will help you use your gifts and talents on life-changing stuff.
#3. Nurture others: Identify others who are promising in your area of gifting and dedicate your time to their nurturing. This assists with channelling your energies and occupying your time with the right things. Instead of focusing on derailers as alluded to above, grow others in your area of gifting so that you can grow in the process.
#4. Go big: In whatever you do, strive for something bigger than yourself. Your gift is not for you, it is for the greater good to mankind. I use my writing and speaking gift to cultivate personal mastery and self-worth in others. I use my gift to help many people to access their birthright to meaningful, fulfilling and significant lives. Your gift should help you build something that will live long after you have gone. Going big is not about fame, it is about making an impact in the lives of others.
Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. Book Tex for speaking engagements and to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit http://www.dreamsmadepossible.co.za/contact.html. He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.