Meet Sbo Mahlase, opposite, from Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. I met Sbo in 2015 making his break from Township life into the world of entrepreneurship. Read his story here.

When you have been born into the ‘other side of prosperity’you may wonder if this mundane life you have, is all there is. However, this is not a life sentence. There is life on the other side of intention.

Only a few will dare to dream beyond the mundaneness of their mediocre lives. Why? What is it about that one person who manages to get out of poverty and make something of their lives?

The world has sold us a lie, a belief, and it is a belief we choose to hold onto. It says ‘this is it, only ‘other people’ have the privilege of doing things we dare only dream about, things we see on TV, in books, magazines, in the newspaper- not us. ‘They’ are the chosen ones.

I’m here to tell you a truth – and that truth is that everything you have ever dared dream for yourself is not only a possibility, it is something, that is absolutely achievable once you begin to focus and become intentional.


What does this mean?

Ask yourself this. When you woke us this morning what was the first thing you focussed on and said to yourself?

When you get home from work, do you do the same thing as the previous night, and repeat the process every day of the week?

Think about what you could do if you chose to deviate from your routine for a change. Let’s say you decide you’re going to start taking the dog for a long walk in the countryside every Sunday. There’s an intention, if albeit, a small simple one.

What is stopping you creating another such intention for every Saturday, for instance, that’s a little bit more ‘out-of-the-box?

Let’s say you decide you’re going to start Latin Dancing lessons with the intention of letting your hair down and getting a bit of exercise at the same time. What other things may come your way as a result of creating and going with this intention?

  • You could meet new friends
  • You may meet your Mr/s right
  • You may be encouraged to visit South America
  • You may hear of potential work opportunities in passing
  • You could take up a new language
  • The mere experience could boost your confidence to such an extent you begin to see new possibilities in life

You have to agree that becoming intentional can create all these & more, just from the mere idea of creating a simple new intention and acting upon it.

I’m reminded of a wonderful true story of a young black Mother in South Africa. As often happens in this country, this young lady had left her young son with his Grandmother, in order to become a domestic worker in an upmarket suburb of Johannesburg. A phone call from the Grandmother one day, saying she could no longer look after the son, found this young man moving to Johannesburg and living back with his Mum. He would often go to work with his Mother who lived opposite a very privileged Primary School.

One day her son announced to her that he too wanted to attend this school. Clearly she was caught off guard and had to tell him they did not posses the funds to send him there. However, this had planted a seed in her heart. She decided to become intentional, and with this, she wrote a letter to the local newspaper asking if there was anyone who would be willing to fund her child’s Primary School education. A wealthy businessman read her letter and, amused by her tenacity and touched by her honesty, agreed to pay his tuition fees. However, the uniform etc, she would have to fund herself. Before she knew it, her intention led to actions that manifested into reality and soon her son joined the school, mixing with some of Johannesburg’s most elite.

Four years later, when her son’s friends were contemplating and applying to high schools, he came home from school, announcing he wanted to interview at an Elite all boy’s boarding school in Kwazulu Natal, one of the most expensive schools in South Africa. All of his friends were applying there. With a heavy heart, yet thoroughly proud of her son’s ambition, she indulged his request and they found themselves on a dingy bus, bound for Natal, a six hour drive away. The Mother phoned ahead and requested assistance from a cousin who lived in a shack in the area, to give them accommodation for the weekend, and a lift to the school.

For anyone who has ever watched the movie ‘Spud’ you will remember a similar scene of a young boy heading for the beautiful green hills of the Natal Midlands, for his first year of High School. His parents in the movie, ‘fart up the hill’ in an old dilapidated car. This was a similar scenario when the young son entered the prestigious gates and grounds of this amazing affluent school, in his second hand uniform, with the arms too short, yet with his school shoes polished to perfection, heading off for his interview with the headmaster.

As this same story was being read out, by the same headmaster, the following day in a parent’s mid-term assembly, the head spoke of this young man who walked tall, into his office. Who knew more information about the school and its history, than the headmaster himself. How the boy had carried himself, and spoke so eloquently, yet who could not afford the school fees, but was intent on attending the interview regardless. After that same Assembly, three Fathers approached the headmaster and offered to fund that young man’s education. He will be graduating from the school at the end of this year.

The moral of this story is it does not matter what you were born into, nor the circumstances you find yourself in at any given time in life, everyone has an equal opportunity to become intentional and turn their lives around. It begins with one small action and a big dream, then take one step at a time until you have reached what it is you have set out to accomplish.

Winners are not people who never fail, they are people who never quit.

“You will never be able to escape from your heart, so its better to listen to what it has to say” Paulo Coelho the Alchemist

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Sam McDonald has been married for twenty five years and has four children. Their home is in Camps Bay in South Africa. She is a Strengths Strategy Coach & Business Development Partner of Strengths Strategy® Inc., the leading strengths application organisation in the world.

She works with motivated clients using the Strengthsfinder® assessment as a power tool for:

  • Strength Based Interviewing & Recruitment
  • Assisting motivated individuals to fall in love with their careers and find the work they were born to do.
  • Working with high achievers to discover their value and purpose
  • Working with Start-ups to gain momentum, motivation & self-awareness of the Entrepreneur
  • Assisting Students to gain a greater self-awareness, expediting their career path, building confidence and self-esteem.
  • Working with individuals to re-engage in their work environments & leveraging their strengths
  • Working with marriage relationships to help you love again and understand the toxicity, reduce negative experiences, create understanding and, in turn, assist with long-term strategies for lasting transformation
  • Finding your true Purpose, Passion and Value in Life
  • Falling in love with your life and work again

She teaches the ‘Strategic Interdependence Model’ & ‘Confident Vulnerability’ to focus on living ‘Interdependence’ as the key to healthier environments – choosing this as ‘rules of engagement’ over ‘Dependence’, ‘Co-Dependence’ & ‘Independence’.

She moved to South Africa in 1983 from Nottingham in the UK.


To Book a Speaking Engagement you can email Sam here or to hear more about you can bring People Acuity and Strengths into your organisation drop us a line here.