There are people that our society forgets, people that we fear…they are the people that I once feared…These are the men and women that dress in orange. The people whose wrongs have been amplified and their mistakes are louder than others…These are the men and women behind bars, people who are deemed to be unfit to be participate in society.
On January 12th 2017, someone reached out to me and invited me to speak at the Boksburg correctional services facilities to motivate the inmates. I first thought to myself, this must be a con-artist; there is no way I can believe this. As life has it, there are people that come into your life to confirm that this is your purpose. I met three people from three different walks of life that confirmed that I needed to use my gift as a motivational speaker to go inspire those that society, including myself, judge ever so easily.
As I walked into the jail, I felt my heart racing. When I saw the inmates, I felt more and more afraid…I was incredibly overwhelmed. Every episode of prison break that I had ever watched came rushing through. We walked through different gates and reached a final gate which was closed and we had to wait for it to be opened. This is where the inmates were. I found myself in a pool of orange and out of fear, I held on ever so tightly to the prison warder and she wrapped her arms around me for comfort.
What I did not know was that I would be able to use my gift to inspire the inmates and in so doing I would learn so much from them. The men I met in that prison touched my soul. That day, I knew that my calling to be a speaker is greater than anything that I had ever imagined. As I walk this journey, I know that my journey is guided and that my gift of speaking is not for me but to give hope to others and to move them towards their own greatness. I know in my heart. This was the first of many visits to reach out and touch those that society forgets.
A key lesson I learnt on this day is that one needs to be open to listening when life guides you. Many of us are stuck in the rat race and rarely take a minute to answer to the call on our lives. In my role as a management consultant, I have been fortunate to advise various client in both corporate and public sector. A lot of us are physically free but have numbed the passions that lie within our hearts. We have learnt to quieten down the voices that try to remind us of our innate talents.
Today reminded me that the state of being free begins in the mind and in our works. We need a society that moves towards purpose, a society that is committed to changing the norms and following their calling…The road less travelled and heeding the call of your purpose is a soul fulfilling one… This is my purpose and calling. Embracing it has brought me a joy like no other. My heart is filled to the brim with contentment and happiness.
To live a life of purpose, we must be willing to be uncomfortable, to hear our heart racing and still take another step towards our destiny.
About the author:
Lebogang Chaka holds a Master of International Business and a Bachelor of Business & Commerce from Monash University. She has also studied African Studies to understand the needs of the continent.
She is currently enrolled with the Gordon Institute of Business Science to pursue a PhD with a focus on informal sector entrepreneurship.
She has worked in the advisory division within KPMG, Accenture and Deloitte. She served as the Deputy Chairperson of the Employment Equity Committee at Deloitte. Lebogang founded her own boutique management consulting firm called Afro Visionary Legacy.