Partnering with Possibility

The setting is in the “location” as informal settlements are called here is South Africa. The school is hedged in by a security fence that is slack at the corners. The buildings are squashed into a small piece of land. Surrounding the school is a open field, a filling station with no roof and a mechanic fixing a car on stilts.

Inside the school hall, the wooden floor has pieces missing, but the curtains are clean. The chairs are old with the mileage of 100’s of children ‘s sitting on them, but the projector board is sparking white, the glasses polished and the water cold.

Partners for Possibility launch  St Bernard's High school Batho 19 March 2013

Partners for Possibility launch St Bernard’s High school Batho 19 March 2013

We are a group of 12 people. Myself and Veronica, 2 observers and 4 partnerships. We are launching the first Partners for Possibility Circle in Bloemfontein. Business leaders partnering with Principles of under funded schools. Four brave partnership, 8 men and women that defiantly stands up against the educational crisis our country is experiencing. The objective: Take one school at a time and change it onto a center where every child will get a quality education.

Not by complaining about what the government did or did not do. Not just throwing money at the problem. No, 8 men and women committing themselves to change. First themselves, then the school, then the community. Committed to become responsible citizens.

As we start, the excitement grows, we talk about logistics, but a stream of energy is escaping. First a trickle but later we could not contain it any more. Possibilities of one school helping another, new ways of raising funds and the camaraderie of not facing my problems alone anymore, intertwine.

I see an inspired light of determination go on in the principals eyes as we honestly face the challenges. Oozing out of them is a defiant attitude and deep knowing that these challenges will be overcome. I see in the business leaders an excitement as they see the possibilities of real time change. Were their input is appreciated for just coming from them and no price tag attached.

After three hours, I walk away with a sense of gratitude. I am grateful that I can be present in this circle of brave men and women. Men and women that are in the arena, daring to do a great thing. And I am privileged to be part of them.

See, “it is not the critic who counts, … but the one that is actually in the arena”



Use it, dont waste it

My friend Louis shared a profound experience from his childhood. His mother bought him the most beautiful Adidas tennis shoes. They had the Adidas logo on each little nobble on the soles and the blue stripes against the white shoe was exquisite.

For him these shoes were so beautiful, he only walked on grass with them to save the nobbles. Once he got out of the car and stepped into a puddle of mud. He immediately took them of and cleaned those blue stripes till they shone again. Because he wanted to preserve the beauty of these shoes he seldom wore them. Then one day – they were to small.

I find this story full of the liberating truth of abundance.

When we are still enslaved in a mental map of scarcity, we tend to buy things that we like but, like Louis, we hoard them. Be honest – how many things are stuffed in boxes and closets that we never use? We have these beautiful set of plates, but only use them on high days to impress people. Or that expensive coat hanging in the back of the closet that we do not wear because there is no appropriate function on the calendar.

We should use them. That is what they are made for. We have to give our possessions the opportunity to be of value to us. If it breaks or is worn through, then they have served their purpose in life and we were blessed by that purpose.

Yet, we should also not waste our possessions. Waste shows a mental map of selfish consumption and disrespect. Showing respect towards your possessions exhibits an attitude of gratitude. By taking care of them, putting them away when they are not in use, we acknowledge the service they render to us. When we take care of our stuff, they take care of us.

You might think this is a bit to preachy. Well, consider this: The way you treat your possessions, reflects the way you treat yourself.

Because you believe in your own value, you take care of yourself and your stuff. Unfortunately, because of the undervaluation of yourself, you under evaluate the contribution you can make and therefore also the contribution of the tools with which to add value, your possessions.

So, please take note of the lesson of the Adidas shoes. Use them, before you outgrow them.