Someone once said that when you meet Noluthando Dlamini I dare you not to like her. That is exactly what took place at our initial meeting. This lady is nothing short of an energetic and passionate visionary. It is seldom that in a short space of time you can cover so many topics but we did. In her short life she has had to learn a thing or two about new beginnings. We tackled some of these.
When you think of new beginnings what comes to mind?
In life, your comfort zone can be one of the best place to be in the present, but also the worst places to be in hindsight. When you are forced out of your comfort zone and have to start all over again, a new beginning, all sorts of insecurities begin to surface. For example, you might think that you are too old or too committed to your original path in life to start all over again.
A new beginning might not make sense initially. However, when God’s plans for you are intertwined with that new beginning, it will all make sense eventually. The encounter between the four fishermen and Jesus in Luke 5: 1 -11 is a perfect example of this.
Simon and his colleagues had spent a long night fishing “at the right spot” and caught nothing. When Jesus instructed them to throw their nets deep, it did not make sense to Simon because he was skillful fisherman. Though he initially tried to reason with Jesus, Simon eventually obeyed Jesus (thank God) and this led to the boat overflowing with fish.
Simon and his colleagues had probably never caught as many fish before, this was their Big Catch. However, with God’s awesome timing and at the height of Simon’s fishing career, Jesus calls Simon, James and John (his colleagues) and Andrew (his brother) to be fishers of men! This is a calling that could have never been anticipated by Simon et al. , it was their new beginning.
What would you define as your “Big Catch”?
I recall noticing for the first time, the hand of God moving in my life when my career was in the world of foreign exchange. I had just qualified as foreign exchange (forex) dealer and was looking forward to taking the banks by storm. A month after qualifying as a forex dealer I was called to a meeting at 12 pm and at that meeting I was up for promotion. It was discussed, basically a done deal and it was what I thought to be my Big Catch. I was at the top of my game and looking forward to the promotion that was promised to me however, by 3 pm that very same day I was retrenched.
That is quite a story! I hope it didn’t end there for you? How did you make sense of your “Big catch” or lack thereof…...
In an industry where there are relatively very few female forex dealers, my retrenchment made no sense. I was, on paper, the ideal candidate for promotion. However, in hindsight, it is important to note the dreams and events that leading up to my retrenchment. Every time my boss gave me a written warning, I would dream of her screaming and raging at me in the dealing room. Lo and behold, it always came to pass. These dreams happened for three consecutive weeks, and so did the written warnings (a story for another day). The fourth dream came three weeks later. In this dream, my boss called me and said: “we are promoting you”; she had the largest smile I had ever on seen her face. Little did I know that I had I would end up unemployed for 18 months. I remember asking God: “they are firing me, which part of this is promotion!?”. A still voice responded: “I AM promoting you”. Even though I had received this word from God, holding on to the little peace I had left, I felt destitute and to survive I started my own business.
The business I established had a retail (apparel) division, a consulting division (I was a business advisor) and I was a facilitator (similar to lecturing) for students studying public management. After 6 months of hustling in the business, God said to me, “you will catch man”.
Yes. To tell you the truth, while I was running my own business, I was still clinging onto to my dreams of being employed as a forex trader. In spite of this and true to God’s word, my business excelled in all the product and service lines that involved heavy interaction with people. For example, I prayed with my public management students before each session. Every single one of them excelled in their exams and I have God to praise and thank for that!
When I interacted with people, God validated my intellect, talents and skills just like He did for Simon and his colleagues during their “Big Catch”. But I knew that running my own business was not where God wanted me to be and this prompted me to close shop after 15 months of operation.
So, another new beginning for you?
Shortly after shutting down my business, I was recruited the join the Small Enterprise Development Agency of South Africa (SEDA). SEDA provides enterprise development services country wide for small business enterprises. How do I catch man? I am a business advisor to small enterprises. I make use of the skillset that I have developed over the years and with guidance from God, I catch man. I share the Word with and pray for all my clients at SEDA. Something I could never imagine in a forex dealing room. This is my new beginning.
Everybody has a “Big Catch” that they aspire towards. You may feel as if you’ve been trying to catch fish for so long, and people are judging and questioning your “attempts” because you have nothing to show for it. I would say from experience my own experience that once Jesus comes into your boat and tells you to cast your nets deeper, no matter what the time of day, how tired you are etc, YOUR STORY CHANGES!!! Mine did.
What would you say it takes to embark on new beginnings?
Ps Pushie Watson gives a sermon titled: “Get your nets ready”. In this sermon she names these 6 things:
- Move away from the shore where the crowds are mediocre. Mediocrity does not serve the world, let alone your career ambitions.
- Allow God to use your boat. Surrender your career to Him.
- Listen to God’s instruction and obey. This requires trust and not your knowledge.
- Have partners who will be ready when your nets overflow. In business, working in silos is a call for disaster.
- Confess your sins and worship God in your career. Humility, accepting our shortcomings, study further , correct your attitude, or work on your presentation if you have to.
- Forsake earthly reasoning and do it God’s way. Even though there are systems and processes at work, God is the Chairman of your organisation’s chairman, He is your boss AND your most valued client.
It’s a new year and for some of you, this new year might mean a new beginning. My prayer and hope is that 2014 “astonishes us” just as I imagine Simon and the other three were when they were called to be fishers of men.
About Noluthando Dlamini
Noluthando Dlamini is a business advisor and the Small Enterprise Development Agency in South Africa. She is also a part time facilitator at Regenesys Business School. Noluthando is passionate about the development of small and medium enterprises in order to drive economic growth on the African Continent. She is also a member of the African National Congress Youth League.