Today my Gran would have been 100 years old!
Whenever I read about someone who would've been a 100 today …. it’s usually about someone who passed away many years ago …. without you being able to have any real conception or idea of the kind of person they would have been at 100.
My Gran passed away at just over 99 years of age …. so I have a very real idea of the person she would have been at age 100.
Today, on her 100th birthday, I have hundreds, if not thousands, of amazing memories of her.
My Gran ensured that she truly LIVED all 99 of her years on this earth.
I recently read a book called “The 100 year old man who climbed through the window and disappeared”, in which the philosophy of the old man is that “life is what it is”.
My Gran knew that “life is what it is” … never complaining about the loss of her eye sight. Never complaining about the loss of a loved one, even when it broke her heart.
She knew how to carry on, how to continue living, how to continue laughing, how to continue loving and how to continue believing.
I love that until the end she could tell a joke or tease us and laugh with her entire body.
I love that until the end she wanted things to be done the right way.
I love that until the end she prayed for me and our entire family.
I love that until the end, her God was her true anchor in life and that she held on tight.
I love that she has shown me that even if you were a woman born in 1917, you could be formidable, strong and independent.
She never had a career. She raised two beautiful daughters with her husband. BUT she was the anchor, the drive and the inspiration for all three generations who followed her.
Granny …. I can just imagine the party you are having with Oupa today. I’m sure he is so happy that you finally joined him after making him wait for 26 years! (You always knew how to keep him waiting)
Happy Birthday to my Super Duper Granny!
Thank you for inspiring me. I will always love and miss you.
We are busy with General Evaluations at smartMI and it is an interesting journey to see +-60 people tell you what they think or feel about the Company, their office, their work environment, what their dreams are, what they like and what they dislike.
It is always easy to read the good things, but when you read the not so great comments, you have to change your approach or mindset. I've taught myself that criticism is healthy and plays a vital part in how we learn to improve and grow.
To be honest, you never arrive at perfection. For a perfectionist in many aspects of life, this is hard.
But a few years on in life, I understand that it is the journey and not the destination that matters. And in any event, life is too exciting and fulll of possibilities to reach a destination and end there!
At smartMI we are on a journey towards achieving something that hasn't been achieved before.
Reading the evaluations, I am reminded that we all have dreams and aspirations. We all want to be better and improve. We all want to achieve. We all want to be the Boss.
It is interesting to see that some Team Members have a more realistic approach towards growth, and others just want it to happen to them very quickly.
I prefer the slow approach .... this way you get to enjoy and appreciate the journey towards achieving greatness. You value the privilege. When you "achieve" too quickly ... you have no real understanding of what it means, and you easily let it slip.
We all only achieve because of opportunities we were given, or people who believed in us. We never achieve on our own. It is therefore always a privilege to be able to grow, to be able to achieve. Yes, you need to do your part, but if you do not get those small "chances" in life, you cannot achieve.
At smartMI we have a few Team Members who have patiently, with dedication, been growing over the years. It is a privilege to be able to think back to when I first met them, how they interacted and what their capabilities were.
Today they are strong leaders and mentors in the Company and I'm so proud to be working with them. They were afforded opportunities, they grabbed it with both arms and they made it happen.
We have an interesting mix of personalities at smartMI. Each person appreciated and celebrated for who they are. We are a variety of cultures and age groups, with even a few men mixed in between all the women. Because of this, there are some beautiful reasons why people love working at smartMI.
I can tell you all about how they love learning, love serving, love their clients, love challenges, but absolutely nothing sums up working at smartMI like this comment:
"Because it makes me famous"!
What is so beautiful and honest about this comment, is that it doesn't come from the person who holds the "highest" position in the Company. It comes from a person who has embraced working at smartMI, and being smartMI, with her entire heart and soul. Because of this, she is loved and admired by her colleagues, family, friends and her community! She is famous indeed.
And I agree with her ..... being famous is so much cooler than being the boss!
When we started smartMI, we committed to a variety of things, but two non-negotiables exist and will always be an inherent part of how we do business.
Understanding the privilege of doing business in South Africa, is all about understanding the privilege of having your community's support. Without accepting and supportive communities, we will struggle to do business, and most definitely, not grow our business.
Each of the smartMI shops are situated in communities that operate in their own unique manner, have their own set of challenges, have their own cultural habits and speak their own languages.
During February, we celebrate love and find different ways of "showing it". What makes this a lovely project, is the direct involvement the Team members have, demonstrating their own passion and empathy.
This year we are visiting 2 schools for the Disabled in George and Beaufort West, we are cleaning up an area in Port Elizabeth, we are visiting 2 underprivileged Grade R schools in Dunoon and Thabong and gardening in Kroonstad! Not forgetting our Cancer Walk!
All these projects are initiated, created and put into effect by Team Members!
Over the years we have spent time with the elderly, washed the feet of the underprivileged, encouraged clients to donate blood, played games with underprivileged children and volunteered on behalf of the kitchen staff in many schools.
Each time we initiate such a project, we ask businesses in our areas to participate / donate to the benefit of the institution we are visiting. Sadly, the answers are overwhelmingly "No", "Not allowed", "Manager not here", "Not our thing", "Maybe another time".
All of these answers are valid and fair comment, as we are all the masters of our own business destinies .... but does it make sense?
Should businesses still exist in communities, without being part of those communities?
It is not about donating hundreds and thousands, but by acknowledging the people with whom you share a space .... almost like getting to know your neighbour just enough, so that you can support him/her during times of difficulty. You remember the old habit of taking some food when there is death in the family?
If we don't get to know our communities, how can we continue servicing them in a relevant manner? Isn't business always about the service you render?
Working in the LSM 1-7 market for more than 20 years, getting to know our clients, our communities and their challenges, has taught me alot about people and their appreciation for sincere gestures.
smartMI does not have a big corporate budget for CSI projects and can never compete with that. But ....
We have heart. We have passion. We have a SMART Team.
So, to each and every SMART Team member who passionately embraces every opportunity we create to make a positive impact in their community, thank you! I am proud to be part of this SMART Team.
In a recent conversation with a young man who was thanking me on behalf of his family for what we had done for his sister, he made this very interesting comment: "You are one in a million who can see a problem and solve it".
His comment made me stop and think .... see a problem, solve a problem. Why don't we do more of this?
In a society where we very easily spend time blaming, accusing, criticising, complaining and feeling "entitled", it seems there are less and less problem solvers and more problem identifiers.
Thinking about how we do things at smartMI, as well as our company culture, I would like to think that smartMI is privileged to have a "problem solving" approach.
We do business in an industry that is known for complaints of abuse and corruption, along with selling products to clients that they will never be able to use.
Our problem solving approach to this, is to offer a compliant (abide by the law) service that treats our customers fair (product meets needs) and is available in the local neighbourhood where our clients live. Our sales approach ensures that clients only buy products they want and NEED.
Our communities in which we do business deal with the reality of an unemployed youth.
We are offering our solution to this problem by ensuring that we create an environment where we can help inexperienced persons grow their skill level and confidence whilst working for smartMI. With our approach to training, we are now able to create opportunities for persons who are willing to learn, to gain experience and grow!
We are proud of various examples of Team Members who grabbed every opportunity to learn and better themselves.
I could build a list of problems that we have solved over time, without truly realising that is what we are doing. Problem solving is part of our culture, because we have a heart.
We recently had the privilege of helping one of our Interns get much needed spectacles to improve her poor eyesight.
It was great to see an entire SMART Team pull together to contribute, along with the Company, so that one Team Member could get much needed spectacles at no additional cost to her.
We are proud of our culture of solving problems. We are proud of an entire TEAM that represents "One in a Million"!
Be part of the #SMARTSolution!
I lost my grandmother.
It is a simple sentence which urges people to sympathise with beautiful and meaningful words and pictures. The intentions are pure, but it is lost because I lost my grandmother.
Never can this one sentence describe what I have lost.
I did not lose a person with the title of grandmother. I lost a person. A very important person.
My grandmother was, to say the least, a formidable person.
Because of how I grew up, both my grandparents played a very important role in my life. I lost my grandfather 26 years ago, and today I can still describe him in detail and feel his presence in my life. I lost my grandmother this past Saturday.
She was 99 years old. People would say it was time and I agree. I still lost my grandmother.
In the end she was merely a shadow of who she really was, but yet her spirit was still strong enough to want to eat and drink by herself. Ensuring that she remained neat and presentable throughout the process.
I once read that old age and dimentia breaks down many of your barriers and filters until only the core remains. I am so proud to say that the most beautiful core remained with my grandmother. Her faith in God remained strong, her love for her family was overwhelming, her gratefulness for every little thing was remarkable and her inability to complain, exemplary!
She was blind and mostly deaf. I have no memory of her ever complaining about either.
I lost my grandmother. I lost a wonderful person.
They showed me my grandmother's body. She wasn't there. She had left.
I grew up with a grandfather who never wanted to grow older than 70. He passed away a few months after turning 70. Peacefully, in his sleep. My grandfather used to tease my grandmother when he would tell us that she is so healthy, we would need to "hit her with a plank one day".
At 95 my younger brother suggested to my grandmother that he could bring the "plank". She advised him to try his luck as she would "hit back with her fist".
At 97 my grandmother pondered upon her age while we were standing outside so that she could feel the sun on her face. She said to me: "Ek is regtig nou stokoud!". She never enjoyed speaking about age, and thereafter she closed the book on that discussion.
If you were born in 1917, it means you lived through wars, depression, epidemics, industrialisation, apartheid, Nelson Mandela and the internet. My grandmother embraced change. We even have a "selfie" with her. She loved the wonder of emails that are sent and instant comments coming back on photos shared.
Age is all in the mind ... that was her philosophy. Earlier this year she asked me to look if she was also going grey ... as I had admitted to her. Her hair was grey yes, but her mind and attitude was young and full of life.
I lost my grandmother, but I gained a lifetime of love and memories with a person who knew how to pray, to love and to laugh!
Ek mis my Super Duper Granny!