Discussions with business owners often leave me wondering why we're in business. So many of us seem to be running around like headless chooks, trying to achieve targets, goals etc; when in fact, the whole reason we went into business in the first place was for the choices that owning a business makes available to us.
This was what I was thinking on Monday as I was sailing Moreton Bay, with a group of dynamic, phenomenal women, all involved in something bigger than themselves. You see this is what business and life means to me, fully participating in your life, because you can! Having the ability and the know-how to make the choices that add value not only to your business but also to your life.
And isn't that one of the reasons so many of us live here in Australia? For me personally, Queensland is Paradise. Queensland's slogan says it all: “Beautiful one day, perfect the next!” I remember sitting in the “koshuis” with my then boyfriend (now husband!) Johannes and best friend Gerhard, dreaming of someday living in the city closest to the Great Barrier Reef. Clearly dreams do come true. At that stage I never dreamt that we would actually move overseas, it was simply about finding ways to live the dream!
So let me share with you why I was sailing on a Monday on a bay that I'd always dreamed about. Ever heard of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race? It's become an icon of Australian sport and started in 1949. Growing up in Pretoria, my passion for boats was inspired and encouraged by my dad, who is “boat crazy”! Some of you may have been to the Hartebeespoort Snake and Animal Park. If you ever went on the cruise from there, then you probably met my dad and myself!
Sailing on the turquoise liquid of Moreton Bay is very different than speeding across Harties' pungent green! So it was with absolute delight that on this particular Monday, another one of my teammates said to me, “Recognise me?” “Well yes Alison, we've been plotting this adventure together!” And then she pointed to her surname! “Blomkamp” couldn't be more South African, could it? I was stunned! While I'm very good at picking up “the” accent, Alison's beautiful English never let on, and while I'd speculated about her name, I never once thought there'd be two of us from South Africa joining a team sailing one of Australia's most well-known races!
Alison left South Africa when she was eight years old. Even so, she has retained her love for Africa and has been back to live. When we talked, eyes sparkling, we quietly reminisced about the unique delights of where we come from! I sometimes feel sad loving being here. Sometimes I wish I could take the best from here and the best from there and create heaven! And then I dream of how wonderful it would be to have those I love, who are still “Back Home” here with me now! So it really was wonderful to discover Alison, who like me thoroughly enjoys being in this beautiful place. And like me, it is unlikely that she will ever leave.
Bev Ryan from Honestly Woman Why Not magazine is the one who envisaged “Women race for Redkite”, and with the help of Di Halden from Women on Boats, it's now a beautiful reality! Twenty of us have been working on finding sponsors and fundraising for our adventure and donating the proceeds to Redkite, an organisation that supports the families of children with cancer. And while we've been learning lots on this journey about teamwork, responsibility and hard work, we're now beginning to reap the rewards!
And so it is that on a beautiful Monday morning out on Moreton Bay, I met another wonderful South African (albeit some time ago now!) woman making a difference in the lives of her fellow countrymen and women. So here's my message to all you wonderful South Africans out there: While we all know how important it is to know where we've come from, it is so important to know where you are and where you are going! Participate fully in your life, your work, your community and your world, and life certainly couldn't get better!