Building Legacies: How Passion meets Skill & Talent

Delani Mthembu

Facilitator | Dynamic Leader | Reverend

Managing Director of Landelahni Leadership Development

Life is by nature an art and a science influenced by intuition, relationships and the mastery of socio-political context. The rise and fall of a professional is dependent on the ability to dance with a diversity of emotions, relationships and connections.

Life as a science is anchored on rules and agreements that regulate relationships, cementing performance agreements and determining the money-making model that acknowledges each person’s contribution and value.

The following pillars are at the core of success in career growth:

  • Personal passion linked to relevant talents and skills.
  • Ability to listen to your inner voice and the external noises that come from those who love you and those who despise you, and sift what is true or false to build personal distinctiveness, and
  • The courage to introspect and acknowledge strengths and limitations without fear. This helps to explore options with boldness and make choices in spite of pain of the unknown and discomfort. When this happens, there is greater ownership and accountability.

At the core of your personal journey and career progression, you need strength of vision, clarity of consequences and benefits, resilience and self-trust, and knowledge of the personal values and principles that inform your character.

The strength and depth of conviction and passion, understanding of personal talents and skills and how these respond to opportunities is ultimately the winning formula.

Human relations are sustained by quality energy, influenced by common need, and cemented by spiritual and emotional bonds. Therefore, career growth and progression require constantly revisiting those simple but complex matters that influence relationships.

I’m not stating this based on any theory, but from personal experience. The most empowering and fulfilling jobs I have had were not based on application but pure chemistry and the meeting of opportunity and talent.

After I completed my training as an educator at Mgwenya College of Education (Mpumalanga province), my lecturer employed me as a science and mathematics teacher. However, at an evening dinner earlier, the leader of the then kaNgwane government had already made me an offer to join his office three months later, which I could not declare to anyone. I felt bound to accept it.

In the early 1990s, when the politics of the time could not sustain my passion as a school principal, the South African Council of Churches tracked me down and arranged to interview me on a Saturday in December. This resulted in an immediate job offer. In 1994, when we were all excited after the elections and exploring new opportunities, I received an unexpected offer to join the corporate world.

Careers progress and new opportunities open up when passion and energy meet the skill and talent that build legacies in every area of work. When work becomes a calling and expression of self, supported by talent, innovation and passion to go beyond job descriptions and set times, a difference is made. People notice the passion, the input is felt by your presence and the good work speaks for itself.

Career progression follows inner energy and passion. I have no qualms about what drives my life and profession. I live to make a contribution and to create a memorable experience to those I serve, support and work with.

I share my sense of enquiry and skills to help individuals and teams find each other and see possibilities beyond differences, so as to teach, inspire and explore the invisible treads that connect people as living and loving beings.