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Dr BB. Phetla | South Africa | Embrace Your Uniqueness

Executive Coach | Author | Entrepreneur | Medical Doctor

I was born and raised in Jane Furse, Ga-Sekhukhune, Limpopo. As a wife, mother, and medical doctor, my professional journey is grounded in a rich heritage. From my paternal family, I inherit a lineage of spiritual leaders, while my maternal family boasts iconic entrepreneurs. Interestingly, my primary passions lie in entrepreneurship and spiritual enlightenment, with my medical knowledge serving as a secondary calling. To expand my knowledge and skills, I pursued a second degree in Master of Business Administration (MBA), specializing in Strategic Performance Management and Mentoring & Coaching. My driving force and inspiration come from empowering individuals to unlock their full potential in their respective fields while maintaining a harmonious work-life balance. I am deeply committed to contributing to the establishment and restoration of stable, functional family units, recognizing the crucial role they play in our lives. Overall, my journey as a medical doctor, entrepreneur, and advocate for personal and familial growth has shaped my purpose and fuels my dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of others.

I am humbled to represent the evidence of two family generations who actively fought against the oppression of black people in South Africa. My upbringing was shaped by the experiences of my father, who survived poverty, and my mother, who grew up in a well-resourced family during the apartheid era. These diverse backgrounds have instilled in me a deep sense of compassion and limitless inspiration. My maternal grandfather's educational journey was constrained by financial limitations, despite his academic prowess. Like many black individuals of that time, he had to seek job opportunities in Johannesburg.

However, he eventually decided to return home and establish himself as a successful business tycoon in our region. The most significant impact of his success on my life was when he generously funded my father's higher education, allowing him to break the cycle of black men being absent from their families due to work commitments. My father, an intelligent, handsome, and athletic young man, had a strong desire for education but lacked the means to pursue it. Losing his mother at a young age and his father working far from home further added to the challenges he faced. However, my paternal grandfather possessed exceptional intellect and an above-average understanding, application, and memory. The financial support from my maternal grandfather, enabling my father to obtain his first degree, was a pivotal moment in my life.

Being raised by both parents is a privilege I deeply appreciate, particularly recognizing its profound impact on early childhood development—physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually—which in turn shapes future outcomes. This experience has allowed me to engage fully and contribute positively in any environment I find myself in, and it has bestowed upon me the resilience to adapt to various circumstances. I recall a specific incident during an inter-sports match at my school when I was in grade 10.

What were the biggest initial hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?

As the first black students to be integrated into a formerly "white-only" school in 1994, some caucasian boys dared each other to throw buttered bread at me. I felt a sudden impact on the back of my head, followed by laughter from behind. I was overwhelmed with shame, sadness, and embarrassment. While my fellow black students suggested reporting the incident to the teachers, my immediate instinct was to call my father. Within 10 minutes, my father arrived, having dropped everything he was doing since he was not far from the match venue. He came directly to our school's stand and, in front of everyone, demanded that the teachers identify and reprimand the students involved. His voice resonated loudly as he asserted that his child was not a plaything for anyone's amusement. The teachers requested to handle the matter internally, to which he reluctantly agreed. However, he made it clear that any future instances would not be tolerated. From that moment on, I never experienced any form of bullying again. It remains a cherished memory and a defining moment for me. I am privileged to draw strength from my ancestors and recognize my responsibility to be a source of strength for others.

What advice do you have for young people locally and internationally who are just starting out in their careers or pursuing their passions?

As someone who has experienced the challenges and rewards of pursuing my own passions and building a career, I have a few pieces of advice for young people who are just starting out:

Embrace your uniqueness: Recognize that you have a unique set of talents, skills, and perspectives that set you apart from others. Embrace and leverage these qualities to carve your own path and make a meaningful contribution in your chosen field.

Follow your passion: Identify what truly excites and inspires you. Pursue a career or field of study that aligns with your passions and interests. When you are passionate about what you do, it becomes easier to stay motivated and overcome obstacles along the way.

Seek continuous learning: Never stop learning and developing your skills. Be open to new experiences, seek out mentors, attend workshops or courses, and stay updated with the latest trends and developments in your industry. Continuous learning will keep you adaptable and competitive in a rapidly changing world.

Embrace failure as a stepping stone to success: Don't be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. View failures as valuable learning opportunities that help you grow and improve. Use setbacks as fuel to push forward and adapt your approach.

Build a strong support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who believe in your abilities. Seek mentors who can offer guidance and advice based on their own experiences. Connect with like-minded individuals who share your interests and can provide a network of support and collaboration.

Stay resilient and persevere: Understand that success rarely comes overnight. Be prepared to face challenges and setbacks along the way. Develop resilience and the ability to bounce back from failures or rejections. Stay focused on your long-term goals and maintain a positive mindset, even in the face of adversity.

Remember the value of hard work and dedication: Success is rarely handed to you on a silver platter. It requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Be willing to put in the effort and go the extra mile to achieve your goals. Stay committed to your vision and never underestimate the power of consistent, focused effort.

Enjoy the journey: While it's important to have goals and aspirations, don't forget to enjoy the process. Embrace the learning experiences, celebrate your achievements along the way, and find joy in the work you do. The journey itself is as important as the destination.

Remember, each person's career path is unique, so trust in yourself and your abilities. Stay true to your passions, stay adaptable, and keep pursuing your dreams with determination and resilience.

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