MAY 2017

Hitting rock bottom

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘wake-up call’ before – either while growing up, or in articles, the news, movies or even songs. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a wake-up call in some way or another – the one where you know that you can’t ignore the signs any more – it’s time for a change. This wake-up call is when we hit rock bottom.
In a way our country also hit rock bottom in the past few weeks with our sovereign credit rating being downgraded to junk status. As business professionals you will be fully aware of the impact this has not only had on business but also on the value of the rand, companies’ confidence, employment, and even the public sector.

While it’s never a good experience when you hit rock bottom, it’s an opportunity for change. And as Justin Kanayurak said: ‘Once you hit rock bottom, that’s where you perfectly stand; that’s your chance of restarting, but restarting the right way.’
So whether you’re finding yourself personally in a situation like this, or whether we collectively face this as a nation – it’s always an opportunity for learning:

  • At the bottom, you realise how far off-course you were and that your life choices were not sustainable. It’s in these moments of despair that your frustration becomes so great you decide, once and for all, never to accept such mediocrity from yourself or from anyone else ever again.
  • At the bottom, all your dysfunctional behaviours are revealed. If you never hit your lowest point, the dysfunctionality continues to go unnoticed and unchecked, playing out under the denial radar and inevitably creating bigger dysfunctionalities and a harder fall down the track. Until the bubble bursts, you delude yourself into thinking everything is just great and your life ends up being built on a big, fat, false foundation.
  • Hitting rock bottom is the beginning of questioning everything that you’ve ever thought to be true. You question your motives, other people’s motives, your beliefs, fears, why you did things, why you didn’t do things, why you attracted certain people and circumstances, why you succeeded, why you failed. The very fabric of your life is turned upside down and examined in raw detail. It’s from this point that you build again, from the ground up, with a fresh perspective based on your renewed sense of clarity.

Hitting rock bottom therefore gives an opportunity to look at things anew. Rebuilding from the ground up with a fresh perspective and new sense of clarity seems like exactly what our country needs right now.

As our SAICA CEO, Terence Nombembe said in a communication to members, in this time of turmoil, there should be, as always, an increased focus on the principles upon which the profession was created and the reason for its existence, as well as the positive standing of the institute and its members and associates in the marketplace for upholding the principles of good governance. The profession was originally created – and it still does this – to enhance the public interest and support the development of the South African economy and society. This means doing the right thing, even when no-one is looking, in order to maintain public trust in the capabilities.

Editor
Gerinda Engelbrecht

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