Notes on the Rise

 

Notes on the Rise

Introduction

Sawubona (I see you),

Portia! My Nike journey was meaningful because of you. Very supportive human being, reliable & fun (I am smiling ear to ear as I reflect on all our encounters). She carries the torch for many and a living example of truly helping someone cross.

My chief supporter, as well as a wife and mother of 3.

Her note below reminds me that our story can start any time and that resilience is the only option if you want to move forward.

Thank you for pulling me UP and for walking with me home to ME.

Rise.

 

My Rise

A Note on the Rise by Portia Sithole

My mother, the foundation of my rise

Growing up in an environment where you witness your mother moving from one very physically abusive relationship to another was certainly not conducive, especially for a girl child. I already knew as life went on that such should not characterise a family set-up. This thought was of course attributed to what I observed in other families. I wished wholeheartedly I could grow up fast enough so I could save my mother from these ordeal relationships. Yet through all those life challenges, she managed to take me (and later my siblings) through school, up to tertiary level, with what she termed the ‘’hand to mouth” wages of a seamstress.
Of course this may sound cliché, particularly for an ordinary black South African, but it would be disingenuous of me to pen my life foundation and/or achievements without firstly acknowledging the sacrifices that my mother made.

When other young mothers took (tough or easy) decisions to abandon their children, she chose to stagger and ultimately rise firmly with me. I couldn’t rise without her relentless resilience!

Christ, the rock of my salvation… He died and rose for me

I grew up in both a Methodist as well as a Catholic church environment, illogical as it may sound, it was liberating to finally have a relationship with Christ by acknowledging Him as my personal Saviour, a powerful discovery and a seed that was planted in me at the very young age. I strongly believe that the instability of growing up in different places (from Soweto, to Evaton, to Alexandra, to Diepsloot and finally a homeland in Digwale) could have broken me had I not had some kind of stability and north star.
Hence, I really love the worship song that partly goes:

“He lifted me up, from the deep muddy clay, and He planted my feet, on the King’s highway…’’

And that is MY reason.

I believe that He died and rose for me, enabling me to rise in spirit and in flesh. In Him I live, move and have my being.

I can confidently say that I personally could not have easily realised my personal career objectives, had it not been for my husband’s support, what with the (beautiful) children in the midst.

I rise despite family trials

Marriage is a beautiful covenant, and I am super grateful to God for how I have experienced mine. Having a husband that is ultimately so loving, caring and supportive is truly a gift that I would not trade for anything. With all the challenges that we endured in our twenty something years of marriage, including but not limited to tests of alcohol abuse, multiple years of unemployment and our fair share of “suffering”, unpleasant family interference etc., I am humbled by just how God continues to protect and steadily transform our tests into empowering testimonies.

I can confidently say that I personally could not have easily realised my personal career objectives, had it not been for my husband’s support, what with the (beautiful) children in the midst.

I rise because I was raised by others

I rose because others recognised and believed in my potential and provided me with opportunities and support. This constantly reminds me that I also have a duty to believe in and invest in others in the best way I know how. It may sound small but to be able to contribute to a child’s school fees and support them through the journey is a good example of brightening the corner where you are, one child at a time.

One of my mentors used to say to me:

‘’Work hard and earn your leadership every day (whether you structurally lead teams or not), because you are leading one way or another, whether you are aware of it or not,
and whether you like it or not”.

I rise when I am able to rise others

Apart from my own children, I become humbled by the young people who often reach out to have a conversation about various topics. I am equally humbled by what I contribute (and learn!) when I reach out to those who have less courage to engage proactively. The ability to have empowering and meaningful conversations with young girls and boys about any life topic is one of the fulfilling experiences for me: after all, it takes a village.

Being able to help and positively influence a woman to make sound decisions on life-changing matters (marriage, divorce, relationships, career, children, etc.) is my ultimate rise. We all go through various challenges and experiences, so it is important to carry each other through sharing our own experiences, successes, failures, lessons with a view to support and raise each other for the better.

I rise when I know I have done the right thing, no matter how hard it may be, or shunned I may be

More often as human beings we compromise our values in exchange for being popular or being liked, especially by those with influence, whether at our workplaces, schools, communities, churches or our own families.

For me doing the right thing means consistently standing your ground on principles, whether the others see the benefit or not at that moment. I find it much simpler and fulfilling to stand for what I believe in.

If you are my friend, family member, colleague or anyone I get to have some interactions with, when it comes to building or empowering you, I would rather impair someone momentarily with the truth, than to gratify one permanently with deceit.

Rising and raising for me means acknowledging that to whom much is given, much is expected. Recognising that everyone has a potential to do well and succeed, and then contributing in one way or another in helping them unleash that potential..

About Portia:

Portia is a founding member of Regalia HR and Business Solutions, a consulting company providing strategic HR and integrated talent management solutions. She is also the HR Director for a leading multinational brand organisation. A seasoned HR and business leader with more than 20 years’ experience gathered from a variety of industries. A graduate from TUT, the University of South Africa and GIBS Business School.
Connect with Portia at:

ABOUT PORTIA

Portia is a founding member of Regalia HR and Business Solutions, a consulting company providing strategic HR and integrated talent management solutions. She is also the HR Director for a leading multinational brand organisation. A seasoned HR and business leader with more than 20 years’ experience gathered from a variety of industries. A graduate from TUT, the University of South Africa and GIBS Business School.

Connect with Portia at:

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