The power of positive thinking

Anneke Scheepers is showing youth how to pave the way towards a successful life against the odds through her I am Leadership (IAL) programme, which offers workshops in Sarepta, Kuils River. Through her own experience of growing up in difficult cicrumstances in Nooiensfontein and pursuing a positive dream, she has succeeded in a multi-dimensional career that includes motivational speaking; helping youth to writing an online column; and working at the Provincial Government media office for the DA. She chats to ORIELLE BERRY

Tell us more about your workshops?

The workshops are held at the JD Paulse Library in Rietvlei Road, Sarepta. There are between five and 10 participants at each workshop.
At one, human resources expert Stephanie Mandy spoke on leadership and the courage it takes to acknowledge that you can pursue your goals.
She also spoke about the paradigm shift or the shift in thinking that this requires. She then took the participants through some tips for getting a job such as interview do’s and don’ts as well as drafting CVs and cover letters.
At another of our recent workshops, we were joined by Chrischa Rock, who is an expert in active citizenry.
Having lived in and taught this as a subject in the UK for a number of years,
Chrischa facilitated a group session and got the participants thinking about what it takes to make a society function and how each of them could potentially solve a problem that exists in their own community.
I have also done a presentation on the power of intention and positive thinking to the Grade 12s at Sarepta High School and hosted a round table discussion with the youth at the Sarepta VGK Church.

You say in your biography that I am leadership is a mantra and that when you say it to yourself, you tell yourself that you have the power to realise your goals. Can you expand on this?

We often take quite lightly what we say about ourselves. For example, we say “I am tired” or “I am always late” or “I am stupid”. All these negative things that we say have a very powerful impact on how we think about ourselves. Equally, saying something positive has the same effect, arguably, it’s more powerful. What we think about expands, what we think, we become. Particularly when we instruct ourselves by saying “I am”. I am leadership is a similar instruction to the self. It is also an acknowledgement of the control and power that we each have in creating for ourselves, the life that we desire. This is the shift in thinking that Stephanie Mandy spoke on as well.

How does your programme of mentorship help in unlocking true growth potential?

Growing up in Nooiensfontein, there were very few role models and even fewer of them who had the time to engage with the youth and provide guidance on how to reach one’s full potential. Mostly, it was through determination and pushing against the odds that I personally reached my goals and continue to do so.
What is so difficult about spending time with high school kids and assisting them in figuring out what they want to do in life or pointing them to others who are able to advise them on issues and life choices? Mentorship isn’t rocket science. All it takes is time and willingness on the part of those who care enough to see the youngsters become upwardly mobile.

Tell us about your working life and what dreams and goals you have achieved and still wish to achieve?

I run a media office at the Western Cape provincial parliament for the DA. Until October 2015, I was also a part-time lecturer in Political Science, Human Development Studies and Cultural Studies at the private education institution CTI/MGI in Claremont. I also write a column for an online women’s magazine. In addition, I presented a paper that I submitted to the Global Academic Institute Social Sciences conference in Prague in Czech Republic in September 2015. I am also an avid yogi, having just returned from the Himalayas where I attended a yoga and meditation retreat in Pokhara, Nepal.

You are quoted as saying, “Imagine a society where every young person is fearless in the pursuit of their success. I am Leadership is a building block towards such a society.” Can you elaborate on how people can achieve this?

This is the goal that IAL aims to reach. To share the message and create awareness about one’s own individual potential and just how much that stands to contribute in society, when more and more young people begin to realise it.