Sharon on Finding the Courage to be Herself. ALL THE TIME

October 19, 2020

Looking back to your early years, is this the life you envisaged for yourself?
On all the important aspects such as family life, friendships, health and career, it is all that I hoped for and then some. On the relatively less important things like lifestyle, certain things have taken longer than they would have had we been in a more stable economy but overall, I have been fortunate to not lack for anything and to have a relatively comfortable life.

What have some of the biggest highlights and achievements been?
The highlights and achievements that immediately come to mind include making partner at a renowned firm at a relatively young age; being selected as a scholar of the International Bar Association (global association of lawyers)  after submitting the winning thesis on tax avoidance schemes by multi-national companies;  undergoing civic leadership training in the US as a fellow of the flagship Young African Leaders Initiative; having my blogs turned into a TV series; being seconded to work with the Project Finance team in the London office of a prestigious international law firm; and, more recently, transitioning from the world of legal practice to a senior position in commerce.

And what have some of your biggest lessons or AHA moments been?
As a self-confessed over-achiever, one of the most liberating  epiphanies I have had is to accept that I will fail at one thing or another – that for as long as I am working at something or trying something ( and I try a LOT of different things), failure is a distinct possibility and it is OK to fail. As I have become more comfortable with failing, I have become less afraid to try out the really big things and I believe I have had more successes as a result.

What’s some of the best advice you’ve received and why did it resonate with you?
One of my cousins shared something he had read to the effect that “for everything you gain, you lose something else.” It was a bit difficult for me to get my head around this concept but the more I thought of it, the truer it rang. Say, I gain a promotion at work, the corresponding loss may be of time due to increased responsibilities. Or say, I get the opportunity to work in a more developed country, the corresponding loss would perhaps include loss of proximity to loved ones at home. You can run that principle across many permutations and it seems to stand. It is as though this is the balance of life – almost like Newton’s third law in a way. It resonated with me because one of my flaws is I tend to go after every opportunity that comes my way and it is important for someone like me to stop and assess each seemingly shiny opportunity against what I will be sacrificing or losing in that process. It helps me in decision making and to always keep things in broader perspective.

If you were to pick one defining moment on your journey to now, what would it be?
Strange as it may sound, I would say the choice of a life partner has been quite defining. I think for a lot of people, women in particular, who we marry can make or break us in terms of reaching our full potential. Spouses can either be actively supportive, or they can inadvertently or deliberately stifle our growth and the extent of our contribution to the world.  I have gone as far as I have, thanks, in large part, to an actively supportive partner who cheers me on particularly when I second guess my capabilities.

What are the things that matter most to you?
Authenticity, charity and gratitude.

Oprah suggests everyone’s biggest pursuit in life should be to find what their purpose is and then to spend every waking moment making sure they live to fulfill it. What is your purpose? Have you figured it out yet?
I believe I have figured it out based on what I excel at with minimal effort and on what lights my inner fire. I believe I do fairly well at bringing people together to rally around a cause or to ignite a collective shift in mindset and I am comfortable with assuming the responsibility that it comes with.  I therefore view myself as well-suited for a role of influence and/or leadership.

What do you love most about the woman you have become?
The discarding of self-limitations and the courage to be me, all (most of) the time, in any situation, warts and all.

And what do you know for sure?
That I matter. That my opinions matter. My preferences matter. Just as much as the next person. I think that is the foundation of self-worth and of respect for others.

THE LEGACY

What does the future look like? What do you still want to get done?
I remain committed to the big dream of serving my country in public office. I also want to take another crack at script writing or maybe a book because I had a lot of fun working on Harare Working Wives.

If you were to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
I would pick my battles better, I suppose. As a feisty person, in retrospect, some battles are not worth it because at times, more is lost for the sake of winning needless battles. This applies across board, in relationships and at the workplace, within families and in other social settings. I would still be bold but sprinkled with lots of prudence.

How would you like to be remembered when all is said and done? What story do you want to be told about you?
That I lived, I did not just exist. That I made a positive impact in many lives. That I did not conform. That I inspired many to shed self-limitations and go for their goals.

 

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