With a keen and searching eye for a big vision and with passion for our planet, Braam Malherbe has succeeded where few others have dared to tread. As the author of the best seller, The Great Run Braam Malherbe candidly shares his thoughts with us here:
My Definition Of Success | Success is generally perceived as having the finer things in life, like the expensive car, great home, private schooling for the kids and long holidays. There’s nothing wrong with that but for me success is hollow without significance. Being significant is what passionately drives me. Living a purpose-driven life is about being an asset to the planet. In the natural scheme of things, if you aren’t an asset, you’re a liability.
I Am Driven By | Challenging systems and stereotypes. Knowing that nothing is impossible if I have big dreams, plan well and minimize risks. This drives me to achieve things that benefit children and our natural world.
My Highlights | Realizing, as a boy of 16, that I could save a lagoon system from potential devastation. Wanting to commit suicide in 1984 and having the courage to rather ‘live a life of purpose’. The ‘gift of giving’ drives me and makes me feel good. Completing a world first in running the entire length of the Great Wall of China, a distance of 4,200kms at the pace of a marathon a day for 98 days. More significantly, raising enough money for 84 children to receive ‘smiles’ for the first time from Operation Smile (an organization which performs corrective facial surgery on children born with cleft palate and lip disfigurements). Representing SA in the Scott/Amundsen Centenary race to the South Pole. This was an unassisted race covering some 888kms over the harshest terrain on earth. We pulled our own gear at an average temperature of -45C. Whilst finishing 3rd out of 7 teams, this was not important. Highlighting the vitally important issues around climate change was the ‘purpose’ behind the expedition.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Having a well-thought out plan and then executing with passion along strictly defined and measurable time frames.
A Key Talent | My single ‘stand-out gift’ is the ability to have a huge vision. I do not entertain negative input from people. I surround myself with quality people, work hard and take responsibility for my decisions and actions. I strive to not blame but rather to ask ‘what can I do about it?’ It is also imperative to find BALANCE. I ensure I take time out to relax in Nature and re-charge. I find this vital to avoid burn-out.
Principles I Live By | Integrity, respect, honesty, determination and hard work.
Critical Skills I Develop | I don’t accept it when people tell me something can’t be done. I believe that everything begins with a big dream. If you don’t have a big dream you just go around in circles, aimless, and mediocre. Also, try not to blame. It usually disempowers you. Rather ask what you can do to rectify or remedy the situation. That’s empowering. Finally, knowing that your mind is the most powerful tool you have in attaining great things. You become what you think.
Dealing With Doubt | Anyone who says they have never doubted themselves is a liar. Doubt is a natural survival tool. There would be no evolution without it. Fear is the same; fear can be positive or negative. Negative fear is to ‘cop out’ because I would rather fit in and be comfortable and therefore never have to change. Positive fear is what you face while confronting or challenging people, nature or beliefs. This is healthy fear because it causes one to evolve. You are at the coal-face, there is no hiding. There can only be growth. It is about having courage to defend and stand up for what you believe. If you were wrong, you have grown; if you were right, you have new allies. You see, courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to act in spite of it.
On Inspiring Others | Kind attracts kind. If you do good, are purpose-driven and lead a life of integrity, people are attracted to you. It is intrinsic in all of us. The trick is to have the courage to avoid ‘takers’ and seek out ‘givers’. I have done this with the two key people on my team: Ronel, my PA, fills in the detail that I tend to neglect in my everyday life. She does huge amounts of admin and logistics behind the scenes. Osi, my PR and Communications Manager, ensures that my brand is constantly being upheld, grows my profile and tirelessly seeks new business opportunities. Both these ladies are vital to my success.
I Am Inspired By | Dr. Ian Player and Dr. Jane Goodall are two very special friends and mentors of mine. I greatly admire Richard Branson and Al Gore for their innovative thinking and standing up for the planet.