Lance Brown author of “The Driver of Change” is a living testament to his “Creating Opportunities” philosophy and presentations. Growing up in Mitchells Plain, a Cape Town suburb where dreams rarely stretch beyond one’s street corner, Lance dared to reach for the stars. From a small seed of a basic job as a delivery driver and filing clerk in his twenties, he discovered an aptitude for taxation and a road to a brighter world. He worked hard to earn a bachelor’s degree in Financial Management part-time through UNISA and is now a tax consultant for one of the world’s leading consulting firms.
Lance’s talents and goals have branched out and touched many. He has given presentations in London of South African personal income tax and has featured in local and international articles on a variety of issues. He also presented a speech titled “The Small Leap From Suspect to Success” at the 2013 TEDx Table Mountain conference. Yet his greatest joy is speaking to disadvantaged students, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones. Lance has always believed that “Creating Opportunities” is a dish meant to be shared.
About my Life Mission | To seek a brighter future, despite the odds.
My Highlights | My career started out as a delivery driver for a financial services firm and, by changing my mindset, I found myself in London presenting to a group of professional about South African personal income tax. I created this opportunity by stepping out in faith by doing research on the UK tax system and gathering tax information from friends based in London. After about 4 months of gathering information I decided to get in touch with a large organization in the UK. So I went onto the internet and made a list of all the directors in this large organization and each day I would send out one e-mail to a director telling them about the research that I have been doing and that I was seeking an opportunity to gain international tax experience. After about 6 weeks later they came back to me offering me a short term tax assignment and I was going to be based out in South Kensington. I achieved my goals of visiting London whilst gaining international tax experience. Part of my assignment entailed doing an article on this experience, and this article together with a picture of me standing at the Tower of London was placed in an international newsletter distributed throughout the world. This has been a highlight of my life and career, knowing that I have created something out of nothing.
A Key Talent | One of my strength that helps me on my journey is the ability to remain focused when setting goals. Have you ever set a goal and told yourself, I am going to achieve this no matter what, and during this process the flame dies just before you have attained the goal and you miss out on what could have transpired if you just stuck in there a little bit longer. You have to set goals and remain focused no matter what because goals generate hope and positive energy.
Principles, Values and Ideologies I Live By | Martin Luther King Jnr said: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets like Michelangelo painted, like Beethoven composed music and Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep the streets so well, that all heaven and earth will pause to say, ’here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well’.”
Whatever you do, no matter what the task, you should do it to the best of your ability. Because when you start doing things to the best of your ability, doors open, opportunities are created and amazing things will start to happen for you. I was a delivery driver and by using this principle, I found myself in London presenting to professionals on income tax.
How I Use My Mind | Visualization is vitally important when setting goals. Keep that vision strong in your mind. The reason why visualizing is so important is because you see the end result in your mind and that keeps you excited and motivated.
Begin by establishing a specific goal. Imagine the future as if you already achieved your goal. Hold that mental picture of it as if it were occurring to you right at that moment and practice this day and night. Eliminate any doubts when they come and repeat this practice often. Visualize your success.
Lessons I Have Learnt | A few years ago I joined a large financial services firm. This was a complete different ball game. The employees are highly qualified, they went to the best private schools, universities and were groomed from a very young age. I am sure none of them went to a school where rival gangs confront each other in a violent clash while the teachers run around with the caps of bins to protect themselves. But what this taught me was the ability to adapt to any situation. The way that you adapt is by being proactive, by continuously learning and developing your skills.
Dealing With Doubt | Coming back from London in 2007, I was taken off the plane by three military police because a passenger thought that I looked suspicious. I was taken to an interview room where they checked my passport and asked me all sorts of questions about being in London. Then the plane departed and I knew “Lance you are not going home tonight. After lots of questioning, I was taken to a 5 star hotel and really treated for a night. I chose to use this experience as an opportunity to live like a VIP in London for one night. Each and every one of us will face challenges, but how you respond to those challenges is going to make the difference, how you respond to any situation generally reveals a bit about your attitude. Having a positive attitude is vitally important when facing challenges and negativity.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I have published a book titled: ‘The Driver of Change- in pursuit of a brighter future, despite the odds…” which is aimed at inspiring individuals and employees to create opportunities, instead of waiting for them to happen. I speak about my book and journey regularly at schools with the aim of planting new seeds of belief and encouraging students to step out of their comfort zones. I have also started a workshop called “You are your own Opportunity” to students and currently I am expanding these workshop into disadvantaged communities, where people face major challenges daily.
My book is also aimed at inspiring employees to find opportunities within their organizations, so I have sent the book to many companies around the world with the intention of securing international speaking engagements.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Do what you can, where you are and with what you have. Nobody ever sat their way to success.