Alan Brand is a leading expert in the development and provision of innovative employee wellness strategies enabling business enterprises throughout South Africa to mitigate the threat of HIV and AIDS and other associated health and wellness risks. He has developed numerous outcomes based wellness training modules. His personal energy and unique and professional facilitation skills have inspired many. Alan is a sought after motivational speaker, conference facilitator, training provider and master of ceremonies. He has also published ‘Positively Alive’, Living with HIV and AIDS: A Path to Inner Healing, Published by Jacana 2005 as well as Positively Alive Recipe Book’ Published by Micromega Publication 2014.
My Definition of Success | The meaning of success has most definitely changed for me over time. Without a doubt the diagnosis of two chronic non curable diseases (cancer and HIV) brings about many changes in ones outlook on life and the concept of success is but one these changes. Originally success was about material achievements, position and had a lot to do with image and appearances. Today success for me is found in the joy of meaning something to others, teaching, uplifting. It does not mean that financial gains are not important but in a manner these gains are a byproduct of helping others succeed. It also does not mean I do not enjoy having nice things and travelling, and driving a nice car etc. yes I still enjoy all that. Getting a message from someone I have reached out to and helped in some way is of far greater value to my feelings of achievement than what I own. Seeing someone become a better person through something small thing I have been able to do for them or have been able to show them is my ultimate joy.
I Am Driven By | Because I work in the field of workplace health and wellness what drives me is the desire to help others and uplift people. For me health and wellness is not the absence of illness or dis-ease (not I do not write it as disease but dis-ease because dis-ease is the absence of ease.) but the ability to rise above the condition or illness and find inner health, healing and fulfillment.
My Highlights | When my book Positively Alive was published in 2005 and especially when I got a call from a man in Zimbabwe to share that my book had changed his life and that he now had hope for his future. In 2011 I started my own Employee Wellness Consultancy business and although the time was filled with fear of the unknown and uncertainty now 5 years later managing my own business means I can be available to assist clients anywhere that need help with either implementing an employee wellness programme or initiative. My focus still remains the empowerment of others and hence my model still remains one with a strong focus on skills development and educating others to be self-sufficient. In 2008 I started a free web-based support network for HIV+ gay, bisexual and transgender men in South Africa and through this programme I have been able to freely give back all I have learnt on my journey of healing and recovery the success of this initiative is one I will ever be blessed by.
Difference Between Good and Great | Greatness is defined in the responses that others have in your achievements. So for me the difference in being good and greatness is when someone acknowledges and reaffirms that what one has done or achieved has inspired them to greatness. I am hence one that believes that greatness can never be held in a trophy, a certificate or an award but in the hearts of those you have come into contact with on your life’s journey.
A Key Talent | For me the most important talent or strength I believe I possess is the desire to see others succeed. Many people go through life afraid of others around them succeeding or being better than them and hence are afraid that such a person or persons will take over from them and leave them in the wake so to say of their success. For me life has shown me in numerous ways that I can only be successful if I surround myself with other successful people. If have a skill that I can share with my colleague, by teaching what I know and giving away to others my skills, talents and strengths then when that person achieves their greatness and even if they do take over my current space or position it means I am able to move onwards and upwards. When I worked in the corporate world every junior appointed to me eventually took over from me and I was able to be promoted and move to a new position. Being a mentor to others is the strength I believe I would call my biggest talent.
The Characteristics Of Success | Integrity is for me a key value, it means that even if you cannot meet a client request on time or in the manner in which you normally would you are able to immediately communicate openly and honestly and give a new deadline or be honest about what you will be able to achieve or deliver. Then do your best to exceed their expectation. Honesty is a key component in achieving this. Lastly for me a key principle is being humble and real and fully able to admit ones short comings and faults. Making a mistake or wrong decision is always and only human, admitting that mistake and acknowledging, embracing it and learning from it is greatness. Well I guess I just gave my definition of integrity.
Critical Skills I Develop | Overcoming procrastination, I was once told that the best way to overcome procrastination was to eat the ugliest fattest frog first. Waiting for the mood to be right or the inspiration to come well things will just never get done. I set small achievable goals and start out by just jumping in. Often this might mean I don’t succeed at first but at least I have made a start and then with a commitment to making a success of what I am busy with I have found one is always able to change and improve and end up with the result you are pleased and satisfied with. I think I learnt this through art. Sitting in front of a black canvas with a paintbrush and some bright colours on a pallet is very daunting and can easily lead one to put it all down and give up. But if you just put a smudge on the canvas and make a start even if the start was not successful you can always go back and paint it over and make it work, the important thing is you made a start.
Dealing With Doubt | Using affirmations (i.e. saying positive things about yourself) is a practical and useful way of overcoming fear, self-doubt or re programming negative beliefs about one’s self or an experience. Affirmations are positive thoughts you repeat to yourself a few times a day. Writing them down and saying them to yourself in a mirror is a good way of doing this.
Here are two affirmations you could try saying to yourself:
- I love myself; therefore, I forgive and totally release the past and all past experiences, and I am free.
- I love myself; therefore, I live in the now, experiencing each moment as good, and knowing that my future is bright and joyous and secure
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired |I am inspired by Louise L Hay and her many books but most importantly her book ‘You Can Heal Your Life”. Gregg Branden and his book “The Science of Miracles” – The Quantum Language of Healing, Peace, Feeling and Beliefs, has and remains an inspiration to me. Spending time in the Kruger National Park with my family is my soul place.