tokalives: Dreaming in colour

Wellness website defines existential crisis as searching for your life’s mission and purpose, and not being able to find satisfying answers. 2018 was the toughest year in Phenyo Mabokela’s life. He detailed to me how he experienced and survived an existential crisis. It was during that year when he was studying Accounting Science that he discovered what he wanted to do. He knew he was not cut for corporate, that he wanted to engage more with people.

Making such an academic change might seem like a simple thing to do but like Phenyo, I understand very well the implications of changing study fields. Loss of funding is not the only problem but expectations from family and the community can weigh one down and, one can end up being afraid of making necessary changes. It can be lonesome and tiring. However, Phenyo and I agreed that sustainable change can only come when you are tired and are determined to live.

Anyone who is active on the social media platform LinkedIn will find it hard to ignore Phenyo. He has an active following and engages consistently. I have never before seen someone his age and in his age group get such a response on LinkedIn. At the age where youth want to be Instagram influencers, he has distinguished himself from others by actively using LinkedIn. He mentioned to me that the people that youth and young graduates need to talk to are on LinkedIn and that the platform has a huge community building culture. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him. This did not feel like an interview with a stranger I inboxed requesting to feature on my blog  

I present Phenyo Mabokela.

  1. Please tell us about Phenyo five years go?

The year is 2015; I am in my final year of high school with a heart full of hope and a head filled with curiosity. The feeling of coming to the end of the high school chapter of life is bringing in great joy and expectations while at the same time the thought of a life after high school. This raises many unanswered questions such as ‘am I going to varsity?’, ’what will varsity be like?’, ‘which university is going to accept me?’, and ‘what am I going to study?’. In the mix of all the emotions, one thing was certain in my mind life was never going to be the same again.

I was passionate about learning and about sharing my knowledge. I was an unshakable optimist who applied for universities that required an APS between 39 and 41 knowing well that mine was so far below that. No one with a good eyesight would look twice before rejecting my application.

2. Who are you now?

The year is 2020; I am entrepreneur, multi-award-winning leader, an incredible speaker, a writer and through a surprising turn of events, completing my studies at one of the top two universities in Africa. From a personality trait perspective, I am more socially engaging, appreciative of reading and caring towards society. I am even more daring in my endeavours and further determined that there is no goal or dream that is unattainable, if you have a strong desire and will to act on it.

My day-to-day life is centred around building my business, developing my mind-set, sharpening my skills-set and helping others to do the same – if not greater – so they too can experience the change needed to attain success.

3. What three lessons have you learned about yourself or life in the last five years?

One: There is more good than bad that has happened in your life, you just have to look at it in 8-10 year timelines to see it.

Two: Everything I have believed about my abilities and myself has proven to be true, be they favourable or unfavourable. 

Whatever you say about yourself influences how you think and act.

Three: Love is the greatest force for change. Love yourself, love society, love your work and all you do, and you will see great change.

4. What is Time? Energy? Love?

Time is a wise ally and a feared rival. It reminds us that opportunity is not always open and that we should act while it is still by our side. Those who ignore its wisdom see no success. They procrastinate; they take for granted and plan poorly.

Energy to me is both physical and spiritual. In physical form, it is the power to do/act. In spiritual form, it is the atmosphere we create or attract which can power our will to do/act, or discourage it.

Love can be defined in many different ways depending on how we experience it at the different stages of our lives. At the stage I am at, love is the ability to see in and desire for others that which you see in and desire for yourself. It is being able to have a sense of oneness with others.

5. What drives you?

I am driven by love. Love for myself, for others and for what I do. I believe that there is a God-given purpose for my life, which is to educate, empower and inspire others through everything I say and do. I get a great sense of joy and fulfilment every time I do good. This is not limited to charity work, but also extends to providing a good service to my clients, delivering a good talk for my audience, and being a positive influence to everyone. 

6. Tell us about one book that you will never forget and why.

The bible. As weird as this may sound, it is a book I do not think I will ever forget. It’s a book of books, literally. I have owned one for many years but have not read it from cover to cover.

I will not forget this book because with almost every other book that I have read, be on business, wealth-creation or personal development – I read a lot – this is still my favourite. Reading has become my second favourite treat after ice cream. I keep coming across principles that are in the bible, which I did not see practical value at the time I read them in other books.

The underlying theme across the books I have read are desire, belief and action … all of which can be summed-up to equate to faith. When this is published (lol, this interview happened long time ago), I can bet that I still would not have read the bible from cover to cover.

Other impactful books include: The Way To Wealth by Benjamin Franklin, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Richest Man In Babylon by Georege S Clason, Principles by Ray Dalio, The 5am Club by Robin Sharma, What To Do When You Want To Give Up by Allon Raiz, and The Art of Money Gettin by Phineas T Barnum.

7. How does one live a tokalife?
To live a tokalife is to have love and respect for everything and everyone. Love what you do but also respect what others do. Respect your way of thinking but also respect those that have a different way. Appreciate life and all its opportunities and challenges because at the end of the day, life will end and it will not matter all that will be left of it is the influence and impact you have had on others. “It is not just about me. You can’t live a tokalife if it is in the expense of others

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