We spent some time with Racy hearing his growth story and the impact that Mygrow has had on his life. The following is what he had to say, shared with his permission.
I am originally from a village in Polokwane. In 1994 we moved to Tembisa in Gauteng where I went to school. In 2005 I was sponsored to study IT at a university and move towards a degree. I worked very hard to make the most of the opportunity I had been afforded and for three years put everything into my studies. It was going well until suddenly, despite all my effort, in my final year I received a notification from my sponsor that they would no longer be able to fulfill their commitment to me and that I needed to find another way to finish my degree. This was a complete shock to me and I was forced to leave my studies in 2008 to find work, and ultimately ended up landing my first job in retail. Again I worked hard because I am someone that is always wanting to better myself and do my best with whatever is in front of me.
History and context
Looking back over my career there has been a drive inside of me to better myself and to be different. There has also been a fear that I would end up back where I came from and worked so hard to leave. In 2017, in an effort to grow and develop myself, I worked with a life coach to help me improve areas of my life. One such area was learning how to manage my money. I knew that I needed to acquire money but didn’t necessarily know how to manage it. I wanted to improve and become the best version of myself. The best husband and father that I could be.
In 2021 I started my journey with Mygrow. To be honest I thought it was just another course like many others that I have done over the years. But it turned out to be far better than I had expected, or even imagined.
I loved that even though we were all doing Mygrow together, each person moved through at their own pace and worked on themselves individually. This was exactly what I had been looking for, something where I could work on and use to understand myself.
Growing in self-awareness
The part that has impacted me the most has been understanding how the events in my life have formed and affected me. I have realised that my upbringing has shaped me into who I am today. In the Self-Awareness module I learned about triggers and the impact our history can have on us. For example, I have always lived with this massive pressure to ‘make it’ and to ‘be successful’. This pressure came mostly from my own fears and the ‘fake realities’ I saw on social media. I can sometimes be my own worst enemy, and live under this crazy pressure that I need to always have the answers and fix every situation. This causes a lot of stress and anxiety. Through Mygrow, and the help of my wife, I am learning that I don’t have to have everything figured out. I don’t have to do it all on my own and it’s okay to be vulnerable and even ask for help.
Another example of this was when I told my wife that I would pay a particular bill even though I knew that I didn’t have the money to do so. I stressed about it and tried to work out what to do and eventually my wife received a letter of demand. She approached me and I had to share the truth with her. She asked me, “Who asked you to fix this?”. This is a line I hear quite often! She shared that she was able and willing to settle the bill without my help and that I had been stressing for no reason at all. I learned that she wants to share the burden and that I just need to be vulnerable and let my guard down.
“I believe that people need this kind of development. When people understand their emotions we are empowering them with skills that make a world of difference. In a society where men in particular are taught to suppress their feelings, we can develop and learn to be kinder to ourselves, and better neighbours to each other.”
Learning to trust
A realisation I have come to on my journey with Mygrow is that I have a deep fear of being let down by others. I was deeply impacted by the triggering event that happened with the sponsors withdrawing the finances for me to complete the final year of my degree. This produced a mistrust and fear of depending on anyone, which in turn played itself out in all of my relationships on a subconscious level. I have needed to face this and actively choose to let others in and trust those in my life.
Growing in my self-awareness and learning that this is something that has shaped my thinking, how I see myself and the world, is enabling me to actively rewire my thinking. I am learning not to respond with a ‘I need to fix this’ in every situation, and to share my burdens with those around me. I am getting better at letting down my guard with people whom I trust. Phrases like, ‘the dog that you feed the most wins’ and, ‘the way that you see the problem is the problem’ have stuck with me as I find a healthier way of seeing the world and myself.
Improved decision making
Another life skill that I have learnt in my Mygrow journey is how to go about making good decisions. We make so many decisions every day at work, but also just in general in life.
I used to always say and think that we shouldn’t make ‘emotional decisions’. I have since learnt the importance of our emotions in making good decisions, and that acknowledging them is not weakness but rather a skill that one can learn to harness. The way I approach things now is to consider all the different outcomes and consequences and in essence to plan my day as opposed to going into things blindly. It’s also important to note that we all have biases that influence how we make decisions.
I recently faced a situation at work where one of the area managers I oversee responded to a store manager in a way that could have potentially been damaging. I was able to recognise his bias, yet also not assume anything, and so have the right conversations, getting all the correct information to respond correctly. If I hadn’t recognised the bias of the situation, the outcome could have been disastrous. This new way of approaching decisions went against how I did things before. I would sometimes act impulsively, or respond in the moment with what felt best. I have recently had the opportunity to practise good decision making with my son going to grade one. I considered all the various factors, such as the expenses involved, the language he will be schooled in, the distance and what is important to us as his parents with regards to schooling.
This journey is not easy but it’s simple. Although I had an idea of what I was looking for in terms of development, Mygrow unpacked EQ in a way that was much deeper than I imagined.
I believe that people need this kind of development. When people understand their emotions we are empowering them with skills that make a world of difference. In a society where men in particular are taught to suppress their feelings, we can develop and learn to be kinder to ourselves, and better neighbours to each other.