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Updated 24 Sep 2020

Bisila Bokoko on shifting your perspective

By reading the right things, really listening and sometimes having a change of perspective, Bisila Bokoko from BBES gets the most out of her day, and out of others’ too. 

Tracy-Lee Nicol, Entrepreneur, 01 December 2015  Share  0 comments  Print

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  • Player: Bisila Bokoko
  • Company: BBES, a business development agency in New York.
  • Claim to fame: Bisila Bokoko is a Spanish-American entrepreneur, speaker and philanthropist. Her business markets and promotes brands internationally.

The value of reading

Reading played a pivotal role in shaping who I am and building my self-confidence. When you read a self-development book, it’s as though the author becomes your best friend and available to you anytime.

Related: Vusi Thembekwayo on why what got you here, won’t get you there

They impart their skills and knowledge to you. There’s so much knowledge out there; when you need something, find the answer in the right book.

Personal philosophy

One of my greatest influences has been Plato’s allegory of the cave: People have been living in a dark cave, chained to the walls all their lives.

They see shadows projected on the wall of things passing in front of a fire, and that’s as close to reality as they come.

Then, a prisoner is freed and learns that the shadows aren’t reality. But when he tries to explain the truth to the other prisoners, they become fearful and try to kill him.

When we’re faced with problems in business, we often look externally for blame when we should be looking internally.

For example, if you’re working for a corporate and find the environment becoming hostile, has it really changed? Or is it you? Do you need to make a change? When I find myself in these situations I ask, ‘Am I doing what I really want to do?’ Then the inner work begins and I usually find the right answer.

Changing perspective with conflict resolution

It’s so important to be able to see things from the other side. Always ask yourself, ‘Does this person seriously want to make my life miserable?’ It’s very unlikely that they do, so with a shift in perspective you might learn they’ve got their own problems and it’s not personal.

I was working with someone and our personalities clashed. I sat her down to have a really hard conversation – always speaking to her like I would want to be spoken to – and focused on finding a way to make things work.

I explained that I understood her point of view, I apologised for not being aware I was upsetting her, I shared my perspective, and we came to a mutual understanding.

The dynamic changed because we were no longer defensive. No one likes conflict, so when you give them the opportunity to resolve it, they’ll go for it.

How perspective can change your business

During the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009, Spain was in a terrible position. Factories and businesses closed all over. But this was when I chose to start my wine business. People said, ‘You’re crazy!’ and I said ‘Exactly.

Crazy makes you do things.’ When you’re too comfortable, you’re not going to stick your neck out, discover opportunities and turn them into successes. When you’re looking for a reason not to do something, that’s all you’ll see. And that’s why perspective is so important: Focus on the reasons why, not why not.

Going easy on yourself

Ambitious people have a tendency to be really hard and demanding on themselves.

I try to monitor my self-talk, and that includes what I say and how I say it. That voice is going to sabotage you if you’re not careful.

Related: Zico’s Tshego Sefolo on growing in a tough market

Balancing the now with the future

I believe it’s really important to have balance between living in the now and working towards your future goals. You can’t focus solely on the objective, you must look at the whole journey.

If you’re only looking for results, or chasing wealth, you’re missing a huge part of living. But don’t live only in the now either.

Each step you take now must help you get to your end goal and that will help you muster through when things are tough.

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About the author

Tracy-Lee Nicol, Entrepreneur

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