Applications for GL Programme 2020
One of the things I enjoy is to engage with young women. So, once a quarter, I host a "Girls Lunch with Dr Lulu". We sit, eat, talk, question, laugh, and share experiences about life in general.
My Personal Reflections: Lulu Gwagwa
I thought I still remember the issues that young (black) women have to deal with every day and in every corner they traverse. But as the Girls reflected on what has been their priced take-outs from The Girls Lunch, I was jolted into a reality check. As one of the girls said: “I am now better able to show up for myself”. The other one proudly added that: “I am slowly growing into myself, and learning to be me”. I was left convinced that the Girls Lunch focus on “SELF” is the correct one. These Girls are high achievers and not short of degrees and all. But despite these accolades, they struggle to show up for themselves; with intimate relationships; with parents; with peers; at work. They struggle with self-confidence.
It has become clear to me that as we continue to walk with and cheer these Girls on, one of the important keys to unleashing their potential is just to assure them that “we see them”, and that their dreams and wants are legit. One of the guest speakers at the Girls Lunch Retreat, Nozipho Mbanjwa, implored the Girls to learn to mute conversations that don’t serve them. So, the Girls Lunch will support the Girls to increase the volume of conversations that serve them.
30 November 2019 - 1 December 2019, Shumba Valley Lodge
Reflection on Retreat: The journey of seedlings...
Every great idea begins in the mind and then manifests into form. Before the first seed was planted, there was a vision for it. Before the seed was watered there was a vision for it.
Where do I even begin with my reflection?
I think I can speak for all 39 girls, to say that we were all super excited way before we got to Shumba Valley, so much so I booked my flight months before the venue was announced!
The Girls Lunch started as usual with a Check in, here I sat and listened to these beautiful phenomenal young women speak about how they have grown, the achievements they have made throughout the year, the demons they have had to face, the uncomfortable issues they have had to unpack, the powers they thought they never had and this was all through this amazing program - I sat there and all I could do was look at Dr G with awe. She did all of this, she was able to take each girl, all from different walks of life, all at different stages of their lives and careers, with different issues, different personalities I can go on. But Dr G took us in and gave us a platform to uncover and unleash our potentials. like I said earlier - I sat in full awe!
After all the Check ins, it was time to get down to business.
I think the visualization and visioning worship was a perfect way to end our beautiful journey with the Girls Lunch. End not being the perfect choice of words but rather a transition into our new roles the Alumni.
The speakers were absolutely amazing. Nozipho and Mam Khanyi really brought their A game for us and I think reflecting on all the other speakers we have had throughout the year, they all brought their A game, again a testimony on how loved and fortunate we are, to have Dr G and her team sit down and strategically align the speakers with the theme of every workshop, we were blessed!
Nozipho and Mam Khanyi really embodied the vision theme and we could definitely relate to both their stories, challenges and life paths.
Throughout the retreat we were led through a series of visualization and visioning techniques by coach Nothemba.
Right away, we started to experience the incredible benefits of taking time to picture ourselves succeeding, picturing ourselves on top of that mountain.
Personally what visualization and visioning has done for me is increase my confidence and comfort level.
When you think of a big goal or dream that you want to achieve, its natural to think of all the obstacles that will come your way. Coach Phets made us realize that the problem is far too often we allow these obstacles to become so big in our minds that it inhibits us from moving forward - a valuable tip we definitely kept in mind during the vision workshop
What we also took away from the workshop is rather than creating larger than life barriers in our minds and dwelling on everything that will hold us back, we need to envision ourselves victorious like Mam Khanyi on top of Mount Elbrus. We need to picture ourselves as the greatest at our craft like Dr G and take that bold move like Nozipho once did.
We learnt questions we need to continuously ask ourselves, what will it take? what sacrifices will you make? How can you handle any obstacles and still have enough to make it to the finish line? Another valuable tip we received was to make our positive vision stronger than anything that can set you back.
In closing, reflecting on the last Girls Lunch has been bitter sweet. I am sad because we are leaving such an amazing program, we want more! LOL. The best way to describe the feeling would be like chicks having to leave the mothers nest, we know we are ready to do so, our coaches and Dr G have played their part but we still want to get more lol. On the other hand, I am happy, my heart is so grateful and my cup is fill.
This program has not only enabled me for fully discover who I am, my potential, my true self, my positive and negative sound bites. It has also broken down so many barriers, it has made me feel uncomfortable, it has allowed me to start rebuilding my life again, it has given me CONFIDENCE something I thought I had lost forever, it has given me hope, it has given my friendships and above all it has given core strength - all at no price to pay! A program that is well over R55000 per person, I paid nothing. All that was required of me and the other girls was to show up!
Words can not describe how grateful we are as your Girls,
Dr G. I know there have been tough times with us and that you have been disappointed once or twice along the way, it was definitely not our intention. Our true intention is to make you proud one day.
For you to see your hard work play off in each one of us.
Sibamba ngazibini okwenzileyo kuthi uze kwenze nakwabanye siyabulela Dr G wanga uThixo anagkugcina akubabale wena nentsapho yakho
Love of love and gratitude,
Reflection: Dr Lulu Girls’Lunch Retreat
It has been a beautiful year filled with growth, obstacles and learning. The Dr Lulu Girl’s Lunch programme provided the platform and opportunity for me to find myself. To redefine my dreams and establish ways to navigate dealing with a variety of obstacles that may arise along the way. I had applied to the Girls’lunch programme because I wanted to surround myself with like-minded women who have gone through trials and tribulations yet continue to flourish. I wanted to surround myself with women who have learnt from their mistakes but have been intentional and deliberate in their actions after moments of downfall. The talk provided by conversation strategist Nozipho Mbanjwa reminded me about the fundamentals of being authentic based on passion and commitment to what I do and how I do it. It also allowed me to reflect on my character which has required me to stand up for what I believe in and speak my truth, even if it is not what others want to hear. Throughout the year, Lulu placed emphasis on the emphasis on “showing up”. The depth in this statement. Sometimes, it’s not about how difficult it is, but how one shows up despite the challenges. How one shows up not for recognition, but for learning and growth.
I wanted to become a part of network of greatness. I wanted to learn from others. I have learnt that there is no one size fits all approach to dealing with successes or failures. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to be a black woman, trying to fight socially constructed concepts which impede our growth. However, one needs to remain cognisant of the fact that they need to remain respectful and professional whilst fighting such a battle. As I move forward in my journey, I have created a network of strong powerful woman who strive for perfection in their lives. I have learnt that it is okay to ask for help when assistance is required. As Maya Angelo said, I come in one but stand in ten thousand. The success of every black woman is not about what she achieves, but the people who work the journey with her.
The weekend retreat allowed us time to digest what we’ve have learnt in 2019 and to be truly present in the moment. Below the surface it was very emotional, but it still sunk in. Because we were in one location for two days, it helped us sub-consciously apply ourselves to the content being discussed even outside of the sessions.
The feedback from the entire group was gratitude that despite the depth of the mental and emotional impact, the program presented in digestible pieces.
As one of the girls said: “Forever a girl at heart but now a confident young lady in the making”
The weekend retreat gave us an opportunity to spend a lot more time on each topic. It also gave us time to connect with each other more.
The speakers were apt in sealing the year, and helped us consolidate our 2019 learnings, whilst setting the tone for 2020. I appreciated Nozipho Mbanjwa for making us feel that it’s okay to not know your next move, as long as you keep yourself open to learning and exploring opportunities.
I loved sis’Khanyi Chaba’s metaphor of life using mountain climbing. I’ve struggled this year with conquering some mountains and I couldn’t figure out how to go back and regroup. But sis Khanyi’s pole-pole principle resonated with me. It’s now clear to me that keep going even if I’m slow, breathing in between each step. This has also taught me that in life we need to take a pause to reflect with each accomplishment or failure.
Thank you to Dr G and Coaches for shaping us (me) into a better version of ourselves and teaching us the importance of honoring ourselves.
I will now begin to honor others more.
The session started off with Dr Gwagwa highlighting that we should show up for ourselves. Key takeaways from our first guest speaker, Nozipho Mbanjwa, were:
- Learn to amplify positive ‘sound bites’ in your life. Interrogate negative ‘sound bites’ and quiten those that don’t serve you.
- Be open to exciting opportunities and learn to reach out for help.
- Purpose is not a lighthouse that is out there. It is in the stillness within us.
The second day started with a bang with our second guest speaker, sis’ Khanyi Chaba drawing lessons from her experience climbing Mount Elbrus. The key takeaway was:
“Do not carry unnecessary weight, leave behind things (relationships, people, possessions) that no longer benefit you. Let go of past experiences and enter each new challenge with fresh expectations.