Would you choose between a career and family or can both co-exist? Inga Sebata, a Public Relations professional shares her inspiring story with us. She strongly believes that life is what you make of it. Read her story below:
I grew up between two provinces, Free State and Eastern Cape. I spent the first 7 years of my life in the rural Eastern Cape and then moved to the Free State when I was 8 years old. My grade one and two were in the EC (I started school when I was 5 years) and finished off in the Free State. My varsity years were at Tshwane University Of Technology, Pretoria Campus.
People always make the mistake that when you are an only child, you are spoilt because you have everything at your disposal. Well, that was not the case with me. My mother had me at a very young age, just after she matriculated so having a child wasn’t easy for her but she made it work. Obviously, at the time I didn’t see anything challenging about the situation but now that I’m older and know better, I reflect and notice the kind of hardships she went through to give me the best she could afford at the time.
I’ll always maintain that my varsity years were the best years of my life, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t come with their fair share of challenges. I was this small town girl, with big dreams in a big city and trying to navigate it all by myself was tough. I’m grateful that my mother taught me independence from a young age because I think that’s what helped me through my young adult life years.
I work for one of the top five Public Relations (PR) agencies in South Africa. In my position I’m a Senior Account Director responsible for developing strategies for my clients and also managing a team of very dynamic individuals. I also work with 8 African countries to manage my client’s reputation in other African markets.
My confidence, again, I credit my mother for this one. She always told me, unless you pray to that person, you have no reason to be afraid of him/her. No one is above you, and no one is below you either, treat people with the same respect no matter who they are but never allow people to take advantage of you. I have a very bold personality; I know that about myself, I am my mother’s daughter.
I also think I can connect and relate to people on different levels, I love engaging and talking to people.
I’ve had my fair share of challenges. Particularly in the work environment. I think I’m misunderstood. I’m opinionated and don’t take anything lying down, it’s that bold personality I spoke about earlier on. So usually, people think I’m bossy and controlling. I’ve come to embrace that term, that I’m bossy because for me, it just means I like taking charge of matters and making sure things are done and done right. It also means I have leadership skills, I’m yet to come across a leader who doesn’t take charge of situations. That has been my one consistent challenge but I’m over it now. I’m embracing it, it doesn’t bother me anymore.
My other challenge, depending on who you are is that I’m very straight forward… I really don’t have shades of grey. Things are either black or white with me. The good side to that is that you only really keep the good company, the bad side, is that people think you’re too much. With me you’ll never really wonder where you stand, everyone knows who I am and how I feel about anything that affects me or the world in general. I’m a straight talker.
Can I count being married to one of the nicest human beings in the world as highlights? 🙂
I also became a mother to my beautiful son in 2016. My life is exactly where it needs to be. I’m in a happy place, I think that on its own is a highlight.
Important factors to keep in mind
In the work place, take nothing personally. I really believe no one comes to work with the sole intention of irritating you or working on your nerves. It could be that at that given moment, they were just having a bad day or a bad hour at work and you managed to be right there in the middle of it.
Be kind to people. People carry a lot with them every day; they fight battles we know nothing about. And it would be that kind word or smile you give them that day that saves them from a mental meltdown.
If people treat you badly, that’s a reflection on them, not you so keep your head up and be happy in spite of it all. You are in charge of your life and your happiness; you should never give anyone that much power and authority over your life.
I love the family life I have and I want to change nothing about it, except I can’t wait for my son to start sleeping through the night.
I would like to see my personal business, www.stylemesass.co.za grow and go beyond the African borders, that and other personal projects I’m working on. I’m a true believer in entrepreneurship; it’s the only way I’ll get the flexibility I want in order to spend more time with my family.
I love my job; I just want to grow more and more in it.
What would you do differently
I’d relax more about things knowing that tomorrow is another day and it will be better. It took being a parent to learn that.
My mother, she’s amazing. She’s a teacher and has consistently been awarded year after year for as long as I can remember by the Department of Education in the Free State for producing brilliant results at her school. She has a heart of gold. She’s fierce and she’s strength personified. An unsung hero that woman is!
My husband Felix, he really does this thing on living for today for tomorrow we shall die thing very well. He’s so calm and collected about anything and everything. I really admire him for that and he lives by his own rules, he’s not a conformist, that’s what attracted me to him.
I love people who don’t follow the crowd, who stand up for what they believe in no matter how unpopular it might seem. Felix is also very supportive of my crazy ideas.
I’m surrounded by a strong pool of girlfriends; I really believe they contributed so much to how my career and personal growth has turned out. They support anything I do; they are always there for me. I love them to bits.
At the moment my biggest project is my business, www.stylemesass.co.za. There’s two more that I’m working on with a group of friends, we’re launching an app very soon. I can’t reveal details right now in case someone beats us to it. 🙂
Life is what you make of it. Happiness is a choice. The world is really your oyster. No one is in charge of your life except you. Take accountability for your actions and don’t play the blame game…you’ll get nowhere very quickly if you do that.
Facebook: Inga Sebata
Thank you for sharing your inspirational story with our community, Inga. We wish you all the best!
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