Boniswa Dladla is a transformation coach who lives out her own purpose every day. She studied metallurgical engineering, and worked as a process engineer in the mining industry, in both coal and diamond processing, extracting value and beauty from raw materials. With excitement and passion, she shares her discovery of her own purpose: helping others to evolve. She’s a firm believer in personal development, and is currently in the midst of her MBA through Regenesys Business School. Boniswa helps her global coaching clients (including in Namibia, Botswana, Ghana and South Africa) to explore their values and beliefs, transform their mindsets and find the sweet spot of how they show up in their relationships. This is her story:
“My career journey started out with my 17 year-old self seeking an opportunity to study a critical skill which would guarantee me a job after university. The first time I heard of my soon-to-be-chosen degree was during a bursary interview organised by my career guidance teacher. The bursary company were clear they were looking for candidates with good mathematics and science marks who were willing to study engineering. I chose a field of engineering that I had never heard of or ever knew existed prior to that interview! I chose it because it looked hard as well as exciting and I wanted to see how it could challenge me to grow. That is how I found myself doing Metallurgical Engineering. The company sponsoring my studies was a coal mining company.
The bursary was my gateway to the mining industry. Entering it also seemed very hard as the mining industry was and still is a male-dominated industry - it has taken great strides to encourage more women into engineering fields to enhance gender transformation. In those times you signed a contract to work back every year of study with the company that paid for your studies. So, I had a four year contract to work back, which made our time at university as bursary students very serious. We knew that failing could mean paying back the money which we knew our parents could not afford, so the most responsible thing to do was to focus on our studies. Read more to follow along my journey in the mining, diamond and now coaching industries...
Making our Own Choices
My years at university taught me a fundamental lesson regarding the power of choice. It is important to allow people to choose their path in life, because no matter how challenging it is they will keep going. When the going got tough I reminded myself this is my choice and remains my responsibility to achieve. It was not my parents’ or society’s but mine and mine alone. I taught myself the importance of starting something and completing it, no excuses.
I completed my studies and started my work journey. I quickly found out the hard way that work is unlike school: there are no marks to measure your success... The relationships you build with your colleagues and managers enable you to enjoy or hate the experience. I realised that fighting the system and calling it unfair was not getting me the desired results. Instead, I started being open to learning from people. Many professionals struggle in their careers because they simply refuse to learn the rules of the corporate game and develop necessary relationship building skills. Do not let this be you.
Shine Like a Diamond
After 5 years in coal mining I wished to experience a new commodity process, so I applied to a diamond mine and started a new journey of learning. I always promised myself new opportunities to learn again, by starting over in a new place, never fearing the change but embracing it. What I found was an ability to lead and reinvent myself to the adult version of me I wanted to be. I was no longer the bursary student that started working 5 years earlier - I was more confident and more determined to chart my path. In this diamond mine, I learned how to serve people and lead people while still learning. This helped me discover that starting in a new place does not mean starting from zero: our inherent learning from other roles or industries travels with us, and supports us to build a stronger foundation in new environments.
My new company was in a semi-rural area, and promoted community investment through supporting employee-ambassador-focused projects. I found myself teaching English and Mathematics in a local high school. I loved the interactions with students and the more engagement I had with them, the more exposure I had to their social challenges (such as not believing in themselves). I wanted to help the students know that nothing is impossible, and that their future is not limited by lack of funds as long as they did their part. I felt stuck personally, somehow wanting their minds to shift, but I felt inadequately skilled to help them do this.. So, I asked myself “how can I contribute differently?”. My answer was to train as a life coach as I knew that life coaches help people master their mindsets, and change their lives by believing in themselves. Something clicked for me. For the next few months my focus was to find and enrol in a coaching school. This was the first time I had invested my personal funds for my education, as before then, I had always had company-funded studies.
Finding my Purpose
I tasted for the first time what it means to have a vision for your life that feels so aligned, empowering and just yours, that I was willing to fund it. After the training program, I found not just a skill to help others, but I met myself for the first time. I found and answered the most important question “What is my purpose?”. I finally knew what I was born to do: it felt exhilarating and peaceful, like I’d come home to myself. I loved every moment of empowering others.
Fast forwarding to now 5 years later, I am coaching, developing transformation focused material that enables individuals to transform their minds in order to transform their lives. I am also busy with an MBA to grow further as an individual and expand my business perspective. All while parenting my two sons. It has been a stretching season which has made me appreciate change as a necessary catalyst for us to create the best version of ourselves.
Determining our Realities
I love to remind people in life that we are all creators of our reality and the quality of that reality is our own responsibility. I ask myself often: “Is this the most effective use of my time, energy and attention?” This question helps me to filter the noise of the world and enter into my truth, my own stillness. I encourage you to do the same and be honest with your answer.
I love to remind my clients that “in the end it is not the mistakes we made, but the opportunities we did not take that give most regret”. So, dream your best dream of you as you become the best version of yourself. In my coaching, I focus on finding the root cause of issues and developing a tailormade development plan for an individual. We are not all motivated by the same things and our value systems differ, so it is appropriate to be fully present with everyone in their own paradigm to best serve them to grow.
Remember that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. If you want to design a life journey that is exciting and empowers you to be your best, I look forward to partnering with you as your transformation coach.”