Lessons from a superhero – meeting Braam Malherbe

meeting-braam-malherbeEvery so often we get a chance to hear truly inspiring stories from people who have done the impossible. I love meeting these kind of people, I thrive on hearing how they’ve overcome their obstacles and made it work anyway. Last week I was fortunate enough to meet a living legend.

I’m talking about extreme sport adventurer and amazing human being  Braam Malherbe who spoke at the annual business breakfast of Somerset College, a local school. He’s done some crazy things in his time, like race to the South Pole (we’re talking extremely harsh conditions here), running the great wall of China (that’s some 4,200 km) only to come back and run around the coast of Southern Africa. Please read the stories on his website of each of these challenges, it’s amazing.

Braam is living proof that when you set your mind to it, nothing is impossible. He was told he will never run again, he can’t run the whole wall of China, etc. And yet he did it, against all odds indeed.

When I hear a talk like this I always wonder, why do they do it? Why would a person expose himself to such unbelievable hardships? And as he explained, it has very little, in fact nothing, to do with ego. If you want to survive those kind of challenges you have to let go of ego and connect to a higher purpose. In his case it is the charities he supports. He retold how he pushed himself thinking “if you keep going one more day 5 more children will smile” and so he did until eventually many, many children got to smile again for the first time thanks to him.

What are the lessons we can draw from him? He told us how he was living the high live and eventually lost it all and went bankrupt, how he was very close to ending his life and how he when finding the value he could carry on, and not only carry on but finish these extreme challenges.

The lesson is: if we want to do the impossible, we need to know the why.

Going after the money or prestige isn’t going to get you very far. Sure you’ll reach some tops, but at what cost. Looking at Braam I can see an incredible spirit, a most humble human being, who just wants to serve and be of use to others. He emanates a quality of being you don’t see in many people. My motto is “show up and be the best you can be”, his story validates this motto again. It was truly an honour hearing him and shaking hands with him. I’ll be sure to watch his journey further on and support his causes.

But even more, he inspired me to continue on my path of giving back and helping other entrepreneurs stay on course and go the distance. Being reminded of the why by such inspirational stories is one of the reasons I am starting The Hive. With that community I want us to connect and to remember why we’re here, why we’re doing what we’re doing. Entrepreneurship is hard and having a support community to cheer us on is vital. Perhaps one day when it’s grown big enough I shall invite Braam to talk at the Hive too!

Thanks again Braam for a most inspiring morning and I hope I’ll see you again somewhere!

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