To help others, you first have to get to the core of who you really are
Lightbulb moment: “It was the first time I was really coming to the core of who I was, what I’ve gone through, and it was such a relief to do that. Because I finally felt comfortable speaking about myself, speaking about my purpose, speaking about something I’d gone through – and all in the effort of helping people to heal and to be able to find their own purpose.”
— Elizabeth (Liz) Ngonzi, Founder/CEO, The International Social Impact Institute
In 2013, following the breakdown of her marriage and the loss of her father, coupled with the fact her company was struggling financially due to the economic downturn, Revolutionise Faculty Member, Elizabeth Ngonzi, felt like she’d hit a wall. Having worked tirelessly for the past seven years, despite the turbulent times she was navigating, she felt lost – and she knew something had to change. Finally, after asking advisors for help but receiving no real answers, as well as trying to lose herself in the escapism of food and holidays, she began to look within.
“There were two things happening inside of me,” she recalls. “One was this understanding that I’d gone through all this stuff, but I hadn’t actually dealt with it. I also knew that if I didn’t somehow find a way to address all this, I was going to miss an incredible opportunity in my life. I didn’t know what it was yet, but inside I felt it. And so instead of listening to other people, I listened to my insight.”
The moment she vowed to trust her intuition, an opportunity presented itself: Liz saw an advert for volunteers at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, New York, and sent off an application – despite those around her thinking she was crazy.
“I moved from this big house into a small tent, and assumed a different life for three-and-a-half months”
While living and working at the ashram – where she did everything from growing food to attending yoga sessions – one of the staff members discovered her background and asked for help with a marketing and fundraising campaign to get the ranch’s solar project off the ground. While initially reluctant (“I hadn’t come here to work in that sense!”), Liz drew upon the idea that the greatest service you can give is the thing you’re actually good at, and got stuck in.
“What did I learn from all this? I learned about the importance of balance. I learned about the importance of seeing things as interconnected and working in harmony together. It was a very important thing for me to learn.”
Some three-and-a-half months later, Liz left the ashram feeling re-energised, with renewed clarity on what was important to her, and went on to new and greater achievements, including winning Advocate of the Year for her work as the United States CEO of a Nelson Mandela-endorsed and South Africa-based non-profit organisation, Afrika Tikkun, between 2014 and 2018.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Liz had completed her mission at Afrika Tikkun, which left her depleted once more. This time, however, she drew on the wisdom she’d gleaned from her time at the ashram and knew that, before rushing into a new project, she must first rest and renew, connecting back with herself, deep to her core. She took a year-long sabbatical, during which time she rested, reflected, journaled, worked with a coach and decluttered, with the resulting space enabling her to incubate the ideas that eventually became her businesses – The International Social Impact Institute and Liz Ngonzi Transforms – both of which aim to inspire, connect and activate people seeking to transform the world by providing them with access to the resources, knowledge and networks that enable them to build ecosystems of like-minded stakeholders with whom they can collaborate to make that transformation happen.
“I got to just be comfortable with my space. And once I did that, I was rejuvenated – the energy flowed.”
“Once I gained clarity about my values and my purpose, all I had to do was engage with and activate like-minded people to amplify our individual and collective impact across the globe”. I am committed to helping others to experience their own life changing lightbulb moments to gain clarity for themselves.
If you want to follow a similar process of reflection and distillation to find your own purpose, Liz is running a two-day masterclass on 21 & 22 July 2022 called "Your Purpose Distilled: A Masterclass". Follow that link to register or click here to download a 1-page PDF with all the key details.