‘When You Fall, Fall Forward And Keep Crawling’

Forbes Woman Africa
Published 7 years ago

Among several other roles, self-made South African businesswoman Florence Musengi is founder of WAYAM Communications Consulting and the owner of an apparel company, WAYAM Clothing, specializing in African garments. She recently released her book, Woman At The Top, and shares her survival tips:


Every woman has a dream but few pursue them, why so?

Procrastination and lack of vision seem a part of why some women do not pursue their dreams. Some women fear failure. Unless you start, you won’t know the greatness in you.


Do you think women approach entrepreneurship differently from men?

Generally women tend to follow the same trajectory in corporate success that men have carved over the years. This is partially because of the patriarchal nature of traditional boardrooms. I however argue that women do not have to follow the same trajectory. The strength of women in business is in their uniqueness that is intrinsically different from men. Women need to leverage their innate qualities and capabilities to propel themselves upward in business in the same way they do when it comes to other spheres of their lives, such as social cohesion, parenting etc.


Does being at the top define success?

No, I believe being at the top is another layer to achieving your goals.

Success is not generic. It is subjective and relative to an individual’s ambitions and capabilities. Success to one person is not necessarily success to another. If being at the top is the milestone that an individual has set for themselves to determine attainment of significant objectives, then it can be regarded as success. Success is not a summit that you reach and then from there any movement is downhill. It is rather a phase in the process of self-improvement in various aspects of one’s life. The intention is to stay within the phase (which is not static but dynamic) through continuous input of effort.


It’s cold and lonely at the top, what are your survival tips for aspirants?

The climate at the top is a function of how you get there. If you have reached the top through collaborative efforts with colleagues and other stakeholders, then it shouldn’t be that cold. However, if the process you utilized to get there included ‘tramping’ on others, and achieving at the expense or detriment of colleagues, friends and family, then you are likely to get cold. The idea is to take as many people as possible to the top with you. Provided they have the right attitude and determination to get there.

A friend once said to me that “even pilots in the air need people on the ground for safe landing”. To get to the top one needs to listen, learn, aspire and inspire others.


Your top three investment tips?

Avoid investing in anything whose formula for prosperity you do not understand. There is no such thing as accidental success, there should be clear inputs and conversion processes that lead to the output of success. If you do not understand this, then you wouldn’t really know how you achieved the returns on investment, except that you closed your eyes and picked a name.

Do not stand on one leg. Diversify to spread your risk and increase portfolio versatility. Industry sectors react differently to a particular economic climate, and hence a diversified portfolio stands a better chance of survival in trying economic times than a ‘one-legged pot’.

Understand that at some point you may have to invest in a profitable business idea that is not necessarily your first love, in order to generate enough returns at an adequately rapid rate to pursue your passion. Entrepreneurs have to be both passionate and discerning. The road to success requires sacrifices, compromises and trade-offs.


The greatest advice you’ve received?

When you fall, fall forward and keep on crawling. Your future is in your hands and your destiny in God’s hands.