Interviews with purpose-driven business leaders who have dedicated their work to helping others and are making a positive impact in the world.
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Sandra Chuma. And what do I do? I like to think of myself as a firestarter. I want to be the person who lights a fire inside people so that they can realize their most beautiful, extraordinary self.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I started out as a management consultant. Then when I turned 40, in what my husband loves to refer to as my “midlife crisis,” I decided that I was going to go back to school. But not back to any school, I wanted to do journalism and I wanted to go to Columbia in New York City. Bear in mind I didn’t have any journalism experience and I live in Calgary. Everything it took to make that happen was a feat. But I did go to Columbia and studied documentary, storytelling, and multimedia journalism, and I decided I wanted to help people realize the power of their own stories.
To do that I’m building a platform called WORTHY, a concept that is helping people realize they’re worthy. But it also is a mnemonic that gives people practical tools, tips, tricks, and community strategies. The “W” is all about finding your why and really resonating with what that means from the perspective of feeling, what is the feeling that I want to achieve? I think a lot of the time we approach our why, our purpose, from the perspective of the hard numbers in our logical brain. But it’s really understanding that your why at its base level is about how you think whatever it is you want to achieve will make you feel.
The “O” is all about on the day. Only 8% of people who create a goal achieve it. Part of that is because people have great intentions but we’re not intentional in terms of how we go about our days. We fail to realize that it’s the little actions done daily that will get us to the end result. And so it’s really helping people realize how they structure their day. What are the things that you should and shouldn’t be doing when it comes to your schedule? All of those tools, tips, tricks to help people own their day, every day, and be intentional.
The “R” is all about reflection. It is about rest. I think a lot of us are about the hustle. Yet we fail to realize that part of achieving is resting and reflecting on where we’ve come from, what we’ve done, and being proud of ourselves.
The “T” is all about tracking and how it relates to achievement. It’s kind of like GPS. Your tracking is your goal progress system. A lot of the time I hear people say it’s triggering for them. I think that’s what people have made it mean because it is perceived as a mechanism to beat yourself up for what you didn’t achieve. So instead it’s recognizing that tracking information is dated feedback, to help you correct yourself if you’re not on target to go where you’re envisioning you want to be.
The “H” is really the foundation of the brand. It’s all about habits. As the saying goes, we are what we do repeatedly. People fail to understand that everything they have or don’t have in their lives is based on the things they do daily – and things that a lot of us do subconsciously. Almost half of what we do on a daily basis is habit-based, so we help build the habits that will support you and help you with your goal.
Finally “Y,” is the most important – it is about you. I have a mentor who says that your results will only ever be as good as the being who is doing the doing. I think a lot of what we do is focused on doing behaviors. Where it has to start is who am I being to be able to achieve what I want.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
For me, it’s all about possibility. As someone who was literally born in a mud hut with no running water and no electricity for the early part of my childhood, I understand the power of story and the power of possibility and what story can create for you in terms of belief. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother never went to school but they dreamt for me a different dream than what they were able to realize. That’s the power of story and the power of possibility. My father always said to me, “To she who much is given, much is required.” That’s something that I’ve carried with me. From being a little girl growing up with no running water or electricity, to being a management consultant of global companies and ultimately building my own company, I understand possibility. It only takes someone to tell you that it is possible for you to instill a belief. I feel like that’s my purpose is to help people realize their own extraordinary selves that wherever you are, whoever you are, you have extraordinary within you.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
I used to think in terms of quantity. But then I realized if I can just impact one person to believe in themself, my work is done. It’s one person at a time. It’s more about ensuring I inspire somebody else to step into their highest potential.
Especially for me, where I’m from, I recognize the need that’s out there. I live a life that so many of my cousins can only dream of. The need used to be a source of extreme stress, it was something that really weighed heavily on me. It actually was a conversation with my mother, when she reminded me I can only do what I can do, that I worked hard to get where I am. But at the same time, she reminded me that it is my responsibility to reach back. “You cannot save everybody. You do what you can, but you have to balance that as well with the understanding that life is to be enjoyed,” she said. It’s a line that I constantly walk.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
My father passed away last year. I saw how selfless he was in helping other people. It was a good thing and it was also a bad thing, because he was so selfless he would literally give the shirt off his back. But it was what he said that when you’ve been given much you need to give back that really inspired me. Also, my mother, who is still living, is a huge inspiration, because she too has such a big heart and giving was always a part of who I was.
I also do it for the legacy of my grandmothers. It is because of them and what they could see for me, that created this life which allows me to be in a position to give back. The fact is, there are so many people who I can inspire to believe a different dream, a different possibility for themselves. Not just African women, but all women. We all have the same dreams and aspirations, we all want the best for ourselves and our families. And I really want to expand my message to say that regardless of where we’re from – our history, our background – we all have the possibility of creating, recognizing, and realizing the extraordinary in ourselves.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
My vision is to reach, support, and inspire as many women as possible. In the immediate sense, I’m creating a podcast and YouTube channel that speak to and provide tools, tips, and strategies for women to realize their goals. Ultimately, we’re looking at expanding it to it being more than just a podcast – to having events and eventually creating products. All of that is aimed at helping people realize their worthy dreams and realize they are worthy of realizing their dreams.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
The big challenge is money. How do I make it all happen and find the money to grow the platform in such a way that it is fully self-sustaining and at the same time allow it to grow to have the level of impact that I believe is possible? That’s probably the biggest challenge that I have right now.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
That we all have infinite possibility within us. It’s really down to whether you have clarity on where you want to go and what you want to achieve and then which steps you need to take to do that. Within every single person is the extraordinary just waiting to be excavated, just waiting to make its way into the world. It really is about the choices we make on a day-to-day basis. A lot of the time, we think creating something big or monumental is one moment in time. We look at the glory moments of other people and then we become demoralized before we get to the finish line.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
One of my favorite quotes is from one of my favorite books, “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz. He has four agreements but my favorite one is: “Always do your best.” I think we have to recognize that our best is different from day to day. My best today may not be what my best was yesterday. But as long as I can get to the end of every day and say I did my best, then that is good enough.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
I also have another brand, which is called Ndini that is focused on telling the stories of inspiring, trailblazing women of African descent. I am from Zimbabwe and when I initially moved to the UK and then eventually to the U.S. and then Canada, I found that the stories people tell about who we are as African women were stereotypical stories. A lot of that is through no fault of their own, it’s just the stories that get told to them or the stories that they’re exposed to. I wanted a way to share the stories of these amazing women who are doing incredible things in the world, but who we never hear from. So I have a podcast where I interview different women and we share their stories.
Orapin Marketing + Public Relations helps purpose-driven companies share their stories and become a leading voice for their cause. We believe those who are working to make a difference in the world deserve to be known, supported, sought-after, and celebrated. If you would like to be featured in INSPIRED IMPACT™, reach out to email@example.com.