Way back in March I was sent an application form and told I had been secretly nominated as Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Sport. I was shocked and humbled by the honour of being nominated and then shocked and humbled again when I was announced the winner last week!
The process of qualifying was rewarding and consisted of two stages after my initial application: an in-depth questionnaire to become a finalist, and then an interview to decided the winner. Far from delving into my racing results, I was questioned on how I was an agent of change in my sector. In the interview with SA’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government, the publication that organizes the awards, I discussed the sustainability of women’s cycling, how I tackle industry obstacles, what I was doing to be a good role model, and how I used sport as a platform for positive change.
I explained how I used social media, especially my blog and twitter, as a medium to share my triumphs, defeats, and all the life lessons sprinkled in between. I spoke about how I try to encourage and mentor junior female racers as they strive toward their goals. And I spoke about how I always try to be accessible to the public by being approachable, friendly, and always willing to talk. But throughout the qualification process, I realised all of these actions come down to my attitude of living passionately because, as I have learned, passion is productive!
Living passionately is productive because it can position anyone as an agent of change. I live passionately, by riding my bike to the best of my ability. My athletic performance and results are a means to use my talent for the greater good by inspiring people to live and pursue their own passion. Harnessing this positive attitude is so powerful because anyone can consciously choose to live passionately, which means it can empower anyone to create positive change!
While I had hopes to win the award, I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but it’s rewarding to see that I am achieving my goals to positively influence others. The award has given fuel to my fire and I hope it encourages other women, especially in sports, to live passionately.
Life is all about choices. You choose to win or to loose in life. When things don’t go right, there is always a left. I choose to focus on the positives and live passionately!