13 qualities South Africans sh

13 qualities South Africans should pack in their suitcase to make it big overseas

The essential qualities you need as a South African to flourish overseas .

13 qualities South Africans sh

Packing up and moving to a new country is always completely daunting. Even if you’ve been there before or you have friends and family waiting to welcome you, the thought of starting over again is a scary one.

One of the biggest things we worry about is whether we will succeed in our new home country. Will you find a new job or even perhaps a new career? Will you earn enough money to survive?

South Africans are usually quite resilient, but any international move can test our character. In order to succeed overseas, here are 13 essential qualities to help you make it big.

1. Gratitude

Always be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way. Even if it’s not exactly what you had in mind. Every offer may just be the stepping stone that leads to your next big thing.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”     — Oprah Winfrey

2. Optimism

Never leave your optimism behind. This is one quality that will always get you through the toughest of days. And sometimes that’s all you need to find what it is you’ve been looking for.

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”     — Oscar Wilde

3. Modesty

Don’t forget to be humble. South Africans can sometimes come across as a bit brash and direct even when we don’t think we are. Be modest and whatever you do, don’t come in all guns blazing talking about how you used to do things ‘back home’. That never goes down well.

“Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.” – William Shakespeare

4. Respect

Have respect for everyone around you, whether they are above or below you on the corporate ladder. Being disrespectful is not something you should ever be in general, and certainly not when trying to establish yourself in a new company.

Luckily most South Africans grew up with respect ingrained in us, so hopefully this should come naturally.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small” – Dr. Seuss

5. Honesty

Be honest about what you have done and what you can achieve. Don’t ever lie or embellish details on your CV as you will only end up regretting it when you can’t back up your talk with action.

“Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

6. Perseverance

South Africans are definitely known for their perseverance. Always keep this in a steady supply as you are doubtless going to have a few knockbacks before a door eventually opens for you. The key is to try and try again.

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein

7. Consideration

Always be considerate to those around you. Take a step back and think about how others may feel before you say something or do something you may regret.

“Hear much and say little.” – Old Irish saying

8. Independence

Any move overseas is going to require independence in abundance. Even if you know people in your new home country already, or even if you are living with friends or family, there is going to come a time when you’re going to have to do new things on your own so you need to be prepared. You can do it!

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” –  Coco Chanel

9. Generosity

Be generous, whether it is with your money, time or anything else. Never forget you aren’t the only one going through this journey and sometimes connecting with others in the same boat can help you get through the tough days.

“No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted.”  – Aesop

10. Enthusiasm

Being enthusiastic can make all the difference between getting a job and actually moving up the corporate ladder. Throw yourself into your new role and always try to see the positives to every situation. When it comes to promotion time, you’ll stick out head and shoulders above the rest.

“Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” – Norman Vincent Peale

11. Tact

Tact is not a quality that many people would immediately associate with South Africans, so make sure you break that stereotype. Sometimes we feel we need to tell it like it is, but in many scenarios, this can do much more harm than good. Think before you speak and you’ll go a lot further in the business world.

“Tact is the ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes.” – Harry Truman

12. Rationality

Stay rational! This can be hard as moving overseas is a complete rollercoaster of emotions and you are bound to let emotion get the better of you at some points.

Always remember to rein it back in and think rationally about any decisions that may adversely affect your career aspirations.

‘Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.’ – Marcus Aurelius

13. A sense of humour

Last but not least, don’t forget that all-important South African sense of humour. Things are bound to go wrong at some point, whether it’s in your personal or work life, and being able to laugh and dust yourself off is going to be crucial to your future success.

“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”  – Maya Angelou