Management & Leadership

New kid on the blog

Jun 04, 2013
New kid on the blog

Before writing my very first blog post I decided to try and understand what a blog is.

My first encounter with the term ‘blog’ was a number of years ago while I was having coffee with a good friend of mine at a Vida in downtown Cape Town. We were debating politics, as was our custom, and at a point in the conversation he suggested that I may want to start my own psychology blog.

‘A what?’ I asked. ‘A blog,’ he said looking at me as if I had dropped several levels in his estimations, ‘Everyone whose anyone has got their own blog these days. If you want to share your ideas, dreams, aspirations, frustrations then a blog is the place to do it.’

My mind started to turn over. Could this be the opportunity for literary fame that I had always dreamed of? But why was it called a blog? It sounded way too much like a bog – hardly an inspiring mental image to get the creative juices flowing. I should have just googled it then and there. Instead this question has been the cause of writers’ blog (I mean block) since that day. If I couldn’t understand how the term blog came to be then how on earth could I write one?

Today I finally took the plunge. Wikipedia explains very simply the answer to my question. The word ‘blog’ is a portmanteau (another word worth googling) for a ‘web log’ – a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order. Finally it all made perfect sense. Blog demystified and with that a long overdue release of creative energy.

I feel that way about many aspects of my life at the moment. The other night I finally logged into Linkedin and updated my profile that had last been updated in 2005 (by now you may be forming an impression of me as a chronic procrastinator). Back then (in 2005) I was all about private equity, investment banking, structured finance, asset-liability modeling, valuations…uggh. Now suddenly in 2013 I am a social entrepreneur! Whilst this personal transformation took a mere 30 minutes online, in reality it has been a long process.

My disillusionment with financial services had begun as far back as 2001. I recall a telephone conversation with my sister Dana in which I expressed my frustration that my work life seemed to lack a sense of purpose. Her suggested remedy was to find meaning and purpose outside of work. ‘Lancie, work is about making a living,’ she said, ‘Yes you should enjoy it but it doesn’t have to be laden with any deeper meaning beyond that.’

Around that same time I was introduced to Marc Feitelberg, the founder of SACAP. I was intrigued by his little college in Wetton Rd, Kenilworth that seemed to be changing the world in its own small way. Students were inspired by their newfound psychological literacy and interpersonal communication skills. Graduates of SACAP’s counselling courses were having a positive and meaningful social impact in helping alleviate the pain and suffering of addiction, family strife, crisis and trauma, bereavement and loss. SACAP’s coaches were uniquely positioned to empower their clients with facilitation and conflict resolution skills, a depth of psychological understanding and an ability to work beneath the surface.

I had just graduated from an executive business school programme and wondered how much better business leaders might perform if they could have the benefit of the knowledge and skills that SACAP was training.

Already the seed had been planted but it would take several years, more than a few changes of career and some bizarre chance events, before I would come to be the Managing Director of SACAP.

Although, on my sister’s advice, I have certainly added many meaningful dimensions to my life outside of work – fatherhood, family and community (to name a few), I am also blessed to be able to count my work at SACAP amongst the most meaningful and purposeful things that I do.

– Lance Katz

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