This past Sunday, the greatest sporting event the world has ever known came to a close and South Africa welcomed back some new heroes: men and women with shiny gold, silver and bronze medals who were put to the test on a global stage and rose victorious. Although not all of our athletes won a medal, many of them achieved personal bests or African bests and there are many lessons stokvels can gather from these sporting stars and their achievements.
Rather than falling into the trap of comparing yourself to others, like champion athletes Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya, stay in your own lane and focus on achieving your personal best. There is no need to compare yourself to other stokvel groups or worse compare yourself to your own members in your stokvel group because everyone’s work, home and economic situation is different and unique. Strive to focus on your stokvel’s unique group challenges and benefits. This will mean setting goals that are achievable for your stokvel. Like our Gold winners, it is important not to get distracted or lose focus with impulse stokvel activities or unexpected expenses that can easily throw your group off-track from sticking to its savings commitments and goals. Whether your larger stokvel savings goal is a family holiday, a deposit on a new vehicle or home, paying off some debt, or simply being able to afford family celebrations in December, in order to succeed, all members must keep the end in mind and run with their eye on the prize. (In future, we will touch on how an effective stokvel leaders can keep the group focus.)
Just as our top athletes put in hours of hard work, sweat and training, achieving financial success requires you to focus on financial discipline. Training a stokvel to be more disciplined when it comes to money is vital. Members need to exercise their right to say no openly to immediate gratification by their stokvel by putting their opinion across without fear to be judged. This takes practise and like a muscle, will become stronger with use therefore saving your stokvel from many bad calls that will cost it money. Just like a rigorous training regime for an athlete includes little rewards along the way that help them to stay on track, try to keep your financial fitness on track the same way. Reward your stokvel or its members in creative ways that don’t necessarily need to cost members extra money.
Setbacks are part of life. There are times when we set goals and experience difficulties or challenges along the way to reaching them. Our medal-winning sports stars did not get there overnight. Their achievements are the results of sustained effort, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. They ran many races before winning medals, most of those races they did not win. Don’t be too hard on your stokvel when you have an unforeseen expense and it sets you back on your savings goals. In all stokvel groups, there are often challenges that arise and groups experience disagreements or other difficulties at worse dissolves. Don’t let this stop your stokvel or discourage you being part of another. Pick your stokvel up, dust it off and stay in the race. Winners are the ones who persist! Besides, having a stokvel is just for that; unexpected setbacks. Even if setbacks delay your stokvel goals, you will recover from unexpected financial challenges quicker than you would have had you not been part of a stokvel.
StokFella would like to congratulate all the athletes who gave of their best this year and thank them for reminding us of these basic lessons in achieving goals.