As one of the inspirational local women chosen to be a race ambassador for this year’s SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge, Essenwood’s Raeesa Mahomed talks about the race theme #IRise and how she uses every minute to live a life of purpose.
With a career carved out entirely in the broadcasting and entertainment industry for almost two decades in this country, as well as another ten in London and Mumbai, Raeesa, like many others, has been through her share of personal challenges. One of these was when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. But this life altering experience opened the door to a more fulfilling life.
‘This was a huge blow as I’d always lead a healthy lifestyle. I went on a path of self-reflection and deep introspection and started doing a lot of research on healing and self-development. I eventually stumbled upon this wonderful life coaching course and I enrolled purely to help myself – and by the grace of God I healed completely from my cancer – but it was such a revelation that I decided to share this knowledge and hep others, so I started practising as a transformational life coach.”
Using Neuro-Linguistic Programming and negative emotional therapy as part of her coaching, Raeesa helps people work on removing inner conflicts, negative emotions and beliefs, and then on building self-worth and self-confidence, and on achieving their goals and creating the life they choose to have.
“The results have been phenomenal. I have helped people get rid of depression, anxiety, long standing negative emotions like fear, anger, guilt and shame, finding direction in their lives and discovering who they really are and also heal and improve their health. The feeling when I see the transformation in my clients is the greatest reward. I honestly can’t think of anything else I’d rather do as my life’s work. It’s totally aligned to who I am and what I want to leave behind as a legacy – helping people and making the world a better place.”
She also says change is hard. “From a scientific perspective, procrastination is our brain’s way of managing stress. To create change, we need to change the way we think. A very simple way that we can all teach ourselves is called ‘reframing’ – changing our perception, or the way we look at a situation, from negative to positive.”
Raeesa says this not only improves our mood and mental health but can actually change the outcome of a situation as our beliefs and emotions impact outcomes.
“Many people think this is too simplistic and doesn’t work but, it does, because our minds are powerful and most of us seldom harness this potential in our lives.”
Another very useful timeline technique to adopt to combat anxiety about a specific event that is coming up, like an exam or presentation, Raeesa says is to imagine yourself 15 minutes after the successful completion of the event.
“Put yourself in that situation and picture how you will feel – relief, joy, gratitude. Believe that you are there – that you have aced the exam/presentation/talk and feel the associated feelings. Do it often and it reframes your attitude towards the event. In so doing you can actually bring about that outcome because our feelings, attitudes and beliefs play such a huge role in what happens to us.”
Ahead of Women’s Month, Raeesa says she believes strongly in human rights issues and justice in all things.
“My mantra is … always do and stand up for the right thing even when it’s hard, be kind, do what you love, fulfil your responsibilities, keep working on being the best version of yourself and live life to the fullest. For me this also means living a balanced life with time for myself and my family. I have two daughters who in my (biased) opinion are really amazing. Zahra is 23 and currently studying and working in New York and Amira is 17 and in Grade 11. Our bond is strong.”
On the board of Tiny Steps, an NPO that does phenomenal work in communities, Raeesa helps with the feeding schemes – time permitting – and coaching people who are in desperate need of help but can’t afford it. She has also written for magazines and newspapers and done television and print modelling. She was included in the book ‘Women: South Africans of Indian origin’, featuring women who had achieved to a high degree of excellence in their field and prominence in the country.
What gets her up in the mornings?
“Life! I love living even when it’s difficult and believe me, I have been through huge challenges. Becoming the best version of yourself is not possible without self-love. And it includes taking care of all aspects of yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I put this into practice by following an exercise programme which consists of daily pilates, rebounding and walking. I also love tennis and swimming, weather permitting. I eat healthy, natural food with occasional treats – it’s important to eat what you love occasionally.”
With the 2022 SPAR Women’s Virtual Challenge race being a celebration of how women of our nation have all mastered their challenges in this day and age, Raeesa will organise groups of women to run or walk the race with her. She will be working alongside race ambassadors like former Proteas Netball star and Baby Proteas coach and teacher, Precious Mthembu; The Sharks and SA Rugby player and firefighting hero, Zinhle Ndawonde and actress and comedian Lisa Bobbert for the KZN leg of the national event, which takes place on September 3.
“I love that I get the opportunity to do this – it’s a wonderful way of reaching out to other women and the message of #IRise is totally aligned to what I do as a life coach – helping people rise above difficult circumstances and hurdles to be their best selves.”
Hair and makeup: @tasleem_hamid
Photo: Val Adamson Photography, 083 2825916 email: [email protected], valadamson.co.za
Venue: The Benjamin Hotel on Florida Road, benjamin.co.za