Day 30. Nelson Mandela reminds us of our purpose and calling during lockdown

Lockdown has been extended in many countries while others are opening up. However, nothing will ever be the same again.

Our BC and AC days

There’s no ‘business as usual’. Our challenge is to identify what the ‘new normal’ is and learn to settle into a new rhythm of life. Picking up the pieces will also become part of our ‘new normal’. Each one of us, will also need to find our new calling and purpose in this ‘new normal’.

Our lives, role and purpose can now be divided between BC and AC days. BC – before Corona. AC – after Corona.

Our new role and purpose

During our BC days, most people weren’t certain of who they are and what their calling and purpose is. Just imagine how confusing it’s going to get as we enter our AC days and define our ‘new normal’?

However, this is also a wonderful opportunity to gain clarity of who you truly are and what your calling and purpose is at this point in time. It will give you guidance as you settle into the ‘new normal.’

Once again, we can learn from the Madiba-wisdom.[i]

Nelson Mandela and purpose

Most of us are not born with a clear-cut map or manual of who we are and what our purpose here on earth is. We have to figure it out, as we go along.

Nelson Mandela also had to figure out his purpose and calling for himself. He said:

 “I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.” Nelson Mandela

For some people, like Nelson Mandela, your purpose and calling grows on you. It takes time to figure it out.

In other instances, you have a flash of certainty. You just know in your heart: ‘This is what I should be doing.’ There is no explanation, no planning and no certainty. You just know. You just do. You hope for the best. You ‘walk on the water’ and live in faith.

This is how these daily Life lessons from Nelson Mandela during lockdown’, came about. There was no planning. There still is no planning. I wake up every morning. Suddenly a topic becomes clear. As I make myself available and begin to write – the messages take on a life of their own and things begin to flow. Some are short – some are lengthy. Some are light – some are heavy. Some are straight forward – some are academic. In the end – I am just as surprised as everyone else.

However, it’s possible to gain a bit more clarity concerning our calling and our purpose.

Our calling and our purpose

As humanbeings we all have a universal calling and purpose and our own unique, specific calling and purpose.

Our universal calling is to: Learn to love and be loved. We were created to learn to love, to be loved, to be Love.

This brings us to a second point: You need to know who you are – to just be yourself. To accept and love yourself – just as you are, warts and all. Then go out and do great things -with warts and all. You don’t need to be perfect – you just need to be productive.

Nelson Mandela often referred to quotes by Marianne Williamson, in his autobiography.

‘Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great? Marianne Williamson

Thirdly we need to learn to love others – as self. This is all there is. This is the Universal Love-law. Our calling and purpose are primarily not about doing – but first and foremost about loving.

Only then comes the doing. We can express what and who we are through what we do. Here we have a second level of calling and purpose. The challenge is to first get your ‘loving-self’ in order – before you get your ‘doing-self’ in order and send it out to do something.

Our doing-self

People are born with special talents they need to bring to the world. In essence – all of us have at least one special talent or gift, we need to share with the world. Maybe it’s just being you…

It really can be anything, from being a music maestro, to baking cupcakes, to working on motorcars or in the garden and blessing everyone with your ‘green finger’. Your unique gift or talent is specific to – you. It’s what makes you shine.

In his autobiography, Nelson Mandela reminds us:

‘And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.’ Marianne Williamson

What if the doing-self is failing?

What if what you are doing, is not delivering the necessary results and/or failing? Step one: Don’t do more. First stop – go back to your loving-self and fix whatever is necessary. Then get back to your doing-self. Note: Don’t blame it on Corona. The Corona-virus pandemic is just giving us an opportunity to get our house in order.

Remember, you only die when your purpose is over – not before. So, live fully – till you die. Love fully – till you die.

Change of calling and purpose

Our calling and purpose also change with time: What you need to do when you are young, differs when you mature and become a parent, spouse, teacher, nurse or any other place of service you choose. This too changes when you are older. However, the basics remain – you were born to love and be loved. You were born to shine in your own personal space.

So, where do we start at the very specific moment in time?

Once again Nelson Mandela has an answer:

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself.  You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…” Nelson Mandela

It’s an ongoing process of constantly discovering new parts of yourself, including your purpose and calling. Nothing is set in stone. Everything is in flux. It’s the adventure we call – life. Enjoy the ride!

To do list

Here are a few ideas to help you on this path:

  • Take all the to do suggestions of previous Life lessons from Nelson Mandela, and work through them again.
  • Contact us if you need any assistance
  • To catch up and previous lessons see. Website:
  • Free E-book: Read the free E-book: Coaching yourself to ultimate success. Available here
  • Enrol for the 10-part course: Learning to think, live and lead like Nelson Mandela. There is a special offer with 90% discount for you only available for a short time. Available here
  • Subscribe for your free Daily Power Tools for Power People delivered to your inbox. Available here
  • To book a personal coaching session via Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp, call and leave a voice message or send a message to (027) 066 29 26808, or send email:  We will get back to you ASAP
  • Book Dr Brenda as speaker for organisational, leadership and/or staff training and as speaker for your next event. Email:

Stay safe – stay connected

Brenda Hattingh


[i] [i] Mandela, Nelson, R. (1994). Illustrated. The long walk to freedom. The            

          Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Little, Brown & Company: London.

     Hattingh, Brenda. (2014). Sevens steps to securing the Madiba Magic in life and 

          leadership. Currency Communications (Pty. Ltd.); Johannesburg.