Five CFOs reveal the advice that they would share with their younger selves

Take risks, share ideas, and don't doubt yourself were high on the list of encouraging messages.

We often find ourselves looking back and wishing we had done things differently. CFO South Africa asked these five CFOs what advice they would give to their younger selves. 

Spear REIT CFO Christiaan Barnard and Department of Public Service and Administration CFO Masilo Makhura both said that they would tell their younger selves not to doubt themselves. 

“I would tell myself to share my ideas because what I think matters and I can add value,” Christiaan said. “I would also tell myself that hard work yields results and to keep going when things get tough.” 

Similarly, Masilo said: “Remain who you are. Never try to change the way you are, believe in your principles and be honest to yourself.”

Mozambique-based Absa subsidiary Global Alliance Seguros SA CFO Nilza Mngomezulu (pictured) echoed what Christiaan and Masilo said, saying he would encourage his younger self to “believe in yourself and know that you do have what it takes”. 

She added that: 

“Sometimes you doubt yourself and you make the smallest mistakes in life because you are not sure. Take risks, be open-minded and just open yourself to the world, because the sky is the limit.” 

New Development Bank CFO Leslie Maasdorp says that he is pretty much at ease with his younger self. “In my formative years, I was more focused on what I could do to make a difference in South Africa at that point in time,” he said. “Don’t just focus on today, but look at your legacy and the difference you can make in society.” 

Grindrod CFO Xolani Mbambo advised that, “once you have chosen your path, put all your energy into it, do not be split-minded”. He says that, that way, the chances of success are high. “But if it does not work out, learn from it and move on.”