Learn to love without condition. Talk without bad intention. Give without any reason. And, most of all, care for people without any expectation
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman’s, Ramadan message in April 2021 was; “Live simply, spend altruistically, family first, neighbour first, then everyone else … Seek out people, everyone who is in difficulty”.
If there is ever anyone who lives by what he says it is founder of the Gift of the Givers, Dr Sooliman. I have recently read the book by Shafiq Morton about this amazing man and the phenomenal organization he founded and runs, Imtiaz Sooliman and the Gift of the Givers: A Mercy to all.
I was blown away by how far and wide his generosity extends and into so many different aspects. Traditionally, I knew that they undertake missions in countries ravaged by Natural disasters, but I didn’t realize how much wider their impact reaches and the extent of their support in education, hostage negotiations and rescues, drought-stricken communities, building hospitals and housing, establishing boreholes, and other endeavours.
When I am facilitating and explaining the EQ Competency of Pursue Noble Goals, I had used Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, Nelson Mandela and even Walt Disney as examples of what noble goals are, only to realize that one of the people who lives their noble goal every second of every day, is right on my doorstep.
What is a noble goal?
A noble goal is a brief inspiring statement of enduring purpose. Our noble goal shapes our long-term purpose and serves as our ‘North Star’ or compass by which we can navigate our lives. It helps align our thoughts, feelings and actions to maintain integrity, and is what gets us out of bed on our toughest days.
Your noble goal is about putting your EQ into action for positive change. This is a competency that we look for in leaders as it enables them to articulate the link between a strategy and a larger purpose. It also facilitates ethical behavior and gives high drive. When combined with empathy, a noble goal can make for a resonant leader. Resonant leaders build strong relationships, demonstrate integrity, share their visions and create an environment of trust and respect.
Nelson Mandela was an incredible example of this as he spent most of his life imprisoned yet did not get stuck in feelings of anger and fear, even though he must have experienced these. Instead, he used his deep sense of purpose in creating a free and just nation and was able to transform his feelings into a magnetic personal power. Dewitt Jones, talks about moving from success to significance in his film, Celebrate What is Right in this World.
Those without an established noble goal will be short-term focused, may burn out or find it hard to persevere through challenges.
Dr Sooliman’s story
Dr Imitiaz Sooliman is a medical Doctor, living in Pietermaritzburg and heading up Africa’s largest humanitarian and disaster agency, The Gift of the Givers. Sooliman is a true legend, working tirelessly and selflessly every day to ensure that people are provided for and taken care of in their most challenging times. He believes in giving people not only physical goods and help but dignity. He declined a Nomination for the Nobel peace prize and is probably one of the least political people I have heard of, showing that his is a true noble goal of serving others, regardless of culture, race, religion, or nationality.
He has rescued hostages when governments couldn’t. He has been responsible for educating numerous people; built hospitals in war ravaged countries; given relief to those whose homes and lives have been ravaged by natural disasters or war. He has physically dug residents out from underneath collapsed buildings, flown into the most devastating and dangerous situations with a team that put their lives on the line for others every day. There have been many courageous deeds in our own backyard that haven’t received much publicity and go unheard, yet they make a massive impact in so many lives.
Dr Sooliman uses the Press to create awareness and appeal to the community to help in raising funds, not to give him or his organization credit. If you have any doubt that he lives his noble goal, look at the ripple effect in his own family. His son and both his wives are also a huge part of what he does and are making an amazing impact in their own right. Zahara Sooliman, his first wife, founded and heads up Careline, a counselling service supporting thousands of people. Dr Sooliman is a true legend, and a living example of what a noble goal in action looks like.
I am grateful for and admire the work that Dr Sooliman and Gift of the Givers do for communities. He maintains that it is the ordinary man who sustains his foundation. And that one man’s R20 is another man’s R2 million. If you read the book about Dr Sooliman and the Gift of the Givers, you may be really surprised at how many people you know or have heard of who have contributed to and worked in many of the Gift of the Givers projects.
What can you do?
We can’t all match what Gift of the Givers does, but small deeds can make huge differences. If you were wondering what Walt Disney’s noble goal was, it was ‘to make people happy’. He failed many times in business but what he did achieve was to make people happy through his Disney characters, movies and theme parks. Can you imagine life without Disney? A noble goal extends beyond a single lifetime.
What is the significance that you choose to have and how can you put this into action every day?
Your noble goal also needs to align with your values. A good question to check yourself with is, is my behavior serving my ego or my noble goal? Remember what you do may seem small but to some one else it could mean the world AND if you think that what you do may be too small to matter, try going to sleep with a mosquito buzzing in your ear!