News from the World Cup by Sybrand Engelbrecht

If 7 years ago, walking off Newlands Cricket Ground for the last time, you told me that I would be at a World Cup, playing for the Netherlands, I would have asked if you were OK?! If you told me I would complete my MBA through one of the best educational institutions in Africa (Stellenbosch Business School) and apply the knowledge daily in the business units I am involved with, I would not have believed you. If you told me I would be privileged enough to have a career working for one of the best investment managers, Fairtree, doing what I love and working with some of the brightest minds and a world-class team, I’d also put a low probability on that.

But… miracles happen. Here I am, absolutely filled with gratitude, extremely fortunate to be in this position.

As I stand on the cricket field at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India, I can’t help but reflect on the incredible journey that brought me here.

Wait, what… I am at a World Cup, really?

Stepping away from the corporate world for a short period was a daunting step, but it has been an extraordinary adventure.

First and foremost, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the incredible people who have supported me on my journey. Friends, family, mentors, and colleagues – your unwavering belief in me has been my driving force.

Values and Culture and the Environment We Operate In.

 

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned is the incredible strength that comes from being part of a team with a strong culture and shared values.

As part of the Netherlands cricket team, the camaraderie, dedication, and shared passion on and off the field have been nothing short of inspiring. Together, we have grown, pushed boundaries, and achieved remarkable feats. As I write this, we have lost games against Pakistan and New Zealand, searching for consistency and prolonged periods of high performance. This in itself is a testament to this group’s willingness to accept reality and see the opportunity this brings. We play with SOUL (Selflessness, Ownership, Unity, and Learning).

Similarly, as part of the Fairtree team, the unique culture, values, and leadership have created an environment for individuals to flourish and pursue their life calling. I have always felt supported and encouraged to follow my unique journey – and lead by example to pursue excellence in all aspects of my life. Integrity, Excellence, Growth, Real Relationships and Family are the foundations on which decisions and actions are based. I firmly believe that the long-term success Fairtree has achieved and will continue to achieve is due to the unwavering commitment to lean into the values, especially when times are tough.

Both environments and value sets allow people to flourish. At Fairtree, leadership probably believed in me more than I believed in myself. In the Dutch cricket environment, the team and coaching staff believe I can add value. The environment in which one operates can profoundly impact the path to success.

Living My Dream.

 

I consider myself extremely lucky to be here, living my dream on and off the cricket field. But luck alone did not get me here. It took hard work, resilience, and a burning desire to excel. And most importantly, it took the support of a community that believed in me.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;… who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”- Theodore Roosevelt

I want to remind everyone that you can achieve the extraordinary with the right mindset, unwavering support, and dedication to your passion. Do not be afraid to chase your dreams, even if it means leaving behind the familiar.

Although this story is far from complete, and there are so many things I still want to accomplish and achieve, I am grateful for where I am now.

Thank you, everyone, for being a part of this incredible journey. Here’s to the power of dreams, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence!

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