Mentoring: Tumi Frazier

Sunday, February 03, 2013

We speak to Tumi Frazier who is an author, speaker, professional coach and business consultant.  Tumi is one of South Africa’s gems and great change and leadership experts who is internationally acclaimed.


Inside Woman: Please share your testimony of how you came to know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour? 

Tumi Frazier: God had to grab my attention by divinely re-arranging my life because I was too busy doing my own thing.  Church had always been a major part of my life growing up; in fact my grandfather was a preacher in the African Methodist Episcopal Church where my parents are to date. However, I only came to know and have a personal relationship with Christ in 1998. This was after I had started working and had left home. At 25 I was already a partner in a business, in the circular world I was “successful” because I had  material rewards that the positions I had and the status brought. However, I had drifted away from God’s presence and covering. I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour after losing everything; the business, money, car and home. This was the time when I went back to God like a prodigal son because I knew I was lost. I received a prophetic Word about God’s purpose and plan for my life during theses turbulent times. The Word was that God knew what I was going through and that the enemy had been trying to put me down. But; I should not be discouraged because spring was coming and God was going to restore my life. God said He will give me plenty so that I can give to others; He said I will teach, inspire and encourage people; young and old all over the world. I am doing exactly this, 15 years later.

Inside Woman: How you ended up doing what you’re doing now? 

Tumi Frazier: I had to align myself with the Word I received from God so that He can do what He purposed for my life. Even though things were extremely hard when I first started out in the speaking business, I could not quit. I was constantly tempted by job offers that promised great remuneration and  benefits, but I could not accept them because that to me meant I didn’t trust God. Some of my friends and even family members could not understand how I could turn down job offers whilst I was struggling to make ends meet to a point of having no food on the table. I was determined to make my business work, I had sacrificed too much already. Sometimes you have to say no to the good to say yes to the great. If I had accepted any of those jobs I would have been able to pay my bills and probably reduced a whole lot of stress in my life, but is that what life is about? Living from one pay check to the next; working just to pay bills?  I wanted to live a life of significance, so I had to stay focused on God’s plan and pay the price. In fact, I was being prepared for my moment. Always remember that you pay the price for every decision you make in life, good or bad. You need to weigh the rewards or the consequences of every decision you make. I am grateful that I made the sacrifice and paid the price because I love what I do; it is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, in fact it doesn’t feel like work. Your deepest joy and greatest power can be found only in the position that God elected you to be.

Inside Woman: Do you consider your profession a calling? 

Tumi Frazier: Absolutely.

Inside Woman: Who had the most significant influence on shaping you as a leader?

Tumi Frazier: I can’t single out one individual but rather there are/ were few men and women who played pivotal roles in my life and contributed immensely to the person I am. Some of these were my teachers, successful and ordinary community members I grew up in. But for the most part I learnt leadership through trial and error, which had its own pros and cons. I must however, point out that I was a born leader as I exhibited some leadership traits from an early age at school and within my family; which of course needed to be harnessed and nurtured over time. 

Inside Woman: What made you decide to go into business and how long have you been in business?

Tumi Frazier: I was never really cut out for employment as I am the type of person who pushes boundaries, challenges status quo and takes major risks; which did not work within organizations then and as a result I was extremely unhappy because I was not being true to myself. I’ve been in business for over 10 years.

Inside Woman: Looking back on your business decisions, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Tumi Frazier: Yes, I would do enough due diligence when choosing business partners because I lost a lot of money and time getting into business with wrong or unequally yoked individuals. Most importantly I would seek God in all the decisions I make in my business and literally make Him a partner.

Inside Woman: Did you have any formal business training? Do you think this is important to be successful?

Tumi Frazier: I did not have any business qualification other than what I studied for, which is Psychology. However, I attended various business seminars and learned from those who have been in business before me. It is important to understand business principles as well as learn from others. This way you do not have to repeat their mistakes. It is also important to stay current with changes that are affecting business especially in the 21st century, such as technology, information and people. So yes, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the business itself but also the industry you operate in as well as changing customer/clients needs. Learning can take different forms; formal and informal.

Inside Woman: What is the danger in having a vision that has not had adequate prayer and direction from God?

Tumi Frazier: Somewhere along the way your vision or dream will be re-arranged because if the vision is not God’s plan for your life it will not succeed and then life will be a constant struggle. In fact your life will be a routine filled with meaningless motion apart from God’s direction and power.

Inside Woman: What do you love most about your job?

Tumi Frazier: Seeing people transform and be the best they can ever be and ultimately move towards their purpose.

Inside Woman: How long did you have to work before you achieved that initial success?

Tumi Frazier: My life story is similar to that of Abraham or even Joseph, where God told them He was going to bless them and make them a blessing. Instead the blessings took too long; imagine Abraham waiting for at least 25 years and Joseph ending up in jail. I worked very hard for a very long time but had to wait on God because His timing is not our timing. During my waiting period; He was working through me, so that I am ready when the blessings come my way. I spent more time in “preparation”, in fact God has not finished what He has started with me. I am still work in progress.

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Inside Woman: How do you motivate yourself to go on when you face challenges?

Tumi Frazier: I minister to others. This has given me a growing personal strength and deeper sense of who I am in Christ. When you minister to others during your own challenges and pain, God ministers to you and you experience peace that surpasses all understanding. 

Inside Woman: What advice do you have for Christian women who are just starting out in business?

Tumi Frazier: Be sure what you are doing is God’s purpose for your life and learn to be resilient. Every time you get knocked down get up, dust yourself and keep moving. What differentiates people who succeed from those who do not is the ability to persevere.

Inside Woman: What is your advice to Christian women and young girls struggling to find their true passion in life?

Tumi Frazier: Ask yourself “ if I had all the monies in the world, what would I do for free?”What would get you out of bed every morning? 

Inside Woman: What can Christian woman do to empower herself? 

Tumi Frazier: Read as much as you can because leaders are readers. Also get around the right people. 

Inside Woman: What’s your favourite scripture and why?

Tumi Frazier: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, because it reminds me of who I really am in Christ and it also empowers me to do greater things.

Visit Tumi's website: http://www.tumifrazier.com/

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