5 Experts everyone needs to live their best life

5 Experts everyone needs to live their best life

Last updated on 1st April, 2020 at 04:59 pm

With these experts in your corner, this year is set to be your best one yet. Find out how to make the most of them to improve your health, career and finances now.

Expert #1: The therapist you can offload to

More than a third of South Africans live with high blood pressure, brought on by high stress. While you experience stress at some point, how you respond to it can have a significant impact on your daily functioning and health. Here is where a therapist comes in.

According to research by the University of British Columbia, behaviour treatments like talk therapy can have an impact in reducing high blood pressure. Therapy offers a safe space in which to offload and deal with any long-standing emotional baggage, or current stress.

“It aims to examine and understand the human subjective experience within the confines of a confidential, non-judgemental relationship with a therapist,” says Linda Da Silva, a clinical psychologist. “It is so much more than just a treatment modality for human pain and suffering,” she adds.

Be prepared to gain better insight not only into the workings of your own mind, she says, but understanding others too. If you’re looking to improve your capacity for tolerance, kindness and resilience in dealing effectively with the stressors and strains of day-to-day living and relating, therapy could be for you.

What should I look for in a therapist?

Finding the right fit in a therapist is key, says Da Silva. Since you are opening up in a vulnerable way, trust is important, which will also establish a level of comfort during sessions. “Therapy comes in so many forms, but the most important aspect of successful work is the relationship,” says Da Silva. “Trust your gut,” she continues. “The right therapist for you will be one with whom you feel comfortable and at ease, and who you can see yourself working with.”

How can I make the most of a therapist?

Whatever reason you have for making your appointment, Da Silva says it’s important that you actively engage in your process. “Therapy doesn’t need to be forever or completely open-ended,” she says. You might find that you’ll have a weekly session initially, which will be reduced to biweekly or something less frequent over time depending on what you’d like to work on.

If you are diagnosed with a chronic condition on the list of prescribed minimum benefits (PMBs), you are legally entitled to a set number of treatment sessions, fully covered by your medical aid. Want to know more about how PMBs can help with the cost of healthcare? Read this.

How do I find the right therapist for me?

Da Silva shares that there are different ways to find a professional therapist or psychologist for you. “If a good therapist doesn’t come recommended to you, go online,” she says. It’s not essential to get a GP’s referral to book your appointment. Ensure that anyone claiming to be a psychologist has a master’s degree in psychology and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

Worried about things like your blood pressure? As a Sanlam Reality member, you can manage your risk and earn tier points by booking a basic medical test at any Dis-Chem or Clicks pharmacy. A healthcare professional will assess your blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol and glucose levels.

Expert #2: The career coach who will help supercharge your career

Whether you’re launching yourself into the working world, or looking to take a step in a different direction, a career coach can play an invaluable role in guiding this journey. According to career coaching programme Personal Career Management, more than 80% of clients who’ve been coached through a course found jobs that appealed to them.

“Career coaching has seen growth due to the recognition of the value of self-investing in this support,” says Elise McCabe, managing director of Career Management Consulting. During the job search, you can experience frustration, disappointment and stress and, McCabe adds, a career coach can offer the support and guidance you need to realise your professional potential.

What can a career coach do for you?

McCabe lists various ways in which a career coach can add value, including helping a person determine if their career path is aligned to their purpose, and what jobs are suited to their skills and talents. “A coach can also help you navigate through difficult career decisions, and advise how to approach a career transition by designing a plan.”

They can help you identify your skills and strengths and define your personal brand, she explains. When it comes to job applications, they can advise the relevant info to be included on a CV, prepare you for interviews, and suggest ways to network and teach you the power of networking.

What should I look for in a career coach?

“A career coach should be knowledgeable about your role and industry, experienced and truly invested in helping you,” says McCabe. She also notes the importance of the relationship dynamic: “This needs to be someone you connect with and that you can relate to, and trust.”

How can I make the most of a career coach?

“Be open to knowing that your coach is going to be honest with you and tell you where you have limitations and developmental areas to work on,” says McCabe. From the outset, it’s important to be honest with your coach and with yourself, and be clear about what you would like to accomplish through this process.

Are you looking at changing jobs? Find out why it’s important not to touch your pension fund in the process, here.

How do I find the right career coach for me?

If you’re about to enter the job market having just finished your studies, it’s worth talking to someone in the career services department at your college or university, says McCabe. They often offer career coaching or can put you in touch with a career coach.

Expert #3: The family physician who speaks your language

Imagine having a health expert who knows your physical and mental health history, can offer a confidential, safe space to answer your questions, and can break down complex health concepts into simpler terms so you feel better equipped to take charge of your health? This is what a family physician does best.

In addition to being a family doctor, a family physician’s further training equips them to care for all members of the family from before birth to after death, says Dr Tasleem Ras, family physician and lecturer at UCT’s School of Public Health and Family Medicine. “They also have advanced training in counselling to deal with the many challenges people face in their lives,” he continues. This means you can access care in your community without necessarily attended a hospital-based specialist. “The family physician is the only specialist who focusses on you as a whole, regardless of the illness you are experiencing,” Dr Ras adds.

What should I look for in a family physician?

Dr Ras suggests three key characteristics to seek in a family physician:

Good interpersonal skills

“Your family physician gets to know you over time, following repeated visits for a variety of ailments,” explains Dr Ras. “This relationship develops into one based on trust, ensuring that you are confident that decisions being made are in your best interest.”

To build this trust, it’s important that you feel comfortable with the way your family physician relates to you. They should be able to make complex medical terms and concepts more digestible, or as Dr Ras puts it, “they act as a humane translator from scientific into ‘normal’ language.”


Thanks to their advanced training in scientific literacy, and their understanding of the health system, a family physician is an expert in the early diagnosis of important health problems such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes, and if referral to a hospital or other specialist is necessary, they can help you navigate this often-intimidating journey.

A network

While a family physician is committed to you as the patient, and not to a specific illness category, they should have a good network of other health professionals to refer to for all your health needs.

How can I make the most of a family physician?

Before the age of 45, make an appointment when needed, and increase this to annual check-ups thereafter. It’s also important not to be afraid to ask your physician questions – no matter how embarrassing they may feel.

How do I find the right family physician for me?

For convenience and peace of mind, Dr Ras says a family physician should be easily accessible either from your home or place of work. He also notes that for this expert, word of mouth is powerful – it’s worth asking family and friends for recommendations.

The right medical aid plan is key to making your money stretch further, while keeping you in good health. Use this guide to find out how to choose the right plan for you.

Expert #4: The financial planner you trust

Your finances have played a major role in getting you where you are now, and will affect how you reach your goals, both professionally and personally. This is why proper planning with a qualified financial planner plays a valuable role in living your best life.

“A financial planner should be viewed as a reliable and trustworthy soundboard who has thorough knowledge of your family background, current lifestyle and future needs,” explains Jyoti Gopee-Mothie, a financial planner at Pinnacle BlueStar. “Understanding past behavioural patterns helps them guide you to identify trends in your decisions when it comes to money matters.”

What should I look for in a financial planner?

“Holistic financial planning is extremely important,” says Gopee-Mothie. So, what does this involve? She notes that a financial planner who considers the bigger picture and all its elements is worth building your plan with. “These include things such as your last will and testament, trusts, business interests, share portfolios, investments, life cover, funeral cover and retirement savings, to mention a few.”

The risk of not looking at the full picture can be detrimental to you as a policy holder or investor, and your dependants. “There are implications for your estate, and tax consequences to be factored in too.”

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How can I make the most of a financial planner?

Your time with your financial planner is as much for learning as it is for planning, so be an active, involved part of the process. “Take time to listen to the advice that is being offered with an open mind,” says Gopee-Mothie. “Ask questions – there is no ‘silly question’,” she encourages. Are you approaching a milestone like buying a property or starting a family? Make a priority of meeting with your financial planner to discuss the most efficient way to manage your changing needs, then follow up to adjust your plan accordingly.

How do I find the right financial planner for me?

Ou financial planners are expertly equipped to offer financial advice and help you reach your goals by putting a financial plan in place. Book a meeting with one here.

Expert #5: The life coach who keeps you growing

A 2003 study published in Social Behaviour and Personality titled ‘The impact of life coaching on goal attainment, metacognition and mental health’ found that participation in a life-coaching programme was linked to improved mental health, quality of life and goal attainment, and suggested it was an effective approach to personal development.

The demands of our fast-paced lives and, ultimately, the stress brought on by performance-driven quests mean that a life coach has become an essential expert to have for your growth, says Linde Remke, a master practitioner coach who owns and runs EVEOLVE Coaching. “Having a life coach provides you with a non-judgemental and confidential space to air concerns, explore options and help discover solutions that will serve you best in a short to medium term,” she adds.

What can a life coach do for you?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is gaining more credit for its role in achieving greater job satisfaction and increasing earning potential, creating the opportunity for a life coach to add value not only to your personal development, but professional development too.

“Gone are the days when IQ was all that defined performance and outcomes,” Remke concurs. “Engaging with a life coach guarantees personal growth through awareness of self and how best to manage life in general. Knowing how our behaviour impacts others brings a better understanding of ourselves and that of others.”

What should I look for in a life coach?

A good rapport with your life coach is key to setting your development journey in motion. “Matching yourself with a coach is critical,” says Remke. “Searching for coaches who have an online presence helps you to read up on their journey travelled and experience gained.” This will make it easier to find someone whose journey you feel resonates with your needs.

How can I make the most of a life coach?

Accountability to yourself and others is important for measuring and reaching your goals. Therefore, Lemke suggests regular, consistent appointments with your life coach to give you the opportunity to check in on the progress you’ve made towards these goals, and be held accountable for the steps to success you’ve committed to.

Arrive with the right attitude and intention. An open mind and commitment to the process will go a long way in seeing results. “Be willing to look at things differently, set goals upfront, do the work and take action,” says Remke. “This will ensure a successful coaching outcome.” Upfront goal-setting will help you achieve, if not exceed, your goals. This can further boost your confidence, says Lemke, and be very rewarding.

How do I find the right life coach for me?

“Identifying a well-trained coach or mentor from a reputable organisation is of utmost importance,” says Remke. Your go-to for finding a formally trained and experienced life coach is Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA). “Members of COMENSA need to adhere to strict criteria upon joining, and sign an agreement to uphold the Ethical and Professional Conduct and Standards set out by the body,” she says.

A requirement of registration is for coaches to earn Continuous Professional Development, of which Supervision Coaching is a part. This means you can rest assured your coach is offering you the best service.

To set yourself up for the greatest chance of pairing well with your life coach, Remke suggests asking about a chemistry or rapport session. “Always enquire whether your prospective coach offers a chemistry/rapport session before embarking on a coaching relationship to ensure that you are compatible, comfortable and that you feel you can build a relationship with them easily.”

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