When Nduno was a child, every time an aircraft flew over her village in a rural part of Namibia, Africa she ran out of the house calling to it and begging for it to land. She would plead for the aircrew to throw sweets or to do something exciting. She was so mesmerised by these flying machines that these early experiences began to feed a dream and an ambition. Nduno wanted to become a military pilot and eventually Nambia's first astronaut.
Bad luck showed up, not only because Namibia of course is not known for space exploration, but the roles that are made available to young women tend be nursing or teaching careers and certainly not military pilots. But as every year of her childhood went by, the dream of becoming not just a pilot but an astronaut grew ever stronger.
Nduno was inspired by her mother who was the driving force in her life, nurturing her to become the best she could be. Good luck showed up. Reaching for the stars and landing on the moon was not a cliche for Nduno because she had the belief that anything was possible. She worked hard at her studies, became a high achiever and edged closer and closer to her dream.
But then, bad luck showed up. Someone she trusted deeply and admired in her family took her confidence. It showed up in the form of her uncle - and - probably without him knowing, he destroyed her confidence because he told her:
"You can't do this. Who are you to be a soldier? You are not strong enough. Look at the size of you!" He lifted her arms and dropped them." You are not strong enough to be a soldier and be an pilot."
The words cut deep. She was so wounded by his words that she cried like any of us would, hearing from someone we love and trust that we are 'not enough' to pursue our dreams. But now she had a decision to make. Would she allow his comments to define the rest of her life? Should she give up on her unrealistic dreams and become a nurse or a teacher as per society's blueprint?
Last summer in Windhoek, Namibia at the 13th Namibian Women Summit, I met Nduno, now in her twenties and a young, intelligent and incredibly engaging military pilot, flying helicopters for the Namibian Air Force and travelling to schools across the country to inspire other young women.
Her Uncle's comments lit a fire inside her to prove him wrong. Without this fire she would've struggled to muster the resilience to withstand the physical, emotional and social barriers she had to overcome throughout her army training, her pilot training and through to collecting her wings - not least as the only female in her regiment.
When bad luck shows up it appears very much as it seems, but perhaps is masquerading as good luck after all.
There's a lot of bad luck at the moment, but perhaps a little of it may just seem that way. Good times are coming. Hang in there.
CEO & Co-founder of the PopUp Business School.