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How To Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants To Become Great Executive coach Erik Kruger wants to be South Africa's top coach and speaker. He's well on his way to achieving his vision because he fosters a success mindset and is focused on learning from the world's top experts.

By Nadine von Moltke-Todd

You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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Vital Stats

Erik Kruger has two goals: To be one of the best executive coaches in South Africa and to dominate the South African – and then international – speaking circuit.

He is already coaching some of South Africa's top executives and entrepreneurs. How he thinks about success shapes his mindset, daily rituals and how he's achieving his goals.

These are his insights.

Q: What is the best advice or mantra you live by that has defined who you are today?

The story about the two wolves turned my life around. The short version of the story says that in all of us exist two wolves who are always fighting each other. The first is a bad wolf – he is anger, fear, jealousy, and pride. The second is a good wolf – he is love, kindness, humility, and compassion. The wolf that wins, is the wolf that you feed.

What made this story so impactful at the time was that it made me realise that every decision we make and every action we take feeds one of the two wolves. It means that we cannot be reckless with even the smallest of decisions.

However, over time my view on the story has evolved. I no longer thinking of the two wolves as fighting, nor do I think about them in terms of good and bad. They are both me and they both want me to succeed. So, I integrate them both and show up as a more complete human being.

Q: If you could change one thing in your life – what would it be and why?

As it stands now, I wouldn't change anything. I have built a solid foundation on which I am iterating and improving every day. However, a change I made very recently that has had a positive impact in my life is to say yes more to coffee dates.

Over the years I have become very good at creating boundaries in my life to protect my time. A few months ago, I decided that I want to increase the people flow through my life and have done exactly that. Business is about the relationships that we build, maintain, and trust. Invest in it.

Q: Do you have a daily ritual that positively impacts your success?

Definitely. The most important part of my day is my morning routine. I wake up at 5am and then go through the routine of making coffee, journaling, meditating, planning my day, and then doing creative work. It sets the tone for the next eight hours of work.

There are two important things about my routine that you should know. The first is that I trust my body to wake up when it's rested. This means I no longer scold myself if I slip past the 5am alarm. However, I am usually awake before my alarm goes off.

Secondly, I have taken the time to figure out what works for me. I am very creative and focused in the morning, making it the perfect time to write and brainstorm. So, I built my routine around how my energy flows.

Q: What have you come to learn about your how your mindset

That it's ever evolving and in constant need of maintenance. As a coach I see every day how people battle with the negativity that surrounds us. I take time every morning to programme my mind for the day. This small act prepares me to deal with any negativity or anxiety that might arise during the day.

Q: Do you look to role models and experts to learn from and develop yourself?

Yes. I mostly get stuck on books by psychologists such as Carl Jung and business thinkers like Peter Drucker. We must look to others so we can, as Isaac Newton put it, stand on the shoulders of giants. Many people before us have done some heavy lifting in terms of their thinking and actions. There is no need to start from scratch. We can build on the work they have done.

Nadine von Moltke-Todd

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor-in-Chief: Entrepreneur.com South Africa

Nadine von Moltke-Todd is the Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Media South Africa. She has interviewed over 400 entrepreneurs, senior executives, investors and subject matter experts over the course of a decade. She was the managing editor of the award-winning Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa from June 2010 until January 2019, its final print issue. Nadine’s expertise lies in curating insightful and unique business content and distilling it into actionable insights that business readers can implement in their own organisations.

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