Escape to a higher order

A glimpse of an empowered Africa through the eyes of Enshrine’s Caryn Darley


“Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny – he has something to fulfil, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed.  You are not here accidentally – you are here meaningfully.  There is a purpose behind you.  The whole intends to do something through you.” (OSHO – Creativity: Unleashing the forces within: 103)


During times of transition there are those who flounder, those who stand transfixed like a deer on the midnight highway staring blindly into oncoming headlights, and then there are those who have a vision to hold to; a vision that gives direction and focus.  The ability to see through the surface veneer of apparent chaos and into the intrinsic order at work beneath the ‘skin’ of reality, and the ability to observe the positive potentials amidst confusion are the marks of true visionaries; and Caryn Darley is one of them.

Having a clear sense of purpose is paramount in a state of transition; without a vision of what you want to create it is not possible to place yourself on the map of life and so navigate to where you want to be.  Where you want to go is very much determined by where you are. Spend just a few moments with Caryn and it becomes patently clear: Caryn is present and accounted for; she knows the lie of the land and is walking passionately towards her destination.

For Caryn the key to navigating the path of life lies in having a strong sense of purpose, a genuine acceptance of the unique value we offer and a clear personal vision that lights the way forward.  Caryn’s personal and entrepreneurial vision of ‘getting Africa to work’ is undeniably ambitious in scope, but behind the attractive, warm, sparkling, vibrant exterior that is Caryn, lies an intelligent and astute mind; an accomplished businesswoman with true entrepreneurial spirit, and a determination that should not be underestimated.


Having a sense of purpose and appreciating your self are solutions Caryn advocates for transcending victim behaviour and the apathy that it results in.  Caryn’s ‘getting Africa to work’ begins with getting Africa to work: which means getting people off the streets and into the workplace through placements and entrepreneurial job creation.  Self confidence begins with being able to take care of yourself and serving the needs of those that are reliant on you. Gainful employment where everyone can add significant value and so come to appreciate and value themselves is critical for an empowered continent to emerge.  It is Caryn’s unwavering belief that the self worth that this engenders will create a ripple effect of productivity and agency that will impact every level of society.


Retrenchment, scarcity of jobs and financial struggle are a breeding ground for discouragement and hopelessness and for Caryn the way through lies in taking personal responsibility and accountability for our role and place in life; as she herself has done.  But if anyone knows how challenging it can be to take up the reigns of your life and put yourself on the map it is Caryn, and so an element of her quintessential style is her ongoing endorsement and support of education and mentorship.


Caryn has always surrounded herself with minds of merit that have empathy and consciousness; ‘heads with hearts’.  For almost every aspect of her business she has a line open to a specialist consultant or mentor; these are the voices that steady and guide her toward her aspirations. To be open to learning, to be teachable is a powerful wisdom. Being humble enough to admit ‘not knowing’ in order to ‘come to know’, is evidence of a spirit of vulnerability and expansiveness, the spirit of transcendence, and in this way Caryn evidences her strong affinity with the feminine principle.  Always open to other points of view, Caryn models the feminine quality of true listening, by making herself available to the unknown. This feature distinguishes the “Head-Hunting from the Heart” approach Caryn adopts in her primary profession as recruitment specialist.  It is also why providing a platform for the transfer of knowledge and the retention of skills are so high on her list of priorities.

Caryn is under no illusions that to take personal responsibility and accountability for your life is a process more easily navigated with the right guidance, and she sees an opportunity for the mature and senior professionals of our industries – those who have a lifetime of on-the-job experiential learning to share – to see their transition from full time employ to semi or permanent retirement as a step onto another level.  Instead of vanishing into obscurity their role now becomes one of ploughing their rich learning’s – their personal creative capital and wisdom – back into the fertile soils of the future generation.


Caryn knows that the vision she uses as a lantern to guide her actions and decisions cannot be realised alone.  In fact getting the right people to work together, instigating collaborations, and advocating co-creation versus competition and duplication, forms a large part of the authentic contribution she is making.  Caryn sees a future where consulting plays a far more integrated role, providing a bridge between companies and candidates across which the transfer of skills and knowledge can effectively, efficiently and economically take place. This includes cross-pollination between industries where necessary and appropriate.  Instead of simply fitting a ‘brain in a box’ as many consultants do, Caryn sees the role of the consultant as one of orchestrating a transition and considering the ‘whole’ person and the whole organisation when playing the role as facilitator of the placement process.  Once again this highlights Caryn’s feminine powers, illustrated in her desire to take the bigger picture into account and be receptive to the needs of all parties involved according to the needs of the moment.


Taking a closer look at Caryn reveals that bringing to the table her natural gifts and talents as a recruitment consulting expert and leader, and by applying her unique ability to see the true value in people in a holistic manner, is for her all intricately woven into how she aims to serve her purpose.


The world is in a state of transition as evidenced by the economic crunch, HIV and AIDS, the dissolution of belief systems, cultures, hierarchies and social structures, daily technological quantum leaps, global warming, overpopulation, mass poverty, depletion of fossil fuels and the list goes on. Transitions are typically marked by chaos and confusion.  Those who understand that this temporary ‘disorder’ is a necessary part of the process of evolution are the torchbearers among us, and Caryn self-assuredly and unashamedly shines her light.

Fluctuations in our environment and a growing consciousness of the role we play in causing them call for a review and evaluation of the desires and impact of our species on the world.  Caryn’s love for all things natural means she approaches her work and role with conscience.  Her desire for fair trade, mutual respect and transparency are not limited to her life and business practices but apply also to the greater reality of how best to manage our responsibility as custodians of planet earth.


Systems theory tells us that when a system breaks down it either reorganises on a higher level of function (it ‘escapes to a higher order’) or it ceases to exist.  The systems ability to integrate the changes the environment is calling for determines its destiny: adapt or die.


Tumultuous economic climates signal that the way we ‘busy’ ourselves: our relationships, work, business, occupation, hobbies and entertainments – requires attention.  The manner in which we work with energy, in the form of money and resources, needs to be re-interpreted.  Maximising time as a valued asset and commodity is under review. As the world changes, in large part thanks to our influence, we are all being called on to adapt in various ways; ways that will dramatically alter our experience of life itself.  Critical factors that differentiate those that are capable of ‘escaping to a higher order’ are: flexibility, teachability and creativity.


With an attitude that considers adversity as a grand opportunity, Caryn envisions a way for Africa to ‘escape to a higher order’, a new order where wealth, health and dignity are restored to all.  But change requires change, you cannot change and remain the same; it is often painful and frightening to walk where the footprints end. Yet the rewards for stretching past your best, shining a light on your blind spots and awakening the dormant seeds within you – are many and rich.  Caryn understands that it is struggle that makes us grow and so clearly comprehends the paradox at work in life: everything contains it’s opposite.  This means that Caryn is always looking for the silver lining when the clouds gather and this attitude is perhaps what most distinguishes her unique business flair.


We may feel powerless in the face of the changes our current experience demands and yet disempowerment is an illusion we choose to invest in, for we possess great power.  We are not puppets, we have free will.  We are creative.  We can adjust our attitude to a situation, see it differently; and in so doing change it through the actions we choose to take.  One of the lessons Caryn shares through her approach to life and business is the impact that our attitude has on our actions and experiences.  Translating ‘failure’ into ‘success’ means becoming able to see differently – to see through the lens of infinite potential.  To see differently you have to change, to transform ‘bad times’ into ‘good times’, an evolution of self is requisite.


Systems theory also tells us that at the point where a system reorganises itself (a bi-furcation or ‘choice-point’) the possibilities of what the ‘new order’ of the system will be as it reshapes itself are infinite.  This means that, for us, attitude is key to shaping any future we desire – it is up to us to see the opportunity in disorder and to re-organise ourselves on a higher level.  We can see a situation as hopeless and give up, we can keep trying old tactics and bang our heads against the wall expecting different results but always getting the same ones, or as Caryn has done, we can learn from each other, grow and change.  Caryn walks the talk and talks the walk by sharing with others the ideological and practical foundations upon which she has built her business, and in doing so she engenders a proactive attitude of productivity and agency wherever she goes.


Structures that no longer serve are making way for the new, but the new is still in the process of being born and so much friction arises as we strive to release the habits of the past and embrace the future.  The creative process of re-engineering is a challenging time.  What may once have worked no longer applies and new strategies and tools for the co-creation of our future are necessary, and it is here that Caryn’s time and energies are focussed most strongly. Enshrine’s credo: “Re-Engineering your life’s journey” does reflect on the fact that Caryn’s chief consulting focus is the Engineering and Technical sectors, however, these powerful words are even more expressive of the ideological and practical ‘soul’ of her greater vision. To ‘re-engineer’ – means to return to your grand WHY? – with consciousness; it invites you to bring the greater part of your awareness to bear on the things that impassion, motivate and inspire you – those things that are the greatest reflection of your true or essential nature.


During times of transition the old has to be questioned and deconstructed, it is a time fraught with disillusionment as we realise the ways we are so familiar with and are so fond of no longer suffice and have to go.  Disillusionment can hurt; in many respects it can feel like a betrayal, like we have been ‘had’; like we should have known better.  Learning through our ‘failures’ is treacherous ground.  We may feel out of sorts, ‘stupid’, naive and alone.  All growth is meted out in dis-ease, discomfort, stretching and adapting. As Kahlil Gibran so eloquently puts it:


“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that surrounds your understanding.”

(Kahlil Gibran)


Evolving requires effort and Caryn certainly understands this; growing through the lessons life has brought her, overcoming adversity and reaching for her true potential are active ingredients of her life experience.  Caryn’s authentic capital; her experiential learning’s and wisdom, are the bedrock upon which she has built Enshrine.  Not only does this apply to her role as a specialist consultant and entrepreneur but to every aspect of how she does business and her life as a whole.


Caryn practices ‘IN-vestment’: which means she comprehends the power of investing her time, energy and resources towards understanding herself better and improving herself constantly; and she encourages others to do so also.


When you regularly turn compost and nutrients into the soil beneath the tree, you can be sure that the blooms will be that much brighter, and the fruit that much sweeter.


Sensing the need for strong leadership in South Africa, Caryn made it her mission to become the best leader she can be; absorbing as much knowledge as she could from the world’s leading experts on the subject; studying Effective Motivational Leadership and coaching others to lead.  John Maxwell’s work inspired Caryn to understand that if you have integrity and can influence people’s minds there is nothing you can’t achieve.  Recognising that the self is the greatest asset we have, Caryn has avidly grown herself through exposure to the work of Dr. John Demartini and other renowned self-development experts. She has incorporated the insights and tools she has gained directly into her life and business practices.


If your values are reflected by where you spend your time and money then it is clear that life-long-learning and personal development are key for Caryn:

“Anything that can grow me – I grab my card and pay for it.  Anything – like courses or networks that will bring me closer to my vision – I will pay for without thinking.”


Caryn’s agenda is ‘learning how to learn’, which is possibly why her vision is growing stronger by the day despite the tumultuous business climate we are experiencing at present.  Times of change mean that belief systems that applied to an old order no longer apply to a new order.  Without clear markers to hold to and clear indicators against which to measure our progress we may flounder.  Not Caryn, thanks largely to her willingness to engage her personal limitations and confront her doubts and fears as a means to liberation.


In a Time Magazine article published in 2003 it was proposed that where IT was the pinnacle of the 20th century, Creativity would be the pinnacle of the 21st century.  If we are to take responsibility for the role we play in manifesting our reality, fresh ways of thinking and being are called for.  To this end, Caryn, who is highly creative herself, has drawn to Enshrine ‘minds with heart’ – creative souls that are proactive in seeking solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems and concerns.


Caryn Darley in London for the recent ENEX Conference 2011

The magnitude of Caryn’s vision is a mirror image of the value she embraces within herself, the confidence she has in her abilities, the faith she has in her quest to consciously grow and evolve into her true potential.  Her vision is effectively an outward expression of her inner landscape and a reflection of her own self worth. Caryn’s vision is a beacon of hope in trying times and it is the answer to a call that issues from the very well-spring of her being.