Being an entrepreneur is integral to my philosophy as founder and director of my own company. After more than 25 years I believe in taking my experience and skills and giving back to my employees, teams, clients and the communities where I operate.

After living on three continents – the U.S., Japan and now South Africa – I have learned that we know as little or as much as those we surround ourselves with. I started this company in 2000 and many have assisted me, and I thank them for their contributions.

One key thing I learned is that we must know where we come from to move forward. My own values come from several years working in Japan. Some of these values include:

Nemawashi 根回し. This Japanese word refers to the 'growing of roots' or the laying the foundation of relationships. It is an informal process of gathering support through discussions. Nemawashi is part of how I operate – listening, gathering information, and seeking to build long-term relationships.

Haragei 腹芸. Hara means stomach and gei means talk. This refers to the ability to speak without words. It can be used when two people understand one another implicitly – they 'speak' and understand one another through haragei. I believe that when we make an effort to understand one another – at the belly or gut level, is where the deepest understanding occurs.

Gaman 我慢. This is another common Japanese word of Zen Buddhist origin that means 'to endure'. It can also infer 'enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity'. In Japan, one who can endure without complaint, who can be patient and persevere under difficult circumstances, is one to be admired.

Kokoro こころ. This amazing word means 'heart', 'soul' and 'spirit'. Today is the era of the heart/soul 心の時代. Wherever we may be, whatever we may do, must come from a place of heart and spirit. Anything that I dedicate myself to, must be done with a full heart and complete passion.

In South Africa I have learned the value of generousity of spirit, about laughter and how people who can live with little materially have joy in life, and this can be humbling. Hlengiwe Qwabe, who works in my jewellery workshop, taught me that someone who can barely speak English can rise up to run a workshop and train others (and tell me what to do). People in South Africa continue to amaze me with their creativity, inventiveness, warmth and appreciation for life.

To all those who contribute to this world, and those who will in the future – Domo arigato gozaimasu. どうも ありがとう ございます. Kea leboha. Dankie. Ndi a livhuwa. Ndiyabulela Enkosi. Ngiyabonga ga kulu.

Z.A.ZEN Director and Founder Tamiko Sher is a writer, photographer, businesswoman and pilot. Many of her photographs and articles feature in publications for her clients, where she expands on more than twenty-five years' experience in working with corporates large and small, various non-governmental and government organisations.

She holds pilot's licenses in South Africa and US since 1995, flying throughout Southern Africa, seeking out remote locations where 'no one I know has been before'.