We approach change in the wrong way. In companies, we employ change management specialists in the hope that they wave their magic wand and bring about overnight changes. In our personal lives, we hope that a pep talk from someone will trigger a difference in our thinking. Instead, we need to focus on our behaviours.
“We repeat about 40 percent of our behaviour almost daily, so our habits shape our existence and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.” – Gretchen Rubin
At the best of times, I am feeling anxious because of the unprecedented event we are going through. Some days are great, and others not so. This emotional state ebbs and flows. When things aren’t great, I have to pick myself up and remind myself to take each day as it comes – one minute at a time, one hour at a time. How you treat yourself in these moments matters most to keep your head above water. I’ve recently started journaling – recording my mental state on each day to help me understand my thoughts better. This process helps me stay grounded and focused and connected with thought patterns.
“Pain passes more quickly when we don’t criticize or shame ourselves for feeling it.” – @Inspirewithyas
I was recently speaking to someone who said to me that we are living in a real-life disaster movie. I said yes, it is surreal, but we are in a situation we never anticipated. What makes the COVID-19 situation surreal is that back in February 2020 as coronavirus cases began escalating in Wuhan, China and other countries in the SE region, most of the Western world labelled it like the flu that would quickly pass. Only in March, Western governments began to take notice as cases started to arrive on their doorsteps, and by that time, people started getting sick. Suddenly, the situation was much more complicated and threatening to life. It was no longer a Chinese virus!
Fast forward to today, and we are witnessing a devastating and terrifying event that is shocking us all to our core. The loss of life has been colossal with no let-up in the global death toll. In an interview with the BBC, eminent medical researcher Sir Jeremy Farrar said that the UK was on course to have the highest numbers of deaths, exceeding Italy – that is quite a sobering thought. According to experts, our only way out of this is a viable vaccine, but even that is 12 to 18 months away. In the meantime, though, a mixed approach of testing, contact tracing, isolating the infected and sporadic periods of lockdown are recognized as interim solutions.
As the world economy grinds to a halt, there are some harsh lessons for us all to learn, and we need to learn them fast. It feels like the world has finally broken, and it’s collectively up to us to help fix it. What is happening to the world right now should be seen as its performance review. It should be the defining moment that a mirror was held up to the world, and the world saw how fragile and vulnerable it is. For us to thrive as humankind, we need to change our behaviours, and we can do that by changing the way we live. We would be foolish to think that we can go back to being as it was before the pandemic. Expect changes to come at the government level, company level and at an individual level. Here are some areas where I think we could get quick wins to live more sustainably and responsibly.
Companies will need to review their business models: Do companies require their employees to work from their office, or can their jobs be done just as productively by working from home (WFH)? Many companies in this pandemic that have usually resisted WFH before the crisis are inadvertently finding out that there are economic and employee engagement benefits of WFH for them.
Brand: We have seen the ugly side of companies during this pandemic. You only need to browse through the various online articles and news stories to understand the lack of compassion and poor judgement exercised by senior leaders in companies. Companies run the risk of negatively impacting their brand. Here’s a handy resource that names and shames employers in how they treat employees.
Cleanliness: People are realizing that they are not as clean as they once thought they were. People are going to be paranoid about their cleanliness and cleaning regimes from now on.
Climate: The lockdowns across the world saw a dramatic reduction in CO2 levels globally. In Venice, the water became cleaner, the smog in China’s polluting industrial hubs reduced, people’ drove their cars less. COVID-19 has given governments a lot to think about who all have ambitious targets to reduce their CO2 levels. Surprisingly, it has shown that with intervention, climate change can be curtailed. This will be a headache for policymakers as they review their plans.
Despite all that we have lost because of COVID-19, my feelings are turning to hope. Hope for a better future for ourselves and future generations. The biggest gift humankind can give itself is to learn from the mistakes, and to improve upon the weaknesses that have been shockingly exposed during the crisis. To find the right answers, we need to ask the right questions – profound questions! Who exactly are we, and what sort of people do we want to be? What kind of world do we want to live in? These fundamental questions will help us reveal the solutions to the success of our existence.
Western countries are lagging in their battle against COVID – 19. In almost all of the countries in the Western world, not enough testing is being done, healthcare professionals do not have the adequate equipment, lack of or no contact tracing of COVID – 19 cases, and failure of the general public to observe social distancing properly. There is a sense that Western countries are out of their depth.
This week we have seen the deaths of two teenagers from COVID–19 in the UK – one fatality was 13 and did not have an underlying health condition. As a Brit, I am struggling to understand why the UK response has been so lacking given our relatively good record of dealing with major crises and incidents.
With global confirmed cases approaching 900,000, I’ve been reflecting on some of the responses governments across the world have put in place to deal with COVID–19. While most countries in the East, especially in the Far East have responded impressively and mobilized resources at short notice, what is still lacking in the West is a coordinated and more aggressive response overall. The battle against COVID-19 must be fought on several fronts. What we need to see all governments do is:
Ensure medical specialists treating COVID-19 patients have adequate equipment and appropriate facilities for treatment
Expand the level of testing of frontline healthcare staff, and increase testing of the general public through dedicated testing centres or home testing kits
COVID–19 testing of employees in companies that have more than 250 employees. More contact tracing through enhanced surveillance of COVID–19 cases. South Korean have been quite successful at this through their dedicated app. There are critics to this approach as it raises privacy concerns, but this is like wartime, and desperate times call for drastic measures
Better and consistent enforcement of the lockdown protocol to guarantee the success of social distancing
Government stimulus packages for the aviation sector and airlines. Potential job losses at Swissport, Dnata, Menzies Aviation, Virgin would be devastating for the world economy. We will need them once COVID -19 recedes to help us get back to reality and reuniting people that are currently stuck overseas and are living apart from their relatives
Rigorous monitoring of passengers at seaport, airports and transit points to serve as the first line of defence. Because we are about a year away from a COVID-19 vaccine, this monitoring should be indefinite as we are expecting a second wave of COVID–19 in the winter months, albeit with lesser ferocity
Schools should remain closed until the infection rate drops significantly
There is still much that we do not know about COVID-19, but Western governments need to be on the front foot, and they will only be able to do that if they adopt the best practices of other countries that have been successful in their COVID – 19 response.
Career stagnation is one of the most frustrating experiences anybody can go through. Some people have continuous career success; some experience lulls and some end up in a downward spiral and struggle to pick themselves up.
To get around this, you need to peel back the layers to understand what is behind the crisis, and that involves a proper understanding of what inspires and motivates you. Here are eleven thought-provoking questions you need to ask yourself to help you put an action plan together to get you back on track.
1. Am I using my time, background and experience effectively?
2. What things can I control in my career?
3. What is achievable?
4. How do I come across to others?
5. What are my weaknesses?
6. What’s great about my career so far?
7. What are my core values?
8. Am I aligned with my values?
9. What does success look like to me?
10. Where do I want to be in my career five years from now?
11. How can I move forward and facilitate the achievement of my goals?
In the words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “success at anything will always come down to this: focus and effort and we control both.” Regardless of where you are in your career, your attitude will play a crucial part in determining your career trajectory.
Don’t see failures as a backward step. Never forget the bad experiences in your life. There is so much learning you can derive from them – you need to dig deep and reflect on that experience. Setbacks are temporary. You are already on the path of learning and discovery.
“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall… I don’t like to lose at anything… yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how he teaches us.” – Serena Williams, Grand Slam tennis player
You lost your job, and you didn’t get that promotion you wanted, you got a bad performance review, you lost a loved one, you had an accident and became injured, you are struggling with your mental health. Whatever you are going through at the moment, you will bounce back but do it in your own time and on your terms.
“When life knocks you down, sometimes you need to take your time to get back up. Don’t allow anyone to rush your process.’ – @Inspirewithyas
Nine months into the global Covid-19 pandemic and the impacts of this crisis are becoming all too familiar to us. In just nine months, so many lives lost, the lives of so many individuals have changed, and the destinies and fortunes of companies survival are on the line. We will probably never see such rampant change on this scale in our lifetime again. The human impact has been devastating.
Below is just a snapshot of the negative impacts COVID has had:
Relationships and marriages have come under strain during the lockdowns.
Children cannot receive a proper education as classes have shifted to blended or online learning, and their mental health is being detrimentally impacted.
Adult mental health is deteriorating with people suffering from loneliness, stress, anxiety, depression.
People that have recovered from COVID will experience long term health issues.
Secure jobs have become unsecured, leaving millions in unemployment, and some jobs will disappear forever.
Companies have gone bankrupt overnight.
Gender pay equality has taken a hit.
Disadvantaged communities have fallen further behind in their socio-economic status.
People are ignoring their governments calls to socially distance and comply with anti-COVID measures.
While this pandemic rages on without any end in sight, there will continue to be devastating economic and societal repercussions felt across the world. This virus has created so many problems for countries and their governments and also revealed how intertwined the world we live in is.
At the moment, best estimates for a vaccine are towards the end of 2020, but that depends on how successful the third phase trials have been. After that, there is still a period of regulatory approval whereby all Governments must approve the vaccine and declare it safe. As we look beyond the crisis, a vaccine will not fix all the problems overnight. Sustainable recovery will only take place if we address, economic, livelihood, social and political issues together.
In the meantime, we must all do our best to follow the social distance and COVID protocols to protect each other. That will only happen if we do it together out of care and respect.