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Navigating Through Change

“It just happened!” Whether you are a manager, a parent or a teacher; I’m sure you have heard this before. The fact is; very few things go wrong over-night. Most things that go wrong give us several options to choose from and various warnings before the crisis hits. Sometimes bad things happen unexpectedly, and sometimes good things turn bad gradually. Accidents happen, but wrong choices - be it our own, or as a result of other people’s choices - something that we thought was good, turns sour. There is a pretty standard way that human beings navigate through changes and challenges in life. Let me take you on a journey and share some of the things we experienced, the choices we made, and the outcomes we had to face resulting from those choices.

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What Now!

What a crazy time in the history of the world. World leaders have been warned of the possibility of this. Bill Gates gave a grim warning in a 2015 TED Talk titled "The Next Outbreak? predicting: "If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it's most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war."

I don’t want to waste anymore words talking about the past, and how “we should have known better”, or even get into the spiritual questions of why this is happening either (although that is a topic I am also busy with). I don’t want to get into a discussion of what the future holds as a result. That is indeed a topic for another time. No-one can predict the outcome of this! Not even the best data analytics process, has sufficient information available to help individuals, companies or countries prepare themselves to deal with the medium to the long term future. What I want to talk about is “What NOW?”

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Hitting Rock Bottom
- A Way Out -

Today is not only the 11th day of the South African lockdown but also the 28th birthday of our first born son, Waldo. What adds to our family’s emotions today is the fact that we “celebrated” the 17th year of his death yesterday on the 5th of April (2003) – one day before his 11th birthday. He died when he fell down a cliff in front of my eyes during a father-son hike. I’m not sharing this to get anyone’s sympathy – I am a lot stronger as a result, and have had the opportunity to help many people over the past 16  years come to terms with things going wrong in their lives. I am sharing this, because I know that trauma and a sense of loss are equally real when it comes to dealing with financial, relational and physical loss. I had a chance yesterday, and this morning to remind myself of the things, I had to do – just to remain sane, but also to find the strength to move forward after his death. Some of you have experienced a very sudden change in the life you had over the past days, not unlike other traumatic experiences. Our business didn’t escape this either. Although almost everyone is affected in one way or another, some people have it a whole lot worse than others. Besides the horrible effect of the virus in the bodies of those who are affected and have their immune systems compromised, the impact in the lives of families who have lost their parents, spouses, children, and friends – the financial impact is horrendous. I know some companies have completely gone out of business in a matter of days – leaving thousands of employees without the financial means to provide for their families. Many people have lost all their income, with no way or idea where to start over again. This has no doubt affected relationships all over – professional, friends and families... What I’m about to share with you, might be a bit higher up Maslow’s ladder of human needs for a listening ear, because people suddenly worry about the most basic of needs – survival. I get that, but I also know that to make the best possible decisions in this very moment one has to somehow get your mind out of the fearful “fight or flight” state. In the grip of fear we risk making decisions that would possibly help us in the moment, but only amplify the problem(s) we or our loved ones have in the long run – be it a risky loan, substance abuse, suicide or some form of criminal activity. Take a few deep breaths. And read the rest of the article to the end... I’m sure it will help!

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How Old Are You?

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? Satchel Paige

This is no regular question, and it got me thinking. You might be a lot younger OR older than you think…

When someone asks you how old you are, the natural thought or answer that comes to you is a number. This number is always the number of birthdays you had since your inception – the day you were born – also called your calendar age. The older I get, the more I realise the insignificance of this number. Since I started school, I was younger than my peers. My parents decided to send me to school before my 6th birthday – possibly because I was driving them crazy at home, but I choose to believe that they thought I was too clever NOT to be in school at the time. This resulted in me competing against the previous grades when it came to sports throughout my twelve years at school. I went to university younger than my peers, started my teaching career younger than my peers, and when I entered the corporate world I was appointed as the youngest staff trainer ever in the company. Today at the calendar age of 54, in most conversations I find myself, I still “feel” the youngest… all too regularly turning out to be the oldest.

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