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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?”

The world (my world too) has never been more uncertain. Feeling scared is a natural reaction in any living being when it’s survival is threatened. In South Africa (as in several other countries), we are under a national “Lock Down” for a period of 21 days. With the exception of specific essential services, NO-ONE is allowed outside of his/her home. The police and defence force are arresting people by the numbers who fail to comply. It’s like living in a “movie” – but unfortunately it’s real. Companies big and small were forced to close their doors for business, or postpone services for the time being. Many people have lost their total income. And although the lock down is for a period of 21 days, the possibility has been mentioned that it could be for longer, and the ramifications will last indefinitely. I am also very aware that many people for different reasons are not with their families – some are stuck in another place, some possibly infected - quarantined and/or hospitalised. Some possibly because of unresolved family issues, were separated by the time the lock down started. I just felt like sharing a few simple thoughts that might help with feelings of anxiousness:

  1. Write down the things in your mind that cause your anxiety - on a piece of paper, note pad or tablet. Make it visual.

  2. Identify the things that are under your control, and the things you can’t do anything about (even if it’s just for the time being).

  3. Prioritise the things on the list that you can do something about. Determine which things are most important and will impact your life where it really matters.

  4. Start working this list. Do everything to change the things that need to change. Don’t procrastinate. Do them now e.g.

    • Contact the debtors and creditors – make arrangements.

    • Contact the clients that need to be informed about interim arrangements or to manage expectations – be proactive.

    • Have that talk with your spouse, sibling, friend or your child. Even if it means a telephone- or video call. Ask for, or share forgiveness. Apologise.

    • Ask for help

  5. LET GO of the things in the future that you have no control over. If you can pray, pray. Breath, breath again and let it be. Focus your attention on the list above.

  6. Change the "What if's" to "Even if". Despite of ... Yet I will ... This is where we consciously find and focus on the things that we can be thankful for. Health, people, circumstances. Focus NOT on the things that you don’t have, but be content, and grateful for what you DO have. Maybe gather your family around you and help each other to recall/list the things you can be thankful for.

  7. I have found that with all the extra time at hand, some (I sometimes do) start thinking about personal failures in the past. Others get stuck on things people have done TO them - unfairly; things that did them harm. Today I want to share with you three words will revolutionize your life. It has, and will continue to set me free in the days and years to come: "GET OVER IT!", and move on.

    • “He broke my trust!” - Get over it!

    • “I lost a huge sum of money!” – Get over it!

    • “I didn’t get that position!” – Get over it!

    • “We are forced to stay at home!” – Get over it!

Last thoughts...

This is also an opportunity for self-reflection. I am available for the next 21days. As I make time to reflect on the things that are not working in my own life, and how to change for the better. I want to invite all of you to invest in yourself, and in the relationships that really matter to you. We are blessed with technology that make it possible for people to connect remotely, and have meaningful conversations. I find the ZOOM APP extremely effective to have one-on-one or even group meetings, share information and do coaching. If you have a need for personal or leadership coaching, feel free to contact me to find out more or to make an appointment.

I look forward to connecting with you, again.

Warm regards
Stefan Lessing