When Man Makes Plans, God Laughs
By Murtaza Versi ~ Founder & CEO of Noesis Strategic Institute on 09 May 2020Personal Journey
At seventeen years old, I was on track to complete high school and go off to university. I was ecstatic about my future and my life. I had my whole life plan laid out; university, graduation, a high-paying job, start my family and grow an empire. The world was my oyster. Then, unexpectedly, I lost my father.
My life took a major detour. I waved bye-bye to my university and life plans as I had to fill in my father shoes, caring for my mother first. Needless to say I felt vulnerable, exposed and let down. I needed guidance, someone to tell me what the right thing to do was. The weight of the world was on my shoulders and I didn’t know where to start. Murtaza Versi: 17 years young, trying to keep everything including himself afloat.
But life threw me a life jacket; an airline company I had interned for offered me a fulltime job. One I did eagerly and vibrantly. 2 years later, a competitor gave me an even better offer and that was the beginning of my leadership journey and character development. Today, I know my 17 y/o self would be proud of who we’ve become.
Like many voyages, ships experience many seasons, storms and winds. They also provide shelter from the sun, safety from drowning and shelter from the hot sun. Today the ship is our world and the storm is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we face. Our Captains (nurses, doctors, etc.) are working diligently to safely navigate this storm. We, the crew on board, are patching up the damage sustained and manning all the necessary stations to make sure we stay afloat. It is a storm unlike any we’ve experienced. All the people (regardless of age, gender, race etc.) are united for the better to support and survive together. Like young Versi, ‘abandon ship’ is not an option and every day we learn and relearn who we are and our potential to step up and lead those who depend on and look up to us to safety.
So what are we seeing? As much as they are known unknowns and unknown unknowns – there are also known knowns: constants in our control that we need to focus on and can nurture while the storm rages and settles around us. A place to start in getting some order and it all begins with you:
1. The Relationships We Have:
· When a plane is going down, the instructions are to put on your own oxygen mask first and then assist your fellow passengers. Take this time to look at and nurture your relationship with yourself; body, mind and spirit. The better you care for you, the better you are able to service others.
· Nurture relationships that will help get through these times and help you get back on your feet when the time comes i.e. close relations and external stakeholders (like banks, community members etc.).
2. Staying Engaged:
We are very privileged to be alive, healthy and on the internet. There are many living in fear and lacking basic needs. Look around the community and engage with others by sharing in their woes and responding accordingly. Be present, mindful and find ways to show that you are reliable and resourceful in presenting solutions to keep everyone safe and productive e.g. making sure your child is studying uninterrupted, managing team cohesiveness and work flow from a distance or donating to a family in need. Keep in mind;
- We’re one in this crisis.
- The fight is ours regardless of gender, age, race, religion, culture etc.
- People will always remember how you made them feel so make them feel good.
3. Performing Consistently:
Don’t chase perfection i.e. the right things to say and do, to behave. The current situation is unprecedented and one we simply didn’t plan for. But we are resilient and we will survive this. Choose consistency every day however imperfectly;
- Be hopeful consistently,
- Be grateful consistently,
- Get something done consistently,
- Show up consistently,
- Be present consistently,
- Listen consistently,
- Perform consistently.
Happy sailing and hopefully smooth sailing in the near future!
By Murtaza Versi ~ Founder & CEO of Noesis Strategic Institute