Hi team, hope you all had a nice weekend.
As you heard, the government pushed back the “stay at home” phase from March 27th to May 1. So, we have at least another month. I realize working from home and being isolated from others may be challenging to some. Others may love this new reality. I hope that we all recognize that we have it good, close to loved ones, with food on the table and shelter over our heads. While Covid-19 represents one of the biggest challenges facing mankind, throughout history, people have undergone far greater challenges under far more challenging conditions. We’re being asked to work from home, keep our distance from others – perspective is key.
I want to also take the opportunity to commend you all. This was the week you all developed enormously as young professionals and gained a decade’s worth of experience and maturity. Well done. You are seeing this manifested across so many industries, where front line employees – be it in hospitals or at the grocery – serving society and keeping the economy rolling as we face a unique challenge. The Corona Virus is like an asteroid, zombie apocalypse, tsunami and war all at once.
It may have hit us suddenly, but we were warned about this; still, we were caught off guard. Every day, you see the impact spreading to more and more people – celebrities, politicians, athletes, loved ones. The full impact will be felt in waves and its an enemy that does not discriminate against people, nor does it recognize borders. Lenin said that war was the accelerator of events, indeed, what we will undergo in the next few months is change that would have occurred in the next decade. It’s surreal. But this is why you go into the Leadership Business. Life and history is about humans adapting to shocks and overcoming the challenges that come from it.
When I started my career, wanting to go into finance, we got hit with dot com bubble bursting, Nasdaq crashing… then 9/11 – all within the first year out being out of school. Added marks for being a Muslim-born Iranian trying to land job interviews after 19 Saudis crashed into the towers and the Pentagon! Adversity is the name of the game. You’ve heard me talk about persistence. Yes, persistence is everything. But the people who get to live to see the day to talk about persistence are those who were resilient.
Resilience eats persistence for lunch.
Just because we were lucky & fortunate to be spared directly at this moment from this asteroid does not mean that we will not be affected. Everyone will be. Anyone who paints too rosy a picture is unrealistic, but anyone who only sees doom and gloom has not truly learned from history. It’s not business as usual, you will likely see and hear things you don’t like; hence the war analogy.
As fear is temporary while greed is permanent, I hope that as a society we better appreciate the nurses and teachers who’ve long been under-valued, and de-emphasize greed, materialism, imperialism and selfishness. So, while easier said than done, instead of worrying about what this means to ourselves, we need to step up and think of how we can help others because the sooner those affected are back to work, the sooner we all prevail. But to help others, you have to be strong yourself.
In wanting to help, while our intentions may be good, we have to balance that with perception. The next period in humanity’s history – let alone the economy – is about compassion, humility and balancing optimism with empathy for those more affected. Late last year I took stock of the awesome accomplishments we as a team had throughout the 2010s to better appreciate my life. I feel like that was batting practice for Covid’s repercussions. Yes, it’s easy to get frustrated and depressed at a shrinking economy, tens of millions of unemployed people, and the sacrifices we will all have to make, but we owe it to others who are less fortunate and more affected to lead the way, and help build a foundation that will serve as the road to recovery.
Over the past few weeks, all of those who are blessed to lead have asked themselves what they can do to help their teams and organizations, but also others who are adversely affected. Many of you have joined WatchMojo when it was already a “success.” I now call on all of you to remember our statement of purpose – Here to Serve. Our vision to inform and entertain was supported by a Mission that evolved and reflected our own place in the world and our stature in the industry.
In this brave new world, let’s count our blessings, not take anything for granted, embrace change and understand that strength comes through adversity, and lead by helping others in these trying times.