If ever there was a time to be at your best, it is now.

Life is tough at the moment and it is swinging punches at us with a fury like never before.  We can curl up and be pummeled or bring our “A” game and start punching back.  Of course, I mean this figuratively speaking.  The point being, almost everyone on Earth is being impacted by Covid-19 and life has changed.  How we respond is what we all must choose.  I choose to bring my best. 

It’s not that easy

It was very easy to type those words, “I choose to bring my best”.  It is much harder to actually do it, especially when the world seems restrictive, punitive and just plain unfair.  Yet, although this coronavirus pandemic is on a scale the world has never seen, this is not the first-time people have lived through massive difficulties.

A.B. Facey’s “A Fortunate Life”

I recently re-read “A Fortunate Life”, a book written by a man (A.B. Facey) whose life seems like it was long ago, yet both of us were living here in Australia during the 70’s and 80’s.  His life story is a terrific tale of someone who endured the harshest of times, yet said “I have lived a very good life, it has been very rich and full.  I have been very fortunate and I am thrilled by it when I look back.”  This was a man who was born into poverty in Australia in the 1890’s.  He had very little relationship with his mother after she all but gave him up, he had little formal schooling, he had to fend for himself as a teenage boy working in remote Western Australia (and was beaten severely by an employer), he went to Gallipoli and suffered terrible loss and personal injuries (that impacted his working life upon returning home), he lived through the Great Depression, he lost two sons in the World War II, and he saw the passing of his beloved wife after nearly 60 years of marriage.

Reading this book gave me perspective and reminded me to not only be present, here and now, but to look forward to the future and make the most of every opportunity.  This period of Covid-19 will pass and someone in the future will read about it and be thankful for the lessons learned.

Tips to bring your “A-Game” now

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been fortunate to witness many of my work colleagues bringing their A-Game.  Here’s what I observed:

  1. Recognise the moment – Innovation, creativity and survival instincts kick in during times of crisis.  There is no better evidence than my colleague, Optimum’s very own Guru of Ideas, who has worked with his team around the clock over the past few months to develop and deliver Optimum’s latest online product to help job seekers differentiate themselves at this time of need, Fllair. 
  2. Try new things – Four of our newest staff have really impressed me during this period.  All four have asked how they can add value and do more to help our company.  Their selfless attitude and eagerness to learn new skills and apply them have inspired me. 
  3. Help others – As Ken Blanchard states, “none of us is as smart as all of us”.  It is through helping others, that we can achieve more to solve the problems we need solved.  One of my experienced staff shared her insights with our newest team member a few days ago, to help overcome an obstacle.  It was brilliant to not only see a solution, but both parties got a real buzz from the exchange.   
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  • Get competitive – My boss has been the best example of this over the past few months.  His determination and sheer will to keep our business going and keep as many of us employed as possible, has epitomized the concept of above and beyond. 

Looking forward

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover”.

Mark Twain

Like many of you reading this, I can’t wait for this pandemic to pass and for life to resume to a new normal.  I’m sure things will be different and in many-ways better.  But for now, it is what it is and I will aim to bring my A-game to everything I do.  I’ve no doubt I’ll make loads of mistakes and fail along the way, but this quote from NBA basketball legend Michael Jordan is one I must remember.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Ben Walsh

Ben is General Manager – Recruitment at Optimum Consulting Group, an Australian employment advisory firm.  He has been actively recruiting and managing teams for twenty years, with industry experience gained in Australia, Canada and Ireland.

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