“A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind”. The corona crisis, once again, confirmed to me the truth of this Chinese proverb. The Covid-19 pandemic has knocked on my door no less than three times in person. The first time, it surprised me like virtually everyone else in the world, with the unexpected attack on the health of millions of people worldwide and grinding to a halt of the entire global economy. The second time, I had the fright of my life after an unfortunate fall down the stairs. Anyone who knows me a little, knows that with a lot of surgeries on my knee, I am always triple alert to protect my legs. The third time as general manager of Eurapco, which as an internationally operating organisation, had to completely reinvent itself to remain in real contact with all stakeholders, inside and outside Europe, without travel and physical contact.

Resilience

The impact of Covid-19 on everything and everyone is huge. If I have learned anything from it, it is that we, as human beings, have tremendous creative power. We can do a lot more than we think. The most common way we give away our power is by thinking we don’t have this power. As long as you believe in yourself, you can make the impossible possible.

You might imagine my fear of losing my leg and not being able to walk anymore. If because of social distancing, you choose not to take the elevator but use the stairs and then, you unexpectedly fall down because of a badly fitting face mask, you start worrying a lot, especially after noticing that you not only have a dislocated shoulder, but also that there is something very wrong with your vulnerable leg.

With my severely injured leg, I physically could not do anything. Right through the painful and emotional state, however, I managed to stay clear. Of course, a thousand and one thoughts ran through my head. How can I continue? What is next? What does this mean? Could my leg ever become stable again? But beyond all these thoughts, I managed to keep my cool. As difficult as the situation is, it is important to tap into our resilience and keep looking forward. There’s always a way. To find it, you will often have to think outside the box. If we always think and act as we have always done, we won’t be able to find new solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.

Intuitive leadership

Lying on the floor in pain, I was sure I had to get home first. Better at home than in a hospital with no expertise on the complex situation of my leg. At home, I was professionally supervised by a specialist with the best knowledge to meet my specific health needs. A week later, I was in a specialised hospital in St. Moritz. But even then, I had to stay close to myself. Protocols are important, but they are not flawless. If you do not stay alert about your own body, bad things can happen. So, I woke up after a surgery with an indeterminate feeling. I felt something was wrong with the wound. Although the protocol didn’t allow the doctor to remove the bandages so quickly, I urged the nurse to remove the bandages anyway and it quickly became clear that the wound was bleeding badly. My action allowed it to be quickly fixed. Once again, I have experienced the power of my intuition, of ‘directly knowing’ within myself. In our society we have great respect, and rightly so, for our great thinkers, but it is also time to appreciate the ‘great feelers’ of our time. If the head and heart are in harmony with each other, we are capable of almost anything. That’s what I call intuitive leadership.

From caterpillar to butterfly

Covid-19 has also brought Eurapco into an accelerated process of transformation. In a short time, my team managed to convert ‘business-as-usual’ into ‘business-as-it-could-be’. I am so proud of all the people! We had to learn to reconnect. Our courses have been digitised, while maintaining the ‘warmth’, ‘energy’ and ‘surprise effects’ that are so often lacking in the usual digital world. I didn’t just want to go digital. The ‘human’ and ‘authenticity’ of contacts had to be preserved. And it worked through the creative thinking and actions of a dedicated team.  Everyone in the team has used his or her own talents and insights. Everyone was a piece of the jigsaw of the total solution.

Beyond the ego

The pain of the corona crisis, both personal and business-like, has once again let me experience the power of human potential. Being resilient allowed me to draw from my strengths to keep moving forward. As uncertain or complicated as a situation can be, we are capable of much.  In that sense, we are like the flowing mountain stream. In the current, the water always knows how to find a new path in a powerful and flexible way. When there is a blockade, it looks for a way around it. As far as I am concerned, corona has opened the beginning of a new era, a time when everyone is invited to build on the renewal of the economy in a more human sustainable and ethical way. It is time to explore new paths together. Just like the author of the autobiography below in five chapters, I wish you that new path!

 

I aim to create a vlog to answer all your comments as a way to get closer to all of you. Please leave your questions or answers in the comments below.

 


 

Autobiography in five chapters

1

I’m walking down a street.

There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I’m falling in.

I’m lost… I’m distraught.

It’s not my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

2

I’m walking down the same street.

There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend that I don’t see it.

I’m falling in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it’s not my fault.

It’s going to be a long time before I get out.

3

I’m walking down the same street.

There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it’s there.

I fall into it again… It’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It’s my fault.

I’ll get out right away.

4

I walk down the same street.

There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

5

I’m walking down another street.

Source: Nelson, P., quoted in Charles L. Whithfield, M.D., Healing The Child Within, FL Health Communications,

Orlando 1989

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