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When everything is uncertain, be the best you can be

With his immediate family separated from him by a travel ban, our Group Sales Ops Manager, Tommy Murphy, is doing what he can to improve himself and help others.

With his immediate family separated from him by a travel ban, our Group Sales Ops Manager, Tommy Murphy, is doing what he can to improve himself and help others.

This year will feel longer than a year. The chapter “2020” will be a lengthy one in the history books that chronicle the 21st century. It’s only April and, already, we’ve had bushfires rip through Australia, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and we’ve lost country music star Kenny Rogers.

With the media noise compelling us to focus on the crises of the day, it is very easy to lose sight of what this pandemic is — a major global event that has flung us into an uncertain era. 

Over the past 100 years, the human race has faced this same uncertainty before. 

World War II — when humanity made its best attempt at wiping itself out.

The Cuban Missile Crisis — when the global political situation was so tense, and we’d become so advanced, that annihilation was a few button pushes away.

The 9/11 attacks — when acts of hatred and terror fundamentally shifted the priorities of the world, and led to more acts of hatred and terror.

The human impact is always most important, but in uncertain times, our minds also turn to the economic outlook. The outcome of the pandemic is not known and to try and forecast anything at this point is an exercise in futility if ever I heard of one. 

What we can do, however, is control how we individually react to the situation. Everyone across the globe is in the same position, so we must remember that in our day-to-day life at home and at work — which have now become so intertwined. 

Here’s what that means to me: show empathy, show compassion and show support to everyone you speak to — customers and colleagues alike.

As a sales professional, a competitive person and an advocate of mental wellbeing, I have quite a few mantras that keep me going through the highs and lows of life. But this quote from legendary NFL coach, Chuck Noll is the one I’ve been repeating the most recently:

“Champions are champions, not because they do extraordinary things, but because they do ordinary things better than anyone else.”

To be a champion at anything, you need to be the best. But why I like this particular take on it is because, in essence, anyone can be the best. You just need the persistence and drive to be the best version of you, every single day.

For the sake of your colleagues, be the best teammate. Our entire team has become even closer and more supportive of each other than ever before.

For the sake of your customers, be the best partner. We recently got in touch with all of our clients to work through ways we can help them out at this time, particularly those in the events space who are most affected. That meant reaching out to those most likely to be affected by COVID-19 and doing things such as:

  • proactively offering to rearrange their advertising activity to later in the year
  • adding extra digital activity as a show of commitment and support to our partnership
  • advising on ways to help turn what would have been a face-to-face event into a virtual OnDemand platform

For the sake of your family and friends, be the best person. My immediate family is 17,500 km away from me in Ireland. I am not thinking about “social distancing” right now; I am focusing on social cohesion. My little brother was a pain in my backside growing up, but every day now we are sending funny jokes and videos to each other to keep our spirits up.

Confession: I hate the term social distancing. For me, it connotes some not-too-distant dystopian future where people no longer shake hands to greet each other, or embrace each other in times of hardship, all out of a lingering irrational fear of something that is no longer with us.

I much prefer the term physical distancing. Right now, there is a virus going around globally and, although it’s important to be physically distant from one another, we must also be more socially united than ever before.

Unlike the three examples I used earlier, this uncertainty humanity faces did not arise from nations fighting each other, nor was it born from factional hatred. For many of us, for the first time in our lives, the threat we face is not man-made. It is an indiscriminate spectre that has inadvertently caused all the nations of the world to band together to fight it. There are reasons for hope in all this.

With no planes in the air and fewer commuters around the world everyday, the environmental benefits are already starting to be seen. In Europe, for example, dolphins have returned to shores previously occupied by huge ferries.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it now, one day this crisis will be over. But, right now, I know that as a community — as a family — if we all put our shoulder to the wheel and strive to be the best we can be, we will come out the other side stronger, more resilient and better connected than we were in the year 1 B.C-19.

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Pharmaceutical Society of Australia