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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

How to be useful in a crisis [Wise Wednesdays!]

A friend asked me recently whether I’d been called back to the frontline as a doctor, since coronavirus struck.

When I explored that a little, she confessed to being concerned that she wasn’t doing enough, working from home. She felt cut off from the action – which was unusual for her as a business leader. Was there away she could be more useful to society? Perhaps she should volunteer somewhere?…

I asked her to pause.

At a time where PPE is limited, and only 12% of hospital doctors and 2% of GPs feel adequately protected against COVID-19, working at the frontline is heroic.

I’ve worked in emergency departments, intensive care units, epidemics and the last pandemic. It’s satisfying and it’s not for the faint of heart.

And while there is no single answer, I do believe one thing:

Everyone has a role to play.

The confusion comes from wanting to play someone else’s role.

But that role’s already taken. So you might as well play your own…

…whether it’s getting out there or looking after your family and stopping transmission. Self-care is a social and political act in itself.

As African-American civil rights activist, Howard Thurman put it: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

We’re all playing a part in different ways. And the effects ripple.

Right now, I serve those who are at the frontline - the doctors manning the wards and making life and death decisions. Legend in the making Dr R and I worked through how to manage her understandable anxiety over the lack of PPE when in contact with patients while helping her renegotiate boundaries and remote working for clinics and other duties that don’t need her in the hospital.

Many of my clients also support those at the frontline themselves and those who are making decisions about the future of society.

  • Jasmine is implementing a mental health support programme with a TV doctor while supporting businesses to come online;

  • Ysabel is coaching parents to home school and stay cool;

  • Fahad is finding ways to look after his employees while starting a conversation on future disaster resilience in his country;

  • Gareth is working with entrepreneurs on ventilator supply; and

  • Alicia is designing the future of work with her research team.

We’re committed to the vision we’ve been given.

Why? Because that’s the vision we’ve been given. And being true to that makes us “come alive”, which is a sign that you’re on the right track and playing the right role.

What makes you come alive? Can you spend 2% more of your time on that?

I need your help

I’m creating new material for these challenging times and I want to make sure that it serves you in the best way. If you could give me 5 minutes of your time to complete a few questions, I would be very grateful. Click here to fill out the questionnaire:

Please, fill it out before Thursday 16th at midnight.

As a thank you, I’ll offer a one-to-one Career Turnaround coaching session to one winner selected randomly.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Stay safe,


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