A Pandemic Reality – From Fairytales to Her WILL Stories
A Pandemic Reality – Struggles and Noise
Humanity itself is going through the toughest struggles of its time. Those of us who are fortunate enough to stay home, spend newly-found quality time with family, and “Zoom” our days away with work calls, probably don’t realize what a bubble we are currently in. No need to be acclaimed Economists or be nose-down in academic journals to predict that the world is swiftly heading toward the greatest economic collapse of our lifetime.
From a personal vantage point, the situation in my industry – the commercial aviation, is no longer news but an established lost cause – especially after Warren Buffet’s epic sell-off of all airline stocks. Our company is currently flying at a 7% capacity with an average of 17 people on board. Over 50% of our employees decided to take unpaid Leaves of Absences for over a year, with many others awaiting a very uncertain future. All associated businesses around the airlines are forced to shut down. Every single industry is more or less impacted.
COVID-19 is no joke. It’s a fight between a virus and our livelihood. Which one do we choose? My day starts with horrible news from around the world, continues into real conversations with internal and external colleagues, then progresses into COVID deaths in Bangladesh and here. Gradually, friends of friends and families are getting hit with the circle closing in. Whether or not we die from it, we will surely be affected by it. All predictive models are screaming at us to pay attention.
As a respite from this harsh reality – my passion work Her WILL Facebook Group – was supposed to give me the serenity I was searching for. The workload is immense, and the road ahead is long. But to my utter dismay and complete surprise, sometimes Her WILL related unnecessary noise gets exhaustingly distracting. The irony is, on a platform of ~20k high achieving and high potential women, the negativity comes from a minuscule percentage of the population. My question is when we are trying to build an institution for changing the overall view of women smashing all things unequal in the midst of a serious crisis, who has this time for all this?
Meaningless questions, personal attacks, unproductive circular conversations, complete unprofessionalism – were becoming my daily realities. I used to take them seriously at first, trying to explain my thinking, giving them details of my work style, but then realized that these people clearly did not share the same values. This group is already full of women who are selflessly working to help others without any personal agenda. Social Psychologists are proving over and over again that negativity sticks with us way more than positivity. So, keeping that in mind constantly, I am using these uninvited behaviors to help me understand dark human psychology and make me stronger to fight against it. I am not spoiled enough to think this is any kind of real struggle, but I have considered this noise from the beginning and have learned how to tackle it. I only wish that our combined energy could have been channeled into something more positive. But again – it’s only noise, as loud as they try to be – we cover our ears to keep moving.
From Fairytales to Her WILL stories
True success is a long shot and at this rate, it will probably be stained with my blood. But here is what keeps me going – since I am not here for fame or fortune, I am happy with the little incremental achievements we are making.
I don’t know what we are doing here is so extraordinary that some people are desperately trying to get their skins in the game now. I wonder if our success in their eyes is only measured by numbers. If not, would they have tried so hard to be a part of this? Highly doubt it. Even with a much smaller group, would I have thought we were making a difference? Heck YES.
Want to know what keeps me burning? It’s EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU. Your posts, your panel discussions, your debates, hundreds of ideas, constructive feedback, and accolades in my inbox, your requests for partnerships, your devotion to our mission – the list is never-ending but some are worth mentioning….
· When I see super-talented women who sacrificed their own dreams to take care of their families for decades, now expressing beautiful soul searching intellectual thoughts, I get goosebumps.
· When I see brilliant physicians jump to answer even the smallest medical questions, I bow down in humility.
· When I see an angelic woman find someone from Her WILL and help her with fundraising for sex-workers and the transgender community, I too want to sell all my worldly possessions and join her mission.
· When I see a panel-discussion inspired by Her WILL, and organized by a highly competent woman, and presented by brilliant panelists, I feel grateful.
· When I see topics like domestic violence, mental health, Fibromyalgia, etc. get the attention they need, they make me want to stretch my day to 48 hours.
· When I see the shiest women on the planet – who struggled with their own identities, painful pasts all their lives – pour their hearts out, I want to hug them in adoration.
· When I see the tuition of a whole semester is paid for a brilliant and beautiful girl by an equally beautiful person, my heart wants to borrow her goodness.
· When I see one of the most brilliant girls I’ve met in a long time put together a complicated Machine Learning competition, I literally lose sleep in excitement.
· And finally, when I see our team of amazingly strong and empowered women work nonstop without any hope for personal gain and ask for my mentorship, I feel like praying for their lifelong prosperity and happiness.
My success – Yours, Yours and Yours – OUR successes are coming together. Slowly and methodically without making a fuss or screaming for the limelight. We are making a dent here and there, one woman at a time. Trust me. They are so beautiful and moving that they help me filter out my daily meaningless noise and keep me steadfast on my path.
One Her WILL friend once commented, “I no longer read fairytales to my daughter. I read her the stories of Her WILL women”.
And those are your stories. Think about it for a mere second.