Where were you when the pandemic struck in 2020? I can recall where I was. I had just returned to work after being knocked down for a few days by what seemed like a stubborn cold. In retrospect, however, all my symptoms pointed to COVID-19 and it might have been that I contracted the virus without realizing it – let’s assume the cold was just stubborn.

Upon my return to work, all that was on my mind was how to catch up with the emails and pending requests that had taken over my inbox. And then, boom!! News began to filter in that there were confirmed cases of the dreaded COVID-19 in my county. An outbreak that seemed distant was now close to home and it felt surreal. As I was still attempting to grapple with the thought of what that might mean for me, my family and friends and the whole world in general, my phone began ringing ceaselessly. It was a call from my children’s school announcing that the school will be closed for a few days. Shortly after that, my office announced a temporary closure and everything seemed to have been going south simultaneously. My heart raced.

Each Day is a Gift

With most major commercial activities grounded, vacation plans forcefully canceled and no end to the lockdown in sight, each day at home with my children and husband felt like a gift. I began to understand how precious each moment is and the importance of maximizing the opportunity that each day presents.

Recognizing Opportunities in a Setback

One of the major goals I set each year is to host, The Power Woman Experience, an annual story-sharing event for business and professional women around the world to learn, connect, collaborate and network with one another.

As the outlook for in-person gatherings in appeared increasingly dimmer, I began to contemplate canceling the 2020 edition. Within a few days, I concluded it was best to cancel the event, “quietly” since I had no control over when the pandemic would end. However, my daughter kept asking about the progress I’d made with the planning and what I wanted her to assist me with. In my mind, I thought she was pulling my legs until the day she reminded me that we had three months left to plan. So, I decided to let her know of my decision to cancel PWE 2020. She was gobsmacked, to say the least, and she went on to share how I needed to recognize the opportunities that the year has presented to us despite the setback. Did I yield to her suggestion? Oh, no!

The Call That Made a Difference

Within a few days after my daughter advised me to proceed with my plans of hosting PWE 2020, I received a call from one of my kingdom sisters who wanted to know how far I had gone with the planning of the event. I repeated the same lines and excuses I offered to my daughter and she allowed me to complete my justification. “Are you done?”, she asked. “Yes, I’m done”, I responded. “We are planning PWE 2020 against all odds. This is an opportunity to make an impact on a broader scale and you should go for it”, she shared. Her words ran deep!

At the end of that call, I began to see the pandemic as a blessing rather than a setback. It was as though a lightbulb was switched on in my brain from that day forward. We discussed pivoting to a virtual event despite my being worried about my ability to deliver. Eventually, I decided to pray about and commit the event to God’s hands. That was how we pivoted PWE from an in-person to an online event in 2020. It turned out to be the most impactful event I’ve ever hosted as at then with several participants from around the world. To date, I still struggle to disremember that call – it made a difference.

Plans Fail for the Lack of Counsel

One of my favorite scriptures is found in Proverbs 15:22 which reads: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed. I would have lost an irrecoverable opportunity had I proceeded with my plans of canceling PWE 2020. Thankfully, I have people around me who want the best for me and are always looking for ways to help me serve my audience in a higher capacity. Hosting the event not only assisted me in developing new skills but also counted toward helping me fulfill my purpose. Each time I read feedback from attendees and those who keyed in are getting multiple returns from their investment, I’m in awe.

How Do You “See” the Glass?

How did you react to the pandemic? Were there days you felt like throwing in the towel because you had to kiss most, if not all of your plans, goodbye? I felt the same way, too! It took time for me to accept and implement the advice I always share with others. When people discuss their challenges, I always advise them to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. “This is the approach of a winner”, I’d normally assert. But when I found myself in a situation where I had no control, it was arduous for me to see the glass as half full. This attitude almost cost me the opportunity to continue making an impact despite the supposed setback. How do you see the glass?

Have You Done Your Part?

One of the reasons I can tell this story today is that after receiving counsel from those who wanted the best for me, I still did my part. The pandemic may be outside of my control, however, I had the chance to control how I react and the things I do. I’ve also learned that success is birthed from “doing” not from folding arms or giving up. Have you done your part? If you find yourself in an unpleasant or unexpected situation, rather than capitulating, think of ways you can still contribute your own quota and watch how God will show up for you. PWE 2020 looked impossible until I started reaching out to stakeholders who were ready to go above and beyond the call of duty. 

Ask for Help

One of my top takeaways from 2020 is remembering to ask for help. On a personal note, I saw the beauty in asking for help because I realized that most of the things we need in life are usually within close range. However, until we ask, we may not be able to access many of the resources we need to move to the next level.

Besides, God put people – old and young – in our lives for a purpose. The onus is therefore on us to build cordial relationships with others so that we have a solid support system we can ask to help us when we truly need it. When was the last time you asked for help? Always, remember that asking is the beginning of receiving. If you fail to ask, you’ll hardly receive.

Moving Forward

In moving forward, always recall that you may have limited to no control over what type of glass life places in your hands, however, you have control over how you choose to see the glass. You can see it as either half-full or half-empty. How you see the glass affects your psyche, your actions, and ultimately your results. Start seeing the glass as half-full today and watch how high you’d begin to soar!