2022 has been a tough year for many of us. It is perhaps hard to remember that at the end of 2021, we thought that Covid was over, the world was getting back to normalcy and that 2022 would be a year of hope and recovery.
Twelve months on, not only has 2022 been a year of almost imaginable shocks – Russia invades Ukraine, there is a genuine possibility of tactical nuclear weapons being launched, we are on our third Prime Minster of the year, and the previous one (who lasted six weeks) launched an economic policy that immediately cost the UK £30 billion (thirty billion pounds!) in additional costs due to the response of the global financial markets.
We have the genuine threat of winter blackouts due to the geo-strategic use of Russian gas supplies as a weapon, inflation is above 10 per cent, and food and fuel poverty are a reality for a significant part of the population.
It would be easy to descend into despair, and I imagine that many of us have had periods when the stresses of the current situation have seemed overwhelming. But if there is one thing I can be certain of, if you are reading this, it is that you are in some way involved in security, risk, crisis management, emergency response, business continuity or some other aspect of this wonderful sector that we are all part of. And that means that even in the darkest hour, deep in our hearts we believe that we can make a difference.
So, what do we (and our leaders) do now? The first thing is – take it seriously! This is real, and you need to pay attention. Every day gone is a day lost, and time is one resource we can’t afford to waste. The second, is breathe in, breathe out, take a moment to centre yourself, and then feel your power come back. The stresses that we are all under (and I absolutely include myself in that group) mean that we can feel as though our power has been drained away. Make the decision that however bad it might be (or at least, it might seem) – that is the worst it is going to get because you are going to start to make some decisions. It doesn’t matter what the decision is, but as US Navy Admiral William Craven said in a Commencement Address to University of Austin students, which went viral on YouTube, ‘If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed‘.
Utilise your networks, and be a good neighbour. However bad it is, you will feel better by helping others who are suffering alongside you. Talk to people. Talking makes things better.
And if it gets bad that there are no other choices – give me call. I have had a group of people around me over the last three years and the calls that I have had with them, when we have ranted against the world (and the stupidity of our elders that got us here in the first place) is one of the things that got me through those bad times.
There is no doubt that this too will pass – but in the meantime, stay strong, recognise when you’re near breaking point – and do something about it before you reach your limit.