‘Optimism is true moral courage’. So quipped Ernest Shackleton, explorer extraordinaire of the early 20th century. Is this what we must all heed in order to survive Covid-19 impacts?
Shackleton is famed for remaining optimistic against momentous odds when stranded in his exploration of the Antarctic region that started out in early 1915. His ship was caught and crushed by pack ice, so Shackleton and his crew camped on an ice island for months, whilst they were presumed lost as sea.
Long dangerous journeys on life boats and survival rations got the crew to a deserted island and then just five of them carried on to get help at another island, 750 miles away. Unbelievably, after more than 18 months of endurance and struggle in the most adverse conditions, Shackleton prevailed. He eventually managed to rescue all of his crew back into safety. It is an epic story beyond imagination
Shackleton is hailed as a great leader of men. For him, maintaining a positive mental state and uplifting the morale of his crew was paramount. In this way he inspired his men to deal with seemingly impossible situations.
At Manawa Honey, we know that with COVID-19, things will never be the same again, and it’s daunting. Like many, we’ve been thinking about what will be the new ‘normal’ as we all adapt to the impacts of Covid-19. Not just for our honey business but for our whanau (families), for our community, for our country, indeed for the world.
I was reading an article the other day that suggested the ‘normal’ for businesses could be ‘slower growth, widening inequality, bloated government bureaucracies, and rigid borders’. Or it could be ‘a burst of innovation and productivity, more resilient industries, smarter government and emergence of a reconnected world’. At Manawa Honey we’re working to be part of the latter.
We’re fairly optimistic, despite some of the negative signs for business out there. So we’re striving to do business, through lockdown and into the future. And we’re inspired with how lots of Kiwi businesses, like many across the world, have pivoted to keep going in such tough times.
One of the key drivers for us to set up Manawa Honey some years ago was to create meaningful jobs for our people. For us, this was a way to cut dependence on government or iwi (tribal) hand-outs and to fulfil our potential in a modern world.
It’s these aspirations that spur us on with the determination and grit that got us to where we were before COVID-19. The world has been blind-sided by this pandemic, but we can all draw on Shackleton’s wisdom at this time – optimism, to keep our minds clear to find ways forward; and courage, to pitch ourselves against seemingly insurmountable challenges. So to all out there, across the world: Kia kaha! Kia maia! (Be strong! Be courageous!)
Brenda Tahi, CEO Manawa Honey NZ