Witnessing the migration of the Serengeti’s wildebeest is an unforgettable experience. There is something intoxicating about watching the age-old ritual. Long after the dust has settled and the excitement and angst have calmed, I found myself thinking about it, finding similarities between these frantic moments of herds crossing the crocodile infested river and our own everyday fight for survival.
Here are some of my thoughts.
Hiding in die murky waters, crocodiles are a great synonym for the crises and challenges in both everyday life and business. You know that they are there, but they are hard to predict and difficult to prepare for. It is easier to prepare for challenges like slippery slopes, deep water and kicking companions, but the lurking crocodile is a different animal… You don’t know when it will come, where it will hit you, how big and strong it will be. Who saw Covid coming?!
While the migration confirms that life is unpredictable, it also has a pattern according to which it happens. (See a great example with a moving map) The cycle of life is not only relevant on the savannas, it also applies in business and life. Experience is a determining factor for success. Even though the season – whether it is about rainfall, the specific time of your life, or the current challenges in business – might influence your behaviour, there are rules and guidelines and best practice that you’ve learned from experience that can guide you through.
- Strength in numbers
The fact that most of the herd made it across the river might not be of any comfort to the ones who didn’t but your chances stay better when you are not the sole swimmer among the hungry crocs. Covid has taught us the value of having a good support structure. Even though we might be able to cope on our own, having the support of family, friends and colleagues does not only make things easier, it makes it nicer.
Even when you are supported by a caring group, some things are still up to you. You are the one who will be taking the plunge. To be successful, you need to empower yourself. Then you will have the necessary confidence and courage. While the group might be supportive, remember that the group is not always right. Think for yourself. When the crossing gets frantic, stay level headed, keep facts and experience in mind and move ahead.
Often, in the heat of the moment, our carefully planned strategy goes to bits. When those herds gather on the river banks, it is hard to see any method in the madness. It is so easy to lose your way in moments of panic and confusion. I think, the goal is to not get panicky. Have a good plan, one with flexibility and then be confident. Hesitation can be your downfall in these moments.
We’re all motivated by survival. While life happens around us, we need to survive and find a way to live and enjoy our lives. Motivation alone might not be enough, but survival is a very good reason to stay in the fight.
While the unpredictable crocodiles will always be there, my takeaway from the migration in the Serengeti- other than being in awe of nature and entertained by the spectacle – is really just a reminder to stick to the basics. Value your experience, have a thorough strategy, be confident in yourself, but surround yourself with proper support.