If there is one thing I have learned in this season, it is that self-mastery or self-leadership is at the heart of how you respond to, live through, and survive the global pandemic. Something as simple as wearing a mask correctly makes the difference between preventing germs or spreading germs. Self-leadership is not a new term. Many leading authors such as Charles Manz, Peter Drucker, and Brian Tracey have been using this term for over three decades. Self-leadership as defined by Peter Drucker (2010) is “to serve as chief, captain, or CEO of one’s own life.”
The pandemic has thrust all of us to steer our ships to safety. Unlike Noah, perhaps we did not listen to the warning and so have been caught off guard in the sea on a boat not sure which direction it will head. The World Health Organization (WHO) briefings, which happen weekly, have been part of the anchor I base my daily decisions on. In a recent briefing, Dr. Maria Van Karkhove – WHO Technical Lead, COVID19, -advises us on each of our individual roles to ensure we all fight this pandemic. Dr. Karkhove advises that the pandemic “requires everyone playing their part. It requires strong leadership; it requires consistent messaging and people understanding what they need to do and what role they need to play. It requires following the advice of the governments, keeping your physical distancing, cleaning your hands, wearing a mask where appropriate, staying home if you are asked to…all of these measures contribute to fighting COVID-19.”These measures sound so simple until you walk out of your house and realize that not only are they difficult to follow but are understood by the masses in a multitude of ways. Who would have thought washing hands would need so many infomercials before we begin to discuss whether one should stand 1 or 1.5 meters away?
It is therefore upon each one of us to first master how to protect oneself before giving guidelines to others. This will help each one of us understand our global mandate. Thereafter by actions, one can begin to protect one’s household, neighbors, community, county, and the country at large. There is a sequence to fighting COVID19 at each of our individual levels. Wash your hands; Wear a mask; Practice social distancing; Stay at home unless necessary and above all cover yourself with prayer.
“Kufunga nchi haitasaidia. Serikali haiwezi kuwa kwa mlango wa kila mwananchi. Jukumu ni letu, kila moja wetu kuhakikisha amelinda maisha yake na Maisha ya wale ambao ni wapendwa wake” H.E Uhuru Kenyatta during a press briefing on 27 th July 2020.
Anne Njeri Njoroge wrote this article.