COVID-19 Learnings: The Path to Happiness

By Guest Author: Hawwa Shaheena Mohamed

Few among the living might have witnessed the challenges of World War 2. For the majority of us, one of the most devastating things we experienced in our life was the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, killing more than 225,000 people across South and Southeast Asia . The tsunami and its aftermath were responsible for immense destruction and loss on the rim of the Indian Ocean. Today, however, the entire population of the world is much more devastated and choiceless, due to a micro virus that is spreading faster than the blink of an eye.

The World Health Organization WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020, due to pneumonia of an unknown cause, detected in late December in Wuhan, China. On February 11, 2020, WHO announced the name “COVID-19” for the new coronavirus disease. As of June 8, 2020, there have been 6,912,751 confirmed cases and 400,469 deaths due to this virus across the globe.

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Our beautiful country, The Maldives, recorded its first confirmed case on March 7, according to the Ministry of Health. The Maldives declared State of Public Health Emergency on March 12, 2020. Furthermore, the first case in Male’, the capital of Maldives, was confirmed on April 15, 2020, and as of June 8, 2020, it has recorded 1903 positive cases. Since the declaration of State of Public Health Emergency, the schools and mosques remain closed and minimal economic activities are carried out. With the confirmation of the first local case, the State of Curfew was announced across the Greater Male’ Area. The majority of us are locked down in our homes, except for the workers in national emergency response teams.

COVID-19 shook the whole world and took everyone’s peace of mind. Something not predicted, and definitely not something the people of the 21st century ever imagined. Without a doubt, a micro virus, that is invisible to the eyes – COVID-19, was able to put us into cages and gave us the time to reflect and think about our life: what is the purpose of us on the Earth, why do we face with challenges, why should we work, how should we work and what are the options available when it comes to true happiness? To share my learnings and experience, let me write a brief encounter of my life.

I was fortunate enough to discover my life purpose at the early age of 30 years. After 9 years of brutality, challenges and surviving, I became wide awake into the reality of life by the help of two books: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I learned one major lesson from each book:  I can live a successful life, only when I started taking 100% responsibility for whatever that happens in my life. Also, I can move forward, only if I stop worrying and start thinking about solutions. When it comes to solutions, the power of accepting the worst-case scenario. Therefore, with the learnings and a lot of prayers, I was able to end an unhappy marital relationship and move on.

After the rock bottom phase of my life, I got hold of two powerful books again: Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy and The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.  With the newfound learnings, I did a lot of soul searching exercises and created a master plan for my life.  For the last 10 years, all my actions were aligned to my life purpose and in accordance with the plan I created.

After resigning from my last job on December 26, 2018, I dedicated all my time and energy to develop a career as a Coach, Trainer and Public Speaker. I left the path that I was on for twenty whole years. I started my career as a junior banking staff at Bank of Maldives in 1998 and ended as the Business Development Manager at Centurion PLC. It was a career shift for me from an Accountant and Managerial staff to creating a business plan, developing a website, sales pitching, designing courses, training and getting on stages to speak to an audience.

To get started in the new field, I needed a new set of skills and qualifications. I felt my knowledge and skills in Accounting and an MBA was not enough to pursue a career in personal development and changing the lives of the majority. Therefore, I invested my time and resources in the following: The Art of Public Speaking – Cyrix College, Seminar on Directors Training – CMDA, Living Value Education Trainer – Living Values International, Certified Professional Coach – Team Coach International, Malaysia, Certified Executive and Team Coach – Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Singapore, Certified Trainer – City and Guilds, UK through DAASH Global, Sri Lanka and Certified Fitness Trainer – Institute of Fitness and Nutrition, Sri Lanka.

With the extensive knowledge and experience gained from the above programs, I started my journey as a coach, trainer and speaker. However, getting clients was a rough job because sales pitching was such a difficult aspect. Although I am good at talking to people and empowering them, I was afraid to make the sales calls and my business stood at a standstill. The fear of not doing it right made me lazy in my endeavor. I then enrolled with Titans Academy, India to sharpen my sales and marketing skills and get practical experience.

The moment I started getting sign-ups and started working with clients, I was forced to slow down due to the pandemic. The agreed projects got delayed and like everyone else, I am waiting for the silver line at the end of COVID-19. I enjoy the lockdown, not running from meetings and events and I am spending my time on learning and development. I am studying for a path of becoming a Front End Developer and doing several short courses on presentations skills.

Because of a firm belief and a growth mindset, I also invested in a 6-day online course, Certificate in Digital Entrepreneurship at TBS, Sri Lanka, and this course gave me a totally new perspective. The initial reason why I chose Coaching, Training and Public Speaking for my new career was to add value to other people’s lives and get financial freedom. However, this 6-day course made me realize the importance of creating a passive stream of income. A passive stream of income is filling your pockets even if you are not directly involved in the business. It means you don’t have to trade your time to earn. Successfully, establishing yourself in one of these streams would give you happiness because happiness is the result of having financial, time and mental freedom.

This course made me think a lot about the current work setting in the Maldives. The Maldives was the favourite destination for over 1.7 million tourists in 2019. Tourism – the “goose that laid the golden egg” to our economy- stopped breathing. More than half of our working population were engaged in serving the tourists in different resorts and related fields. However, with the wave of COVID-19 pandemic, these employees were locked down and sent home without pay for several months.

Businesses, with more than a million rufiyaa on monthly recurrent expenditure, are simply shut down without any means to roll a single coin into their account. The medium and small scale businesses are at the verge of bankruptcy. While several people are struggling to meet ends, a considerable number of people who are living in Male’, on monthly rental accommodation, are forced to leave their homes of the last 10 to 15 years and find shelter in their parents’ old home. Our peoples’ lives were so much dependent on the paycheck at the end of each month and we all are suffering vigorously.

I believe this creates an urgent call of action towards changing our perspective about working. When it comes to a passive stream of income, the concept that comes to the majority of peoples’ mind is real estate. But how many of us, have really saved for a “rainy day”, keeping aside real estate. Is going for a bank loan and investing in real estate the solution for most of us? I believe this is a good time to explore the models developed and operated by network marketing or multi-level marketing companies such as Amway, Mary Kay or QNET. Each model may have its pros and cons. But wise is the one who develops on the positives. Today I leave you with 2 quotes from prominent figures of the world for you all to ponder upon:

  1. “If I would be given a chance to start all over again, I would choose Network Marketing,” said Bill Gates, the American Business Magnet and Philanthropist.
  2. “Network Marketing gives people the opportunity with very low risk and very low financial commitment, to build their own income-generating asset, and acquire great wealth. It has the potential to save the United States and the world because it teaches people not to be employees, but to be entrepreneurs.” said Robert Kiyosaki, Best Selling Author and Financial Literacy Expert.
Pictured: CEO of Career Vitamin International Pvt ltd Hawwa Shaheena Mohamed

About the Author: Hawwa Shaheena Mohamed is a Certified Executive, Team & Life Coach, Corporate, and a Living Value Education trainer. Currently, she is developing her business as the CEO of Career Vitamin International Pvt ltd and contributing to society through the Career Vitamin Society.

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