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"Most battles are fought in the human mind"

Leadership in the face of real adversity

I think that everywhere people are realising that we will all have to work together to get through the unprecedented situation we suddenly find ourselves in. And, despite the very challenging circumstances, we are seeing inspiring leadership coming through from all corners of the globe.

A fantastic example of such leadership comes from Mr Ajeet Bajaj from Snow Leopard Adventures in India. As well as being an entrepreneur who runs a great inbound travel company, Ajeet is a mountaineer and adventurer and he draws parallels with some of the challenging times he has experienced on mountains. He sent us the following practical advice on how to stay calm and remain positive in the face of real adversity.

Many of us may be feeling we’re in a similar position right now, so you might find this helpful (watch the video below too for a sense of how most of the industry might be feeling right now).

Ajeet writes:

Storm at 8,000 metres on Mount Everest

The Covid-19 pandemic is like the storm my daughter Deeya and I faced on the north side of Mount Everest on May 14, 2018. We were climbing in the so called ‘death zone’ at about 8,000 metres when the weather deteriorated suddenly. The temperature dropped to -50 degrees Celsius with the windchill and it became a battle for survival. While I was a nervous father, watching my daughter climb steadily and strongly through the storm, gave me strength and determination. We were 200 metres short of Camp 2 and could not turn back, give up or stop!

A few learnings that could help us all survive this pandemic storm in our lives:

  1. Stay calm and do not panic. Deeya and I kept encouraging each other with small gestures like fist bumps and an occasional hug throughout the storm.

  2. Think positive thoughts. Positive visualisation (like imagining the views from the summit with my daughter) helped us through the storm. Most battles are fought in the human mind and we win or lose depending on our mental attitude.

  3. In a storm or crisis, think team first always. Look after your family and team mates no matter what the situation. It’s a great feeling to know that you have team mates who will do anything to support you.

  4. Follow the rules and stay disciplined. Any mistakes can be life threatening.

  5. Don’t blame anyone for the situation you are in. Just focus on getting your loved ones, yourself and your business safely out of the crisis.

  6. We did not look at our Whatsapp messages or TV forecasts. Luckily our phones did not work! While being aware of the situation is vital, it is best to not let devices dominate our lives.

A few thoughts that will definitely help us brave this storm. Eat healthy and avoid excessive alcohol. Stay fit and exercise daily while socially isolating. The discipline during the ‘Janta Curfew’ today and the 5pm applause for all those helping us tide over a critical situation, makes me optimistic that we can and we will come out of this stronger.

Storms do not last forever! This too shall pass. Stay healthy, stay safe and keep smiling!

Deeya and Ajeet Bajaj


Thank you for these inspiring words Ajeet, born of experience and wisdom.

Now watch the video and imagine yourself there, how you'd feel and how you'd act. I'm sure many of us have felt like we're weathering a storm like this over recent weeks. Staying positive, believing in the future and communicating regularly will help you to lead your team to the other side.

Mark Wright

23 Mar 2020

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