Facing Turbulence

Facing Turbulence

Facing Turbulence

Darrell Rigby opens his book, “Winning in Turbulence” with these moving words: “Turbulence – a sudden change in wind speed or direction – has killed and injured more travelers that most other aviation hazards. It tests the judgement and reflexes of even the most experienced pilots. Flight crews that survive episodes of heavy turbulence talk about their disorientation and fear as the aircraft they know so well fails to respond to the controls as the ground rushes towards them.” This is true for all turbulence. It will test your faith, focus and strategic fidelity. Rules suddenly
change, the unthinkable happens, fear and panic take center-stage. Turbulence does not mean Armageddon. Never let the turbulence you experience outside you, be the turbulence within you. Turbulence does not mean that all is finished and that there is no future. There is so much to live for and so many exploits waiting for you to show up. Do not give up now.

Turbulence tests the judgement and reflexes of even the most experienced pilots.

What can you do now? See this turbulence as a time of great opportunity and change. Instead of seeing it as a passing fade, embrace the new normal. Increasing we have to play the game in a field that is volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, hostile and fast moving. You have to reset your priorities and stop living in dreamland. Protect what matters most and stop thinking that the world owes you a living. Turbulent times are not time to stop being strategic. They are times to examine your strategy and your business model. You have to look closely at what you must change and what you must not change.

In times of turbulence you have to manage for value and not for mere optics. New seasons require new solutions. New problems require new solutions. New times require new strategies and models.


Whenever you see turbulence never assume that there is no hope or help. Turbulence does not mean that all is finished and that in the future you are famished. Whatever happens there is always opportunity and the way you think and what you think are critical for great outcomes. Seize the moment to think bigger and challenge your assumptions. Ask yourself if you are ready to play the the game under extreme circumstances. Beyond the veil of any crisis and the mask of any confusion, there lies opportunities and unlimited innovation spaces. Many situations, like many great traditional dancers, wear masks. Every situation is always pregnant with infinite possibilities for those who are willing to act, think and see. Do not be intimidated by the noise, and dust always take time to be still and to see clearly.


Your attitude in any situation is more important than the situation. What you see determines what sees you. See beyond the dots and look for the connections. Learn to think in systems and to see beyond just the event or action. What you think about the turbulence you are in is more important than the turbulence itself. Leadership greatness is the ability to see through the fog; the ability to see value in the trash; the ability to see patterns in chaos; the ability to see a handle where there is no door and the ability to see a champion in a wimp. Do not despair; dream big and bold instead. Do not lose heart, learn something new. Do not succumb to cynicism, there is science in all exploits and enterprises of greatness.


Turbulence is the brother of chaos and father of fear. In remarking about chaos Sapan Saxena once said: “Every chaos has an order hidden in it. What we see as a chaos, is actually driven by a very disciplined and dedicated order of things. What we need to do is focus on the stuff before us, make our way through this chaos, and that order will sort itself out for us.” When you choose to think in systems you start seeing the leverage points in any situations. It is not what you do that matters, but that you do the significant things that matter.

Turbulence should never be feared; it must be welcomed and dealt with. Turbulence must be confronted with clear thinking, grounded faith and bold confidence. Confronting turbulence with negativity, defeatism and despair is like approaching a raging fire with methylated spirits or paraffin. Stop doing the things that make things worse. Stop thinking in ways that are fruitless. Stop doing insane things and taking mindless shallow day-wonder decisions. Adopt a systems mindset and you will see clearly through the mess. Every mess, has a message and every test has a testimony.


Leyla Acaroglu shares six insights that she has gleaned from embracing a systems mindset. Use these to challenge your own thinking and inspire your reflection in turbulence:
1. Everything is interconnected. There is no blame because everything is connected to everything else
2. Today’s problems are often a result of yesterday’s solutions
3. You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that caused it.
4. Easy solutions can lead to negative impacts elsewhere.
5. The easy way out often leads back in.
6. Systems are dynamic and constantly changing, and therefore we can all change them too.


Running away is not solving anything; it just get you tired faster and reduces your options. Whatever happens in turbulence, keep a clear head and use it to think. Do not think with your feet and start running before thinking. Do not run away from turbulence because without your illuminating and persistent light, chaos will reign. Leadership is most needed in times of turbulence. There is always an upside of any downturn, side-burn or sudden turn of events. Take personal responsibility, move
with speed and take the decisions that you must.


Turbulence is an opportunity for exploration, growth, innovation and creation. Change your narrative about turbulence and stop amplifying fear and spreading mass panic. Turbulence always begets more turbulence, until a new order prevails. Your thoughts and actions matter because you are the silver bullet that you are waiting for. Nothing changes until you change. The more you live in turbulence the more you adapt yourself to it. Face the turbulence you are in and do not be complacent or mindlessly hopeless. Face the brutal realities of the moment but do not lose faith that you will prevail.

Turbulence brings uneasiness, welcome that uneasiness and let it jolt you into action. Stop thinking victim thoughts and looking at everything that you are going through like a set-up. Bring order and focus. When your bring order with you and things start being different and assuming a new colour. Take responsibility and the turbulence in your world will subside. What you do or do not do matters. Embrace turbulence in your space as a friend and message to restore order and focus, first in you then in your spheres of concern. Turbulence is your friend waving at you and calling attention to the necessary actions that you need to take.

Turbulence brings uneasiness, welcome that uneasiness and let it jolt you into action !


Fighting whatever type of battle is real turbulence. To be a fighter and winner you have to be prepared to handle turbulence and see through it. Stop looking for greatness at bargain prices or wishing that the playfield were smooth. Increasingly the world will behave like a stage teenager. Hold on to your mind when others are losing theirs. Be intentional and remain focused. Times of turbulence and confusion are not times to be confused about your agenda and to lose your sense of agency. Be intentional and focused. You fight turbulence with resolute focus, tenacious faith, graceful action and a clear vision.

Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo
Milton Kamwendo
© 2020, Milton Kamwendo
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Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and growth mentor. He is a cutting-edge strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. His life purpose is to inspire and promote greatness. He can be reached at: mkamwendo@gmail.com and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo. His website is: www.miltonkamwendo.com.


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