Finding light in the darkness

Sarina Sorrenti
March 12, 2020

Now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, what should you do to get your state of mind right to not only survive during this challenging time in our history, but to thrive and take advantage of opportunities as and when they arise.

12 March 2020… the world is officially in a pandemic. Besides the current HIV/AIDS pandemic, the last major pandemic was in 1918, known as the Spanish Flu, a form of H1N1 bird flu. Just over one hundred years later we’re facing a new pandemic – the COVID-19 virus. How do we navigate this pandemic? There’s a lot of information on how to keep healthy and reduce your chances of contracting the illness so we’re not going to delve into health and hygiene issues. We want to help you get into the right mindset so that you cope with the many issues from the fallout of this pandemic from media hysteria,government actions and economic consequences.

This is not the first pandemic that humanity has faced, and it won’t be the last. More importantly, some people have had to cope with many tough times and traumas. From our own experiences, we’ve had to deal with surviving cancer,losing jobs, recessions and business failures. These experiences have taught us how to be resilient, always expect the best and prepare for the worst.

We would like to share some tips to help you build your resilience and find your light in these darker times.The 3 Ps to help build your resilience are:

  1. Perspective
  2. Preparation
  3. Power


It’s difficult not to think about the worst-case scenarios when the media promotes fear and financial markets experiencing turmoil. As difficult and dire as the situation may seem, there is always hope and plenty of opportunities. Two of the most successful tech companies of recent times rose up from the ashes of the global financial crisis of 2008-09 – Airbnb (August 2008) and Uber (March 2009). It’s vital in times like these to maintain a realistic perspective and to find your light. If we fall down to the pessimistic perspective, we will panic and create what we don’t want –hardship, loss, pain and no toilet paper! On the contrary, if we are too optimistic,we may not be able to fully grasp the physical and economic impacts of this pandemic.

By keeping a realistic perspective, we can expect the best while preparing for the worst.

How can you maintain a realistic perspective? Here are some ideas:

Every morning, reset your mindset by...

asking yourself ‘Am I hoping for the best, prepared for the worst so that I am open to new opportunities.’ It’s important to have a clear mind at the start of everyday.

Keep informed from reliable sources of information – not the popular media!

Visit the World Health Organisation’s website and your national and state government websites.

Economic and financial market turmoil

Will there be economic and financial pain? Yes of course. But this is nothing new and better times will come around again. Past recessions tell us that by the time we know we’re in a recession, which is more than two negative GDP quarters,they’re just about over. The average recession over the last 50 years has lasted around a year. Here’s a list of the major recessions experienced in Australia and the USA over the last 50 years:

  • 1969-70: 10 months (USA only)
  • 1973-75: 1 year 4 months (USA), 6 months(Australia)
  • 1981-83: 1 year 4 months (USA), 1 year (Australia)
  • 1990-91: 8 months (USA), 1 year (Australia)
  • 2001 Tech wreck: 8 months (USA only)
  • 2007-2009 GFC: 1 year, 6 months (USA only)
Opportunity and light appear...

if you are in the right mind-set and have your eyes open. With this current Pandemic, air quality in China has improved dramatically, local manufacturing industries in western economies are beginning to awaken, we’re less focused on consumerism and more focused on community, collaboration and caring for each other.

Get back to basics...

Remind yourself how important the basics and essentials of life really are – family, friends, community and above all health! Be grateful for the country we live in, Australia. We have a culture of care and mateship, government support services for those in need and a world class healthcare system.


Instead of reacting to the ever vocal and negative popular media, stop, pause, think for yourself and listen to experts. Then you’ll be able to take a considered approach on how to best prepare to survive and thrive in this Pandemic. Here are some steps:

  1. Consider the health, economic and community risks that may impact you.
  2. Come up with options for each risk to minimise any adverse impacts.
  3. Develop strategies that will maximise opportunities that will present themselves. And when an opportunity arises, go for it!
  4. Develop contingencies and have them ready to activate when negative situations present themselves.


Reminding ourselves that the true power we have is the power to be the best person we can be. Sitting back,being an observer and playing the victim in the current situation is not a powerful position.

Make a conscious choice to protect ourselves and support each other.

In dark times, we need Heroines and Heroes – people need to rise and provide light. This can only happen if we feel empowered ourselves. We need to make conscious choices to protect ourselves first and our circle of family and friends. So, dust off your super-power, put on your cape – we all have one – and have the courage to wear it and exercise your strength to spread the light. This may come in the form of supporting local industries, sharing food with someone in your community or at work and coming to work with a solutions mindset ready to solve problems by:

Being the best version of yourself.
Do activities that give you joy and adapt if you need to – for example, exercise at home or go for a walk or run instead of going to the gym.
Write down all the things you can control in your life and the things you can influence.
Do something every day to help yourself, your family, a community member, your team.
Use your strength as your superpower to help others.

It’s easy to hide your light and be absorbed by the darkness. We all need to have the right perspective – a perspective of reality – to exercise our power and collectively we can save our world.

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"Since Sam joined the board at CartonCloud in the capacity of company secretary, he has contributed significantly to the strategic direction of the company while placing us on a path to better governance. He has been instrumental in CartonCloud securing large government funding which will take CartonCloud to the next level in terms of our software functionality and capability. I have gained from Sam’s vast business experience and is the consummate professional in his dealings with me and the broader CartonCloud team."

Carton Cloud

"Incredibly inspiring, caring and passionate about her work, Sarina has worked closely with me and my team over the past two years (during a very demanding period) in developing clear strategies for individual and team development. The sessions required open & honest conversations and no matter how challenging the conversations were amongst the team, Sarina always made sure the discussions were inclusive and that everybody left the sessions with a smile. I would highly recommend Sarina and we are all looking forward to working with her into the future."

Deakin University

"Sarina has partnered with Deakin for many years. Sarina develops highly effective development solutions after closely ascertaining needs and diagnosing problems. The feedback we receive from participants attending Sarina's sessions is always glowing, with many requests for Sarina to come and work with teams or individuals. I highly recommend Sarina and Engage Consulting."

Deakin University

"Through my professional journey, Sarina has helped me reinvent myself and focus on my aspirations. Her vibrant positive energy is contagious. Over the years she has helped me cultivate self-awareness, embedded the notion of mindfulness, and saved me from countless hours of frustration by sharing best practices to avoid common pitfalls as I transitioned through development. Sarina is not only my professional coach she is also my life coach and a wonderful source of wisdom. I can’t thank her enough… I am grateful for her support and feel privileged to have her as a coach"


"For many years Sarina has been a wonderful guide and support for me in my career. She has helped me to navigate my way through some challenging situations and worked to further develop my strengths and improve me where I have needed it. As I reflect on the work we have done together, I'm pleased that some of my weakest areas have, over time, become strengths. Now, many years later, I am enjoying seeing people in my team flourish as they, too, work with her. I can't speak highly enough of Sarinas' capability and her working style. I'm certain she would add considerable value to any company or any individual fortunate enough to work with her."

Gale Pacific


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engage Consulting Group Pty Ltd

Suite 5, 210 Lower Heidelberg Rd

Ivanhoe East, Victoria, Australia 3079


86 104 175 402