You know how you never see yourself in a situation. You just hear of things happening to others, but you never think it could happen to you or to people close to you.
Well, never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that Chase Bank would go under receivership, let alone be acquired. If someone had even mentioned it before, I must’ve thought it far-fetched. Even the rumors on social media felt like a tough phase, out of our control, but I knew we would take the bull by the horns and come out stronger. Remember the long running comeback, ‘The jungle has its surprises’ to KCB, when they decided to kick off a friendly banter with us, ‘The only chase we know’ – with a picture of the Lion (KCB) chasing a Buffalo (Chase)? And we had loads of fun with it. But now I’m like maybe we should have ignored the nudge to engage, because the jungle truly has its surprises and it’s laughable. I even had a moment of silence to just absorb the thought that, ‘it couldn’t get any realer that this.’ I’m not too sure if realer is really an English word, if it isn’t, let’s make it up.
I mean, how now? Same way you never think that you would fail, you would lose a job, you would be sick or you would … I don’t want to say die, it sucks, but eventually, that’s what happens – ideally, when you’re old and grey. But it’s until these things happen to you or someone close to you that you realize, ‘Oh Shit! I am not immune.’ None of us is immune to anything, regardless of our status. You’re just as exposed as the next person; you’re just as vulnerable as the next person; and life is unpredictable, and it’s important never to lose sight of that. That’s why you have to live it and squeeze every little breath out of it to the best of your ability.
I vividly remember the fateful Thursday morning when it was announced that we were under receivership. My heart and mind stopped for a good minute (and I’m being modest with time, I think that whole day I was zombie’ing around), and anything I did then was out of disbelief, which was mostly talking, I do that a lot when I’m super tense. I thought of the clients, of all the people I’d referred to the bank, my friends, of all the people we’d engaged with on Chase Debate and many other campaigns, of the things we’d shared on Chase Stories, the tips & tricks – and I thought, was I lying to them? It’s was all in good faith, but it’s difficult to detach yourself when shit hits the fan – because somehow it invalidates everything. When a brand you love and work with falls, you fall with it, roll in the mud, get dirty, receive the punches, roll with them, and somehow you have stand up and still show face – feign strength, because you have to be strong for the sake of the many other people looking to up to you or even worried about you.
On that day, I kept telling myself, ‘Kawi, keep moving. Just keep moving.’ And in my heart and mind, that was the operative word. The previous day, we had spent the better part of the evening and night with our beloved agency trying to figure out the way forward after the “crisis”, coming up with plans on how we’ll go about rebuilding our brand equity and reclaiming our customer confidence, because we thought it couldn’t get worse. Agencies, and the people that work in them are heaven sent, I respect them. They’re with you every step of the way – actually, they’re pretty much one of you. That was Brand2D for us. God bless their souls.
But it got worse anyway. And I had to have a serious conversation with myself, because truth be told, I was disappointed with the system, with the way things were handled, with the way things turned out. And I was drowning in all of it. And besides praying, I still believe it’s God’s Grace that led me to telling myself, but most of all, convincing myself,
“Don’t let this be the reason you stop believing in what you do; the reason you stop doing what you do; or the reason you won’t wear that pretty smile on your face.”
I’m told I have a pretty smile, I believe it and so I wear it more often than not 😉 That and the unrelenting operative word, I kept moving. And that’s where I drew my strength from, and I was able to keep reassuring my people that ‘I am okay’ and for those affected, ‘that they also will be okay.’ Not that I know anything about anything, let alone what’s currently happening. I’m a spectator too and I keep watching as it unfolds; because it’s a ball of uncertainty, and I’m still rolling in the mud, standing up and showing face, many of us are. Funny, some random stranger I had just met for the first time confidently told me the sooner I come to terms with its non-existence the better. So insensitive, but yet so appropriate. And I saw where he was coming from, it won’t be the same.
And so I keep telling myself over and over, “keep moving, keep moving, keep moving.”
And not just moving anywhere. Moving to a place of courage, to a place of positivity, to a place of self-belief, to a place of restoration and ultimately, to a place of contentment.
To positive vibes only!
Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*