Hi Team,

Maryanne and Maggie arrived back in Aus. from Italy on Friday after decisive action from the family. The long-haul flight with Qatar Airlines was a 32-hour stressful journey but the only option available after two cancelled flight paths and diminishing Transit opportunities. (Florence to Rome by private driver on closed highways, then, London, Doha, Perth, Melbourne). We are now all at Shoreham on day 3 of self-isolation. So much has changed for us all in the space of one week, but I am so thankful to have my family back together again.

This morning I read a credible article that said that "right now half of the world’s population is living in social isolation", dozens of countries are in complete shutdown and Australia is heading rapidly towards the same lockdown conditions. This worldwide health crisis seems "so small yet so huge" all at the same time and I am finding it extremely hard to get my head around. When you look around you everything seems quite normal (apart from less traffic) but the statistics tell a whole different story, with the number of cases of COVID-19 and the number of deaths growing exponentially each day, especially in USA and Europe.

It seems unanimous that the only way to get the spread of the Coronavirus under control is through closing the borders, social isolation and stringent personal hygiene, at least until a reliable vaccine is produced and widely available. But this is a terribly slow fix and is only as effective as the level of public compliance to the social isolation regulations. The biggest challenge each country now faces is how to get their entire population to stay at home and put their life on hold for a few months? Then there is the whole economy that will need to be subsidized by the government and supported back to life once the health crisis is under control, which is looking like being an even bigger challenge.

Our lives have been turned upside down but this will pass. The positive thing that we can all hang onto at present is that "adversity reveals character and unites communities". Throughout our brief history Australians have come together and risen to enormous challenges time after time and this health crisis will unite us once more and inspiring leaders will emerge and rise to the top.

I have personally started to feel a new sense of purpose, which is to learn as much as I possibly can about this health crisis and to discover the best way for us all to respond and adapt to the changes in our lives?  This email will be the first of a series about how we can all not only survive this crisis but learn and grow as individuals and a team?
I truly believe that we all have an unprecedented opportunity to individually learn from this crisis and to improve ourselves and become better leaders and better people in our family and our community.

"Happiness is not preventing losses, it's learning to adapt to them", Mark Mason.

The first real lesson I have learnt from this crisis is "The value of making timely decisions".
Eight days ago Maryanne and Maggie were still in Florence and determined to stay and wait out the shutdown and the health crisis. But the rest of the family wanted them to come home, there was too much risk if they stayed in Italy. So, after numerous long phone conversations and hundreds of text messages we made the decision that they had to come home ASAP. Thanks to the tenacity and patience of my son Max and my niece Emma (in London sick with COVID-19) we were able to navigate flights being constantly cancelled and the Italian highways being closed, to get the girls home safely and in a reasonable mental state. If that decision had not been made 8 days ago, it would have been almost impossible to secure flights and if we had been able to get them back to Australia, as of yesterday, they would have had to go into 14 days of isolation in a Perth lockdown facility. So sometimes in life you just have to bite the bullet and make a decision or otherwise live with the consequences.

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and soldier on.

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