If you are a non-native language speaker, you would know that idioms or colloquial sayings are the hardest thing to learn.
When I was learning English and first heard the expression “blessing in disguise”, I thought I heard “blessing in the sky”. I used the latter expression for many many years until I saw it in print. By then I already had developed a fondness for my own misheard expression and would use it anytime a situation called for “blessing in disguise”.
Last month I had a “blessing in the sky” moment. After working very hard to get a personal belief and a new business perspective out into the public, including writing a book about it, I was invited to give a TedTalk in Dallas in front of a live audience on the topic of Authentic Inclusion: What is it and Why it matters?
The whole speaking experience was incredible. From writing the script, to auditioning, to rehearsing, to finally stepping out onto the famous TedTalk red dot carpet to deliver the talk that involved my life story, I felt a range of emotions: from honor, to excitement, to pride and gratitude. I had been really looking forward to sharing the talk with the world.
The TedTalk video post production was supposed to take only a week or two. But it took longer due to an unforeseen reason.
In the meantime, COVID-19 hit the world. Overnight life as we knew it was turned upside down.
So when I finally was told that my talk had been uploaded to the TedTalk channel yesterday, I felt a sense of confusion, as I wasn’t quite the person as I was on February 7, 2020 when I excitedly walked out on the stage and engaged that energetic audience. My focus and priority in life changed in the past six weeks from what I want from life to what I need from life. In that I, like many people around the world, had to take stock of what is the most important thing to do in life during this unprecedented crisis. So when my colleague asked how I am going to share the TedTalk, I almost felt a sense of guilt.
Then I started thinking, maybe everything happens for a reason. Maybe instead of “blessing in the sky”, this whole COVID-19 situation is a “blessing in disguise”. Why? Because COVID-19 has shown us that we live in a fragile world and that all the systems as we know them, from healthcare to financial have not been able to handle this global crisis and probably are a good indication of what will happen with future crises of this magnitude. And that post COVID-19, the world at large has to re-think, re-imagine and re-construct systems that will have humanity at its core. This new reality actually gives credence to the “human first” thinking in my book and my talk. And that my call to the Dallas audience becomes more relevant — that if we can align purpose, principle with profit, we can create a better world, not just for some, but for all.
So in the end I guess “blessing in disguise” can be a “blessing in the sky”.
First published on LinkedIn.com on March 25, 2020.