How to Prepare, Survive, Outlast, & Thrive in the Aftermath of the Coming merciless ‘Winter’

A Brutal ‘Winter’ Is Coming! Are you prepared?

How to prepare, survive, outlast, and thrive in the aftermath of the coming merciless ‘winter’…

Happy New Year if you’re a fellow Ethiopian!

I wrote this blog this morning as I was preparing to call back home in Ethiopia to say Happy New Year to my family.

I walked down memory lane, and just remembered one of my habits when I was there more than 17 years ago.

Before I share mine, what habits or habits do you have as a new year approaches?

We are creatures of habit. We create them but they rule us. We cannot outgrow, outsmart, and out-perform beyond our habits.

Show me a person who is excelling in what he or she does and I will show you a man or a woman who has empowering habits.

Point me towards a person who is struggling and I will be meeting a person who has some limiting habits.

Your habits either propel you forward and cause you to succeed or slow you down or even sabotage you.

Right now, enlist some of your empowering habits and those that may be counterproductive and sabotaging.

Let me enlighten you if you’re not Ethiopian. We have thirteen months of sunshine. The 13th month (called Pagume) has five days in a common year and six days in a leap year.

I still remember taking time off during the entire month of Pagume to do the following:

  1. Revisit the year about to end and celebrate the wins and be grateful,
  2. Reflect to learn from the mistake I had made,
  3. Regroup to receive the new year with renewed energy and vigor (regardless of whether I had more wins than loses),
  4. Project into the new year to strategize and plan for the new year ahead.

Though it started casually, I’m glad I adopted and nurtured this habit for years. It’s one of the reasons why I’m where I’m today. Where I’m today is relative and may not be that much for those who didn’t begin from where I was.

Coming from one of the poorest villages in Ethiopia to where I’m today inspiring, coaching, and training leaders in world-class organizations, most importantly, where I’m heading, is short of a miracle.

But, you and I know that a miracle doesn’t happen haphazardly and only for a few lucky folks. It is a combination of faith in God (whatever you call It: Allah, The Universe, Your Higher Self) who can override the natural and bring forth the supernatural. Plus, some contributions from the subjects such as asking (permitting God’s involvement through praying), staying positive and expecting (visualizing), and walking the faith (taking actions).

God is the constant. What is keeping our ‘miracles’ from happening is because of what we do or do not do on our side. And, high-performance habits are one of the doings while WAITING. If we do our parts long enough, we can bring and accelerate whatever miracle we’re hoping for. There is no free lunch.

Unfortunately, habits don’t just grow and flourish out of nowhere without us playing the gardener’s role. They are like seeds. You need to prepare the ground, plant, water, fertilize, weed, and so on if your desire is to harvest quality fruits from your seeds.

By the way, someone may argue that, hey AZ, I have more habits than the successful people around me but I’m not going anywhere. I am not experiencing ‘rain’! Sorry to hear that. You may not like my answer. The answer is simple:

Not all habits are born equal.

Study the super successful in your organization and community carefully. Go beyond the surface. If you do your assignment well, they all may not have the same habits but they have a few shared high-performance habits.

Just stop reading and pause for a few minutes…

  • Write a few names of the supper successful you know.
  • Enlist the potential habits they have.
  • If you have their contact or social media handle, try your luck and ask them to share their high-performance habits.
  • If not, read their books, and bios, and listen to their interviews.
  • Then, figure out what separates such successful people from others.

Which of these habits do you have? How can you develop those you don’t have?

You’re a few high-performance habits away to become the best and great in what you do.

Without such habits, you may become and get there, if you ever get lucky. But, it will be uphill with lots of two steps forward, three steps backward kind of journey.

Worst, if you have some disempowering habits, it doesn’t even matter that you have some empowering, they will sabotage you. You remain toiling and laboring in vain, most of the time, going nowhere!

A couple of things to know about my habit from back home in Ethiopia more than 17 years ago. During the entire 5 or 6 days, most of the time, I:

  • Took time off from work.
  • Was fasting (I only ate once, and in the evening).
  • Didn’t know what I know now about high-performance habits.
  • Was ignorant of many of the science behind fasting, meditation, visioning, brain, and genetic rewiring, etc.
  • Had none of the latest strategic planning tools I use today for myself and my clients.

Fast forward, I didn’t drop this habit when I first came to the US in 2005. Of course, initially, in the first couple of years, it was hard to adjust to the new culture and calendar.

On one hand, I was enjoying having two sets of holidays because my native country and the US use different calendars 🙂

On the other hand, I was struggling to make changes including adjusting my lifestyle including some of my cherished habits.

As you can imagine, I was forced to let go of some of the habits that had worked back home but failed to support me in the new culture. It was challenging to pick and choose and keep habits that were still relevant in the new culture with some modifications.

One such habit was: taking a few days off to reflect and plan before the start of a new year.

Of course, today, I have the same habit but with lots of improvements such as:

  • Rather than just having one-time 5 or 6 days of intense planning, I begin thinking about the upcoming new year as early as October. Every weekend, during these months of reflection at the end of the current year, I take a few minutes to a couple of hours to reflect and begin to enlist major milestones I would like to achieve, strategize, and plan.
  • Rather than ending the reflection process when I receive the New Year, the process of planning for the new year continues till the end of February or early March in the new year.
  • Rather than wait till the end of the year, I reflect and regroup every quarterly, monthly, and weekly.
  • Rather than just have a one-year solo and linear plan, I use effective strategic planning tools to strategize for the long and medium term, and other tools and techniques to strategize for the short term. In the future, I even break the yearly plan down into quarterly, monthly, and then weekly with a daily to-do list.
  • Rather than just having lists of things to do and randomly, now, I use some prioritizing tools and techniques to prioritize on a consistent basis making sure that I adjust my priorities and change plans on the fly as the world around me changes so fast.
  • Rather than just use a hardcopy to-do list alone, I use manual (like a diary) and online platforms (such as outlook, google calendar, etc.) to schedule my daily tasks, set notifications, and so on.

If you’re still with me so far, you should know that this is not about me nor what I do to receive the new year.  You may already have a similar habit or even a more robust habit with more powerful and effective tools.

In the latter case, I want to congratulate you!

I’d appreciate it if you share with me some of your habits, tools, and techniques that you use to strategize and plan.

I’m writing this blog not to brag about my habit or to show off.

I’m rather interested to share with you how much we need to have this and even other empowering habits more than ever. If you’ve not yet noticed…

‘Winter’ is coming!

If it hasn’t yet come into your country, community, organization, family, or personal life, it will soon show up.

I’m not talking about the usual winter that comes once per year. I’m talking about the financial, social, and political winter.

I’m sure, you’re reading the news. We have been already facing so many global and local crises in the past couple of years.

If you thought these things cool down and summer is coming, you’re mistaken.

I have more bad news. We’re in a new norm.

Unlike in the past, ‘Summer’ either will be delayed or never come back the way it has been coming following Winter!

The future is more raddled with changes and crises than what we have experienced so far.

If you’re wary about what has happened, wait to worry more. The coming years will be worrisome and challenging but of course depending on who you’re talking to… This is because some have well prepared and are and will take advantage of the new norm to thrive in the aftermath. Some may even be the ones molding and shaping the new norm, and even dictating the rules of the game.

Now, let me stop expressing doom and gloom. What I want to emphasize on this special occasion is that we have little control to stop, slow, or fasten the existing and coming winter that affects us individually and collectively. But, we can do something where we have control and within our jurisdiction and scope. We can immunize and prepare ourselves to go beyond surviving…

We should learn from one of the habits of Ants, especially how they prepare for the winter ahead of time.

How large and sophisticated is the brain of an ant compared to a brain of a human being?

The human brain weighs 1 liter while the ant brain is a million times smaller, 1 microliter.

Not just we have a massive brain but also have a well-advanced and tech-savvy culture. We should have been wiser in handling ‘Winter’.

Unfortunately, our parents, schools, teachers, and mentors don’t know how to prepare us.

There are only a few that are proactive in preparing their generation for tough Winters even if they’re enjoying a warm and prosperous ‘Summer’.

There are only a few professions that simulate worst-case scenarios before they present danger and practice ahead of time for the coming tough scenarios like firefighters, law enforcement agencies, the military…

Well, given we are experiencing more winters than summers, we have to behave and act like these entities.

We must dare ourselves.

Now, let’s make it personal. As the saying goes, put the mask first before you help others.

What are you personally doing to wither the coming Winter? You cannot help your family, community, team, or organization if you cannot survive and save your own ‘life’ first. You’re dead and no use for those you care about. Plus, they may not listen to you or even scold you as crazy and paranoid, especially if they’re now enjoying some form of ‘Summer’.

Let me ask you.

  • Are you planning as I used to when I was in Ethiopia when I knew little and was ignorant of so many scientific realities and the latest tools?
  • Are you still stopping and reflecting once per year, manually, and rudimentarily? Or
  • Do you have a more robust and effective approach?

Even if you said yes to the last question, don’t be complacent. Keep learning, improving, finetuning…

We cannot just lay back and have linear and usual approaches to survive the ‘winter’ that is coming.

What empowered us during Summer and last Winter may be useless now in this world raddled with so many changes and crises.

If you don’t care about yourself as a person, what about the people you love? What about your team, organization, and community?

We need to learn from the wisdom of ants and, more than ever, prepare for a brutal winter that is coming more often and brutally…

Unlike in the case of ants, hoarding food and money, cannot cut it…

Before I say Happy New Year to my fellow Ethiopians again and stop sharing, let me conclude by asking you the following (answer it as a person or a group):

  1. What new mindset, skillset, and character set do you need to not just survive the coming winter but outlast and thrive in the aftermath? How and what can you do to develop these?
  2. What systems and processes should you put in place? What tracking and accountability should you set up to measure their effectiveness on an ongoing basis?
  3. What new comparative and competitive advantages should you carve out? How can you leverage these to the max?
  4. With whom new partners should you team up and form alliances? What are your contributions to the coalitions and what are you looking to get from the other parties in the partnerships?
  5. What are your backups and plan B, C, D, and E…?

Of course, in this short blog, I cannot share my answers to these questions nor give you everything I know that could motivate, stretch, and equip you to survive, outlast, and thrive in the coming merciless Winter.

If you’re interested, let’s stay connected. You may already know what I do as a passion (not for a living 🙂

If not, I inspire, challenge, educate, and empower those individuals, teams, organizations, and communities that aim high and vowed to become world-class and great in what they do in their own unique ways regardless of so many roadblocks and seemingly insurmountable odds they may be facing.

If you aren’t that kind of person or group, I’m not the right cheerleader for you.

I don’t whine and think, feel, and act like a victim of anything including Winter for which I have no absolute control.

I take responsibility even if sometimes I’m not the one who caused the pain.

Rather, I learn from the setback and immunize myself going forward to avoid and never experience the same defeat, failure, pain, or rejection again. Or at least, lessen the negative impacts and shorten the length of suffering when it happens again.

Definitely, people complain a lot and always blame others and circumstances without taking responsibility even for those things they are responsible for. Such individuals find me the wrong buddy.

Those people who want someone to join them in their pity party don’t like to hang out with me 😊

Of course, I too, don’t want to be around such personalities. No offense. I sympathize and empathize but I’m the wrong person to be around them. I don’t want to overstay not because I don’t care. It’s because I cannot help them. I may even become a pain in the rear, angering and irritating them even if that is not my intention.

But, if someone is having a hard time, struggling, and falling short of meeting their goals but wants to challenge themselves, and aim high again, I’m all in. I can partner with such individuals.

For such resilient individuals and teams, I may add value. I’m passionate about turning underdogs into top dogs in the areas of their passion by helping them rewire their brains, developing the necessary skills, and molding solid personalities to become and stay great in their own unique ways.

I’m an advocate for the A to Z of Holistic growth.

As you read this blog and if you liked my attitude and feel like you found a brother from another mother, let’s connect, grow holistically and stay together to survive, outlast, and even thrive beyond this coming Winter!

You can learn more about what I do to fulfill my audacious mandate by checking out my books, programs, and services at

You can also check out my blogs and also follow me on social media by visiting my personal website at

Reach out also to our team at [email protected] to learn more about how we may serve you, your team, your organization, or your community.

A brutal Winter is coming and we’re here to immunize, prepare, and ultimately support you and your team to survive, outlast, and thrive in the aftermath.

I have a soft spot for first-timers. I was there and I know how hard it is to make a shift from employee to a new supervisor, from supervisor to middle leader, from mid-leader to an executive without getting enough support from your senior leaders and organizations on how to make a smooth transition and excel at your new leadership role.

Many organizations throw, with good intentions (they don’t know better), their new leaders into deep water and hope they swim and cross over.

Unfortunately, the data shows that up to 60% of new supervisors fail within the first 18 months. I believe that the data may not be that different for other new leaders.

I also know how tough it is to be a first-time:

  • Founder,
  • Author,
  • Speaker, and so on where you don’t know where you struggle to find the information you need, the steps you should take, and most importantly how to have a great start, and save tons of time, money, and shorter the stress, pain, and anxiety that follow being a first-timer.

That was why I wrote a book entitled “Overcoming 1st Timer Syndrome”, Amazon’s #1 bestseller, for first-timers.

If you’re an aspiring or new team leader, supervisor, project manager, first-time author, speaker, or founder, I want to give you the book for FREE.

The book can help you make a smooth transition and excel in your new leadership role.

There are some irresistible offers when you order the book. To learn more about how to get the book, other offers, and bonuses for free, click here…

Happy New Year again to my fellow Ethiopians!