Pressure? My Pleasure: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson

Pressure? My Pleasure: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
17th October 2016
In fact, it’s been quite a night for me. I returned from the CNN Multichoice African Journalist of the Year awards very late last night. The plane landed just before midnight, and by the time i got my luggage, left the airport and got gome, it was past 2am.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if my flight had been comfortable… anyway, let’s not talk too much about that. Instead, i’ll just graciously say Good Morning to Gloria, Country Manager of South African Airways. Thanks for responding to my messages. And that’s all i want to say about my return journey
What i DO want to talk about is my journey TO South Africa. I travelled on Kenya Airways, and it was nothing short of a heavenly experience. Great service, comfort, convenience and an exceptionally hospitable crew.
Now, first i must confess that as a passenger i’m rather high maintenance. I travel with insulin, so i need a cool place to store it, then i need to fetch it regularly so i can inject after each meal, i need lots of water because the cabin pressure makes me dehydrated. I also need painkillers, because my teeth vibrate … basically, i’m the most wretched soul during flights, and it literally takes a village to get my poor soul from A to B.
Well on Kenya Airways, that “village” was a lovely lady named Eva. All through the flight, she kept a big smile on her face, no matter how often i called for her help. At a point, i felt so guilty about the amount of work i was giving her that i went up front during a quiet moment, just so i could thank her, and apologise for being such a handful.
But she shook her head with a smile, and said, “You know, straight out of college, i wanted to be a flight attendant. I competed with hundreds of applicants from all over Kenya to get this job. Every day i put on this uniform, i realise how lucky i am to be doing the job i always dreamed of. I’m fulfilling my destiny every day with everything i do. Every time you ask for my help, you give me another chance to fullfil my purpose in life. So don’t thank me. I should rather thank you”.
I tell you, i was moved. I know we all talk about taking pride in our work, but i wonder whether we appreciate what it truly means to do that. We all insist that we love what we do, but in reality, we only love it until a challenge comes along.
When we apply for jobs, we say things like, “oh, i have excellent customer service skills”‘ or, “I’m a real problem-solver”, or, my favourite, “I work best under pressure”. We say these things because we want to get the job. But when the job is given to us and the first difficult customer walks through the door, we lose our patience with them. We are all problem-solvers until we encounter problems. We all work best under pressure, until we are put under pressure.
Today, i would like to recommemnd Eva’s attitude to you. Just cast your mind back to the day you intervoewed for the job you’re complaining about today. Do you remember the things you said about yourself? Well those things you said became the purpose for which you were employed. So permit me to ask: just how well are you fulfilling your purpose?
A new week is here. Together, i want us to make the most of it. I want us to consider every challenge, every task, every obstacle, every moment of crisis as just another opportunity for us to fulfill our purpose. Let’s welcome these opportunities and grab each one as it comes. That’s how you go from being indifferent to making a difference.
My name is Kojo Yankson, and it is the pressure that gives me pleasure.