Anas Badawi: The Triple Change
A Creative Leadership Story11/02/2022
How can we face times of uncertainty as individuals and as an organization? And how can we confront our mental barriers to make decisions which lie at the core of the uncertainty we are facing?
These were some of the questions tackled during a webinar on Facing Uncertainty which took place on 25 July 2021 as part of the second online Creative Leadership conference. The webinar aimed to help participants from around the world explore ways of dealing with the unknown, both at a personal and an organizational level.
Anas Badawi from Y-Peer was one of four young leaders who presented their perspective on overcoming fear and responding to situations of uncertainty. Y-Peer is a youth network using an integrated approach to educate young people with the active participation of young people themselves.
Anas described his life in Syria from 2012, when he woke up each morning to different struggles and uncertainties, to 2104, when a personal turning point led him to come up with ‘the triple change’ concept.
I wake up in the morning. I go to school, I find some bribes – commonly used to buy voter’s voices – and a voting ballot. Elections to parliament are taking place. It’s a perfect transient Syrian morning.
I wake up in the morning, I listen to the neighbours who are meeting in the guest room, whispering about a woman who left her home screaming because her husband was beating her. They are accusing her of being a whore. A perfect transient Syrian morning.
I wake up in the morning. My mother is convinced that the owners of fancy cars are thieves, my father believes that our country is ruled by corruption and nepotism. My family doesn’t take part in sport or cultural activities. Another perfect transient Syrian morning.
It doesn’t matter. All that matters to all Syrians at this time is migration.
Three years after the war started in Syria, at 9 pm on a Friday evening, I am walking in the streets in Damascus with my friends after dinner. Suddenly, a loud noise nearby. The sound of a missile/bomb/rocket. There is death everywhere, everyone is running away.
I run towards the direction of the missile. My friends are screaming. I observe. I see victims. I help a wounded person. Another, extremely close missile. I flee home. On the list of wounded, I read the name of the person I helped – I recognize it because his brother screamed it during the incident. He is alive. I didn’t run away, I think.
I change my mind about leaving Syria. I make a decision: my presence makes a difference, I am not unneeded here!
As a result of these experiences Anas developed his concept of ‘the triple change’:
Step 1: Decision
Choosing the road, with the mindset that I have a choice between travelling or not travelling. A mental trial after which I choose the route I am walking, the conversations I am talking and the way I am following. This is the decision making.
Step 2: Belief
An absolute conviction and persuasion, from the bottom of the heart, which recruits my emotions and creates coherence between who I am and what I do. This a great source of power to support the decision I make.
Step 3: Attempts
I have made a decision. I believe. Now, I’ll work. Will I succeed first time? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I have failed tens of times. I failed at achieving, but I succeeded at trying. Failure here is not negative. It means the loss of a battle, but not of the war.
Anas explained that this personal roadmap to change has helped him take action and opened up infinite possibilities.
Who am I going to be now? I’ll break the rules. I’ll change my university studies. I’ll be a photographer, or a painter. No, a politician, an actor.
Wait, wait. Let’s take it easy. Let’s remember the triple.
I started to see positive people.
I started to study the behaviour of influencers.
I started to follow those who are capable of change.
I’ll try – that’s what I thought to myself: so I started participating in any workshops which were available, whether I knew anything about their subjects or not.
I am trying.
I am learning.
In 2017, Anas’s hope and faith grew when he joined the Youth Peer Education Network (Y-PEER) and started working for its team in Syria. He managed to get the Executive Board to approve a media team and was the first person with no prior certificate to be accepted by an advanced training centre in Amman.
He explained his journey to becoming a young leader within Y-PEER Syria, through first being a member, then a facilitator, a team leader, a coordinator and finally becoming a FPC (Focal Point in Charge).
I believed in myself, I made a decision, I tried.... I changed. The triple change became a lifestyle.
- Anas Badawi -
I wake up in the morning, I organize a campaign related to the parliamentary elections with the purpose of raising awareness and encouraging young people to nominate and vote. I remember the bribes when I was at school. I emphasize active participation. I smile. I persevere.
I wake up in the morning. I implement an awareness raising session about gender-based violence for a group of women. I remember our neighbour who was subjected to violence. I emphasize that she is a victim. I smile. I go on.
I wake up in the morning. My mother knows that her children will soon be buying cars. My father holds a high judicial position. My brother is studying acting, my sister is learning to swim. I smile. I smile. And I continue.
Interested in more? Read the report on Creative Leadership 2021 and watch Anas speak at the webinar on Facing Uncertainty (25 July 2021).
Compiled by Hajar Bichri
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