The first quarter of 2020 has certainly given us all reason to pause and wonder. Hundreds of questions rise up.
When will we get back to our lives? Will our businesses survive? What’s to become of our national and global economies? When and if we do resume our life of “new normal,” what does the future hold for our children and grandchildren?
Each and every day, as the stories and numbers unravel, we are being called to higher thought and action. What we do now will determine our future. I’m blessed to hang with a circle of thought leaders who agree that we have entered a unique period in history, what many are calling The Transformation Age.
Along those lines, I’ve been having lots of Zoom calls with clients and leaders who are, yes, working hard to keep afloat. I’m experiencing most as hopeful, dutiful, and discerning. I’m hearing amazing reports of people who recognize that there’s something mysterious happening right now, painful as it is.
We’re uniting. We’re loving better. We’re more generous. We’re recognizing the beauty of essentials—things we may have previously taken for granted: toilet paper, our environment, fresh air, sunshine, the laughter of our children, and, yes, even the fragility of our aging.
These are wonderful moments of clarity that tell us in this most holy calendar season, and even life, that God is in the midst of this transformational period.
We are called to be and do more. This is a time of magnification and even sanctification.
Let me explain.
Whatever it is that is rising up in you each and every day as you maneuver your way through this pandemic will grow bigger and louder.
If you entered into this season angry, agitated, and afraid, you will become more angry, agitated, and afraid. You will spew venom at political figures. You will blame and issue loud warnings of fear and scarcity across social media. You will divide and generate toxic energy—all of which will add to the fragility of your own immune system and only delay the healing of our society.
If you entered into this season spiritually, emotionally, physically, and psychologically integrated and fortified, you will respond to this pandemic with empathy, compassion, wisdom, and love. You will find innovative ways to heal your own fears and and the fear of others. You will dive deep into what is required for your own mental and spiritual transformation. And, you will do all that is necessary for you and yours to remain wholly well.
You’ll accept that much is out of your control, but in this acceptance, you will not grow complacent or idle. You will gain strength and resilience during these critical moments.
You will also know that, in the end, it will be what it will be, and you’ll be okay with the outcome because you’ll see the mystery in it all; you’ll accept that we’ve all done our best to weather unsurmountable circumstances.
What About Staying Power?
I’m reminded of my response to a question on staying power asked of me by a business owner earlier this week. What is required, he wondered?
I offered two practical responses.
From a business perspective, we must work to gather all the necessary data to make responsible decisions. We must also manage cash flow, to the best of our ability, without any clear metrics for what to expect moving forward. And, in our efforts to stay afloat, we must be able to see into the murky future.
Imagine what your business might look in a “new normal.” What might you do now to prepare with limited resources and an uncertain future?
Take It One Day at a Time
With so much uncertainty, staying power requires a willingness to take it one day at a time.
On this point, I speak from crisis experience.
The crisis lasted four years. Each day more painful than the one before.
Many of you have heard me describe the season of our son’s critical illness—in and out of the hospital more times than I care to remember. No end in sight. How long can Michael go through this, we wondered? How long can we sustain ourselves under this pressure?
It’s what you’re all feeling right now. I hear it daily.
That season of crisis did end with Michael’s passing, and a new season of healing and restoration began. I learned that I was never really in control of much at all though I’d spent countless time and energy pretending otherwise.
What I can say about that period of my life is that if I’d known it was going to be a four-year crisis, I wouldn’t have survived. There is value in taking it one day at a time. There is value in the abyss of the unknown because it is in that space that we encounter hope. It is in that space that we learn to rely on the grace of God and others.
For those of you who are struggling with asking for help (as I know many of you are), pay attention to what you’re being called to let go of.
Pay attention to what thoughts and fears are rising up in you each day. What is being magnified? What can you learn about your own resiliency, your own need for power and control in this moment? Where is there room for growth and transformation?
Lean into the voices of magnification in whatever form they take. Those voices will pull you toward sanctification, a letting go. This is where the transformation occurs. It’s less about survival and more about growing up and into the most glorious part of who you are.
Embrace the unknown. It will serve you well. You will learn to adapt and respond more quickly and with far greater ease. You will worry less, rejoice more.
The bigger question is, whom are you being called to be during this most critical time in history?
Your Heart and Mind Will Determine Your Response
After a long day of listening to people’s worries and concerns during this crisis, I found myself oddly reflecting on the movie, The Titanic.
Do you remember?
The band members who played on as though nothing was happening, perished.
Those that panicked and rushed onto capsizing life boats, perished.
Those that followed instructions, safely made their way to the remaining life boats, hung on for dear life, and waited—those lived to tell the tale.
How will you respond?
As you look out into the abyss of the unknown, will you stand in ignorance, panic, or lean into what is present in this very moment?
The choice is yours.
For who you choose to be now may just determine who you’ll be for the rest of your life.
For up-to-date information on how others are handling the challenges of COVID-19, please listen to some special episodes of my podcast, The Other Side of Potential: https://sharonspano.com/podcast/.
If you’re stuck and would like to schedule a one-on-one call with me, please go to: https://go.oncehub.com/crisiscoach.