It’s been a very interesting week! All over Europe everyone is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and all the mitigating measures that have been taken. Also, financial markets have not been this volatile in a long time. This week especially has been a bit weird; there is turmoil on the markets, but I’ve been working from home as a precautionary measure. That’s not the most convenient thing to have to do whilst financial markets are going wild. Meanwhile, the videos of people stockpiling food and toilet paper have been going viral. As said, it’s been a very interesting week.
So as a banker this week was challenging, but from a church-standpoint it has too. Gatherings of 100+ are no longer allowed in the Netherlands, at least until the end of the month. That seriously affects the business model of a church – that basically runs to see people in church and in community. It has meant that we have had to switch mindsets: from getting as many people as possible into a building, to getting everyone on livestream as quickly as possible and to facilitate smaller gatherings of people – for whoever wants that.
So here are three things that have been helpful to me, both in my church as well as in my bank environment, in the last week. I trust these are helpful to you. Let me know if you have more ideas that can be helpful to people!
Figure out what’s most important
Every time we have to change, we need to consider what we find most important. This week, the measures taken simply forced us all to do things differently. I needed to work from home the whole week. No large gatherings were allowed anymore. So that meant we had to reconsider what we even could do. Because we only had a couple of days to make it happen, we had to choose what we found most important. Reconsidering what’s most important is something that’s actually healthy for all of us to do from time to time.
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”Steven Covey
In moments like these you can’t do it all. Don’t choose to do what you are used to doing. Choose what is most important in this season right now. And then communicate what you won’t be focusing on right now and what has priority.
Identify the win
For most of us, what we identify as ‘a success’ has formed over a longer period of time. Now, we might be in a (temporary) moment that makes that ‘success’ difficult or maybe even unattainable. We can choose to focus on that, or we can focus to take a moment to recalibrate.
This season might not give you the opportunity to reach your usual goals, but it might open doors to different goals. Maybe you have had some things you have wanted to do for a long time, but you just never had time for it. John F Kennedy is famed to have referred for the Chinese word for crisis:
“One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognise the opportunity.”John F Kennedy
Now I understand it’s easy to write about this, but much harder to execute. These times hit some of us much harder than others. If you’re hit hard, I’m believing with you that you will find a win somehow.
Work together as a unit
One of the things that was really encouraging to me was to see that multiple people went out of their way to help prepare for the weekend. As we had to adjust, prepare and test, we needed more people to help us make everything ready. With the people working on making everything technically possible, I felt a strong feeling of unity. With the team who needed to decide how to structure the service, I felt a strong feeling of unity. With everyone who could not come to church due to the measures, I noticed even more encouragement, messages and reaching out to each other. I felt a strong feeling of unity for sure.
If you are working in a team, make unity the highest goal you can have. This is not a time for arguments. Psalm 133 teaches us that unity brings forth blessing, not the best, most intelligent or most complex solution. Whatever you identify as your win in this season, make it clear and work towards it together.
If you are working alone, reach out to some people who are in similar work fields or who are in similar situations. As we are needing to be more physically isolated, let’s not be isolated from community and make more effort to keep relationships alive and healthy.
Finally, I want to do a quick shout out to everyone who has had to adapt, overcome and improvise. To all the tech teams, who have had to enable live stream within a couple of days. To every entrepreneur who has had to change their game plan. To struggling businesses. To everyone who has to deal with some level of insecurity. You are not alone in this. And even though we see people stockpiling toilet paper, I still believe seasons like this can bring out the best in us.