We’re in This Together!
We were driving along a lonely road in my home state a couple days ago and noticed that the DOT digital sign said “We’re in this together!” The first blog post a few days ago somewhat laid the groundwork for this discussion, but as we passed under the sign, I had to smile. “Some DOT worker gets it,” I thought. The talking heads can make claims and point to way-points where they believe “everything is going to be alright.” But, the truth of the matter is – we don’t know.
The good news is that we are all in this together. Everyone of us is dealing with the same issues and the same fears. Here’s the thing… I mentioned it in the first blog. Our attitude will play a significant role in how we survive, get by, or thrive during any major crisis. So, let’s stick together and see this through to the end!
Your Winning Mind
Yesterday morning, I rose early and watched as the sun broke the horizon. Since the entire team is working remotely, I decided to grab a coffee and head to a local lake where I like to go to get my head together sometimes. I was sitting there and the turbulent water, chopping with the wind, looked remarkably like my mind felt. I was literally exhausted before the day even began and as I thought about the chill in the air, I was reminded that there is literally nothing new under the sun. Generations of people before us have set by the sides of lakes and rivers, and looked out over mountain vistas, wondering what is going to happen… We all deal with the unknown and fear. How we deal with it is what makes us different.
We are literally all in this together and through the history of civilization, we have always endured hard times together as a human race. The difference between survival and defeat has always been in what we choose to do – or not to do, during disasters.
Well, the quiet of the morning was broken as a pickup truck backed in next to my 4×4 vehicle, and a man emerged with a bucket, net, and some cool-weather gear. He pulled seven rods from the bed of the truck and walked down to the water. We spoke, only to acknowledge each other and nods clearly indicated that we were aware that we were both dealing with the circumstances and tensions of the day, in our own ways.
I watched as this man systematically set up each reel and as he threw the lures and bait into the choppy water. As I was watching him establish his plan and preparing to execute his will through those rod and reels, two beautiful mallard ducks, a male and a female, struggled against the current to position themselves behind a concrete slab that formed a sort of platform, where picnic tables provided for enjoyment for many during different times. They used the structure as a shelter from the wind and the chop, as they sat there in the quiet for a bit, then moving on to continue their journey.
Out along the waters edge, there were other fishermen fighting the same weather conditions and numerous other birds like the geese and wood ducks also dealing with the tenuous conditions of the morning. Behind me, another younger fisherman had set up on the bank. He had one pole and a tackle box. So I decided to sit and allow nature and God’s Spirit to speak to me as the morning unfolded and I prepared for another hectic day keeping a world class team of cyber professionals motivated and focused.
Here’s what I came away with yesterday and something that I have for many years practiced. I think you might also be able to use this single tip to help you navigate these difficult waters of the Coronavirus and strange and stressed economic times.
Focus and Deliberate Intent
I’ve had the pleasure of fishing and watching fishermen of all sorts and sizes all around the world and for most of the days of my life. Same for hunters, but the lessons there are a little different. Fishing is a great life-study and one that also carries rewards or frustrations that rely to some degree on luck, but largely to the self disciplines of focus and deliberate intent.
It wasn’t long before the young man behind me had packed up his gear and walked away obviously frustrated and empty handed. He was fishing that morning, but his intent was not deliberate, nor did he possess the knowledge that where he was fishing was not likely to yield a catch, for several reasons. On the other hand, about an hour later, the man who had backed in next to me began tearing down his rods and gear, transferred about five medium size fish to his bucket and headed home with the fruits of his labor. As he left, we waved to each other and what began as generally blank faces and head nods, turned into smiles and waves.
So what’s in this that can help you or me to survive and thrive during troubled times? A couple of things.
- You need a plan. Don’t take it as it comes or rely on “fate” or “faith” to provide. The Bible is clear that we must seek wisdom and knowledge and that we should act circumspectly in all that we do. I’ll go into more detail about this as we begin to unpack these blogs over the next couple weeks. You need to stay away from others right now. So use technology and communications networks to stay together. We are in this together, but we must work together and work smartly.
- The difference between the two fishermen was one acted with deliberate intent, and the other with some knowledge and hoping for luck. As I sat there and watched the older gentleman move from reel to reel, I thought, as simple as his plan is, he has one. I also thought that his planning cycle focused on his mission and he laser-focused on accomplishing his mission.
- Don’t wait for others to provide for you and don’t give in to the temptation to minimize the severity of the pandemic. At he end of the day, no one can tell you how this is going to turn out.
- Let your peace be in the Lord. Read Psalm 91.
A Note for Shepherds
Lead your flocks by example. We must pray diligently and establish intercessory prayer teams. If you follow the link, if you are a Church or ministry leader and would like to establish a secure group on the site, please reach out to us and we’ll get you set up! Prayer affects us and changes things. It is a powerful weapon God has given us and there are many promises associated with us praying – or not. Pray! Teach your people to pray.
Second, I will begin discussing social media in the next few blogs and how we can use it and how we need to stay off of it in certain circumstances. Don’t be fooled by “free.” Like the bait of the skilled fisherman, you expose your flock, staff and faculty to unnecessary risk when you sign in or sign up to “free stuff.” Build an understanding of the choices you make – or that you are about to make. Be responsible good stewards of what God has entrusted to your leadership.
Lastly, for today, teach your people to work together. In these times, it’s time for the Church to shine. As I unfold these thoughts and ideas in the coming days, I hope to provide you who are in leadership with some useful tools and thoughts to help you navigate and fish in the turbulence of our time.
See you back here in a couple days and we’ll talk about a few more practical thoughts on developing a winning mind, as well as a few ideas on how to prepare our flocks and teams for this and future crises. You don’t have to lose what you’ve built and you can operate with confidence by doing a few practical and cost effective things with your communications and networking plans. Until then, may the Lord bless and keep all of you during this time. Shalom