As you begin to emerge from the coronavirus isolation, probably more than once you have asked yourself or have been asked, “what do we do now?” That’s a great question. Whether you are a pastor, a small business owner, a parent, a lay leader in the church or anyone else with a position of responsibility that question is going to come up. What do you say? You probably don’t know for sure. You can guess. You can fake it. Or you can say something else? How will you answer?
Perhaps you have been put on the spot in the past. Perhaps you have always felt pressured to answer that “what do we do now” question. Perhaps you have felt like you needed to jump in, to share a solution, to fix it or solve it for your church, your business, or your family, even when you had no clue. Much of the time it felt right. You were pretty good at accumulating the necessary ingredients and ferreting out the relevant facts and then proposing a solution. It may have been a council meeting, staff meeting, parking lot meeting, or just a meeting in the hallway with key leaders or volunteers. You’ve been around the block enough to come up with a good idea. Job done. That’s fixed. On to the next thing.
But this is probably different. You’ve never been through a pandemic before. You’ve never been through a season where churches couldn’t meet together. You’ve never had to scramble to get live streaming or recorded services online. You never had to “feel your way forward” as much as you are now. So what DO you do now? Well, who in the world knows?! You probably have no clue what will happen a week from now, a month from now, six months from now. You probably have no idea what the environment will be like so knowing what to do and how to do it with any sense of certainty is anybody’s guess!
Everyone has an opinion about what this “new normal” really is. Are they right? Maybe. That’s my answer to all the opinions out there. Maybe. Sure there are some good ideas where people and pundits help us to connect the dots. That can indeed be valuable. Some of it resonates. It can make sense. But. But. But how do those things we read or hear apply in our contexts?
That’s the rub. How does what we read or learn apply personally? The customization question is a real one. Only with appropriate customization can we fully answer the question, “what do we do now?”
So you’ve got a few choices in my opinion. (Yes, this is a blog and I’m sharing an opinion!)
- Face this uncertain time in a similar way you have faced most everything in the past. If you’re honest, you've are kind of made it up as you go. It may work out just fine. It may be a very rough road. But what you will be doing is feeling your way forward, kind of like you took a shot at solutions when you were put on the spot to give the answer in the past. But now you have even less to go on.
- A more intentional way is to gather some insights and counsel from trusted friends, colleagues, leaders or experts in their field. Yes, this means reading the blogs, listening to the podcasts, reading the email suggestions from your supervisors and superiors, your consultants etc. Sometimes they will say just the thing that sparks an idea, a next step or a way forward. This will hopefully help you be a bit more intentional than you were in choice number one.
- Yet an even more intentional choice is to engage a coach. A true coach, not someone who tells you want to do, presuming they know best. A real coach's expertise is to help you, the person who does know, to think it through, reflect, evaluate, consider the future and move forward in a customized, intentional way. They won’t do it for you. It will be hard thinking work and harder follow through. But they will be beside you as a thinking partner, unleashing the expert in your context - you. They can help you to make the best decisions possible while overcoming your own fears, bias and stuckness. They can help you live into a healthy future where you currently have no roadmap. It is a rare but available resource that will help you face yourself in order to answer well the “what will you do now” question.
Sure there are probably some good ideas that are emerging for your ministry or industry that people are talking about. But what is best for you in your content at this time and place. So that leaves only one question: What will you do now?
Scott specializes in leadership coaching, consulting, coach and leadership training. He is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church and others as an independent contractor. Listen to The Coaching Leader podcast and contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. firstname.lastname@example.org or scottgress.com
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