In Oklahoma, we are used to having a lot of severe weather threats over the spring months. During these months, we pack a storm shelter bags with necessities and treats (to bribe the kids if needed to venture down into the shelter), and I watch the weather app a lot.
But often times, these big storms don’t roll in till late in the day. Many come in the evening when it’s dark, so I have to watch the radar on the weather app to know what to expect.
In March 2020, we felt the COVID season heightening and rallied our staff and board to try to forecast the difficult season ahead. We read various articles including this Praxis one that noted in hard and difficult times, you can expect the following seasons:
A blizzard. Can be deadly, but it is short.
A winter. A season that can last several months, not just a single event.
A mini ice age season. Extends beyond a seasonal event.
BINGO. Experts view these as potential once in a generation events. Call us the lucky generation 🙂 A generally accepted time frame for a mini age is an average of 18 months. In March 2020, the current observation was that hardly no-one was planning for a mini ice age.
While that forecast was not easy to accept, it allowed us to shift our perspective, expectations, and make critical decisions. We figured that in the best case scenario, we would be wrong and go back to plans accordingly.
This was a time to assume the worst, hope for the best and get to work.
But how do you lead in an ice age?
We did 3 things. This involved:
- Being real
- Being present
- Being consistent
Be real. We began taking temperature checks with our teams. Instead of asking how someone is doing, we would ask questions like, “How’s your head?” and “How is your heart?” These questions allowed us to be vulnerable with one another and process these difficult times together.
Question: Who needs a temperature check in your life today?
Be present. A pandemic may have stopped students coming to us, but we could come to them. We did this by delivering care packages to doorsteps, making personal phone calls and even hosted a drive thru food drive.
Question: What is a gesture you can do today for someone you have not been in contact recently?
Be consistent. While we were not able to meet with students in person, we took an inventory of what we could do and got creative. 48 episodes later, a podcast was born and has now become an integral part of our programming.
Question: Prior to the pandemic, was there something that you always wanted to try, but did not have the time? Now might be the opportunity to start something new!
Leading through hard times is not easy. But I believe that if we start getting real, live in the present moment and stay consistent, will give us renewed hope that anything is possible.
Let’s lead together!