By: Chip DeClue, Halftime CertifiedTM Coach
In the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, it can often seem as if the world has stopped. Plans for the future have been put on hold as uncertainty looms. Business trips, vacations, retirement plans, weddings… most postponed, many outright canceled. And the list goes on.
This is especially true for those who are in the process of transitioning into the next season of life.
One Halftime client of mine lamented, “It feels like I’m in the halftime of Halftime. What should I do?” Not to over-use the sports metaphors — since there are none to distract us right now! — but frankly, it’s as if halftime has gone into overtime!
Another client of mine took a different perspective. She decided to tackle this challenge head-on and determined that she would become a “new creation in 30 days.” When I asked her what that would look like, she replied, “I want to be a sur-thrivalist!”
This concept really resonated with me, as my wife and I have been binge-watching old seasons of the History Channel series, Alone. If you haven’t seen it before, the basic premise is that survival experts are dropped in the middle of nowhere, alone, with nothing but 10 pieces of equipment and cameras to film their experiences. No food, no shelter, no companionship—nothing. Typically, these survival experts have to make the most of their circumstances for three months in these conditions in order to outlast their competitors and “win”.
Feel a little more familiar than ever before?
Here’s the key difference though: you and I are not actually alone. Even if in our current circumstances we are physically living alone, we have access to connection points with others, food, water, all necessities, and – thanks to the digital age we live in – remote work, worship, entertainment, etc.
So, all things considered, what tools and skills can we ‘sur-thrivalists’ develop while the world holds its breath? Here are five ideas that have worked for Halftime clients:
1. Practice Presence
One of my pastors described this crisis in these terms: It’s almost as if we got a text from God out of the blue that was simply the virus emoji (check it out, there is one!). To which all you reply is, “What is that supposed to mean?!”
Context is key in communication. Especially during crisis! So it helps to have history, a relationship, and other background information with the person sending the text to understand their meaning. In this case, God has given us His Word to provide a framework to understand. I had one client describe it as a small, still voice that says, “You can hang with me.” Here are some resources to improve that communication flow and practice being present with God:
- The 7 Minutes with God quiet time plan by Navigators (This is a great place to start if you’re unfamiliar with a “quiet time” concept.)
- Journaling about scripture daily using the SOAP method
- Reading a daily devotional such as Jesus Calling: Enjoying the Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young, or my favorite, My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers.
2. Fun with Family/Friends
On Alone, most contestants “tap out” due to extreme loneliness, not extreme hunger. Their decision to leave the show will often coincide with an anniversary or a missed birthday or child. Halftimers often lament that they had to sacrifice time with loved ones in order to achieve success.
In today’s current environment, shelter-in-place, online school, and remote working have created incredible new opportunities to connect. There are all sorts of creative ways to enjoy spending time with family and friends — both inside and outside the home. Whether it be daily walks, getting out a puzzle or utilizing technology for virtual game nights and dinners — there are opportunities we have never considered otherwise!
For example, one of our Halftime Coaches didn’t want to miss out on a grandson’s birthday so they got creative. The young boy measured out a social distancing circle with chalk on the driveway from which Grandma and Grandpa could participate in the festivities! It may take a little more pre-thinking and effort, but the memories and encouragement for all are priceless.
3. Renew Relationships
As my wife will fully attest, I do a poor job of maintaining relationships. I often get too focused on my task list and email inbox; crowding out opportunities to authentically connect with people.
This is an excellent time to reach out and check in on people whose relationships you have inadvertently allowed to wane. During this time of uncertainty, who wouldn’t want to hear from an old friend, family member, or colleague? I challenge you to pick three people to reconnect with this week.
4. Build New Habits, Learn New Skills
A common saying in the Halftime Family is, “You can’t do Life II with Life I habits.”
Sur-thrivalists know this. If the fish stop biting, it’s time to eat limpets (ugh!). In other words, times of crisis have a tendency to shake up our old habits and patterns. As natural creatures of comfort, this can be frustrating, but it make be just the push we need to start fresh — and better!
Use this time to establish new, healthy habits and rituals that will serve you well in your re-entry back into the world. I am a big fan of Michael Hyatt, author of Free to Focus, and his concept of Daily Rituals.
5. Focus Outward
While on a silent retreat one weekend, praying over a family member going through a season of challenging, emotional struggles, God impressed upon me to “help her make her world bigger.”
The concept is this: When our world is larger, our problems remain the same size, but they take up a smaller portion of our headspace.
Right now, your world probably seems to be no bigger than the square footage of your house. Rather than focusing on the confinement, set aside some time to research ways to safely serve your community in the midst of this crisis. Check a local church’s website or go to VOMO’s Be A Neighbor campaign to find ways to help. I’ll bet after spending a few minutes doing this, your mindset will shift into a more positive gear.
This unique season we find ourselves in could be an excellent time to construct the strong foundations in your life that will allow you to re-engage with the world in a joyful and more sustainable way going forward.
What if we look back 5, 10, 15 , even 20 years from now and remember this time of crisis as the time we changed our lives – we embraced the change that was thrust upon us, became ‘sur-thrivalists’, and emerged on the other side stronger, more focused, and better equipped to tackle what matters most to us.
Of course, I won’t deny that making lasting change in our lives and mindsets is easier said than done – even in the mountaintop times! So, it may be beneficial for you to explore your individual hopes, goals, dreams, and possibilities for this season with a Coach. In fact, Halftime Institute is offering a special 3-session coaching package at a significantly reduced rate for this exact purpose – to help people like you discover how to navigate and make the most of this season. If you’d be interested in learning more, you can click here or send an email directly.
Remember, unlike the people stranded on that show, you are not alone. Whether it’s a Halftime Coach or an old friend, there are always people to reach out to during the difficult times. We’re rooting for you to sur-thrive and we’re here to help.