The New Normal: A Destination or a State of mind?

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The buzz word at the moment or rather, buzz phrase is, ‘The New Normal’. Everyone is talking about it. At least for those of you reading who are involved in the running of a Church at the moment, that is certainly what it feels like.

Whilst it is a good thing that people are already thinking about what happens once lockdown situations are eased and life ventures into the unknown realm of what will be, there is a certain danger to thinking of ‘ The New Normal ‘ in this way.

The problem I have with the way everyone appears to be approaching this new normal is that we are treating it as a destination, an eventual outcome an ultimatum…

Over the past couple of months, we as a culture have innovated more than we ever have done. As Carey Nieuwhof puts it, ‘Crisis is an accelerator’. We have grown incredible amounts over the past few weeks and months and one has to question… why did it take a crisis to kick us into gear?

Whilst the innovation has been incredible, with Churches turning into online campuses in the space of a few days, the rise of Zoom and remote working, you do have to wonder, why did it take us so long and what about this crisis has triggered this within us?

Whilst I think the current pace of innovation can’t be sustained I do think that there is something quite profound that can be dug out of it…

The new normal is just another way to describe a world we will live in as a result of the innovation that has just occurred. But why does it need to stop? Ok, sure, we can’t keep running at the same speed, but if we leave this pandemic without taking things with us into the future… then this period of time will be a complete and utter failure.

The only other tragedy that can occur out of this pandemic is if we don’t learn anything from it.

So here is my argument, the, ‘New Normal’ should not be a destination, more so a state of mind.

So, I thought I would share my half-formed thoughts about all of this… Here are 3 ways in which I believe we can continue to innovate far beyond this new normal because let’s face it, the new normal will get old, quite quickly.

Get comfortable with uncertainty.

This period of time is probably, one of the most uncertain times you have ever experienced. Some of us are not sure where our jobs stand, or what our future looks like anymore… The world has been put on hold and if we are not careful we can easily let ourselves think that that represents the end of the road… it is not.

Uncertainty can create fear which is ok, as long as it doesn’t make your decisions for you.

People who innovate tend to let their fear exist, they just don’t let it control their actions.

Those who innovate are not absent of fear, they have just become used to its presence in their lives. Fear, when dealt with correctly, can become a great advisor, but don’t make it a decision-maker.

Uncertainty prompts opportunity. Look for the opportunities not the obstacles.

Don’t get complacent

Now, pre COVID, I think we as a society had gotten quite complacent with the whole innovation thing. We knew what worked, we had our routines and we stuck by them, life was a series of repeatable tasks.

One of the things I have loved about the COVID period is the way in which society has collaborated. We have allowed people other than ourselves to have influence.

Without knowing it, sometimes we cling on to influence as though it is our currency in a transaction that leads to success.

Under crisis-like pressure though, there is no time to cling onto reputation, the only way up is to rally together. The benefit? We are always pushing for more.

When left to ourselves, our motivation can lack, our energy can suffer. But together, we are stronger and most importantly, more hungry to reach our goals.

The secret to making the most of this? Vulnerability. Vulnerability is real, true strength. Drop your obsession with influence and empower others and quite quickly, you will see growth.

Question everything

Children tend to question everything… why is this called that? Why does this do that? Why is it this colour? They ask questions all the time!

Questions! So many questions! - black writing coloring kid | Meme ...

Here’s the thing: Children question to gain an understanding of how the world works around them and for some reason as we’ve grown into adulthood, we’ve stopped asking questions.

The problem with this, is that when we stop asking questions, we settle for the normality of life and stop searching for more.

We have become void of purpose and victims to routine.

COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to evaluate our lives and what we truly want to strive for. What is important and why is it important?

Uncertainty makes you ask questions and that’s not a bad thing. Questions lead to answers and the more answers you get, the further you are able to travel in life.

So, when you are next in a Zoom meeting, start asking questions… Does this work? Why do we really do that? Can we do this differently…

Questions lead to innovations.

Question everything. propel yourself and those around you into an incredible future.