NAVY SEAL TIME
a Choose Your Own Adventure story
It is a Tuesday morning in early spring.
The large homeless shelter has faded tan bricks and a thin layer of melting snow.
Inside is a poorly lit hallway. OSHA workplace safety posters cover one wall. Stacks of canned goods line the other.
Our hero strides down the hallway with determination.
Our hero—we’ll call him Ryan—is a dashingly handsome bald man with a salt/pepper beard… and a pirate smile.
Ryan has a problem.
He has been late to a lot of meetings at the shelter. The staff are starting to talk about his excessive tardiness. It is becoming a running joke.
Ryan has one minute to make it to the weekly staff meeting before he is late.
If he speeds up his pace and lengthens his stride, he should be able to barely make it.
Knowing that his reputation is on the line, our hero steels his nerves and presses on.
Ryan was going to cut through one of the shelter’s many sleeping rooms.
The sign on the door says, “COVID QUARANTINE ROOM!! DO NOT ENTER!!”
Our hero will have to go around… the long way.
A single bead of sweat slides down our hero’s bald dome. The suspense builds.
To avoid wading through a cloud of contagions, Ryan must now go through a through a large dining room. He speeds up his pace to a jog.
Melvin—a resident of the shelter—spots Ryan from across the room.
Melvin is a tiny elderly gentleman with Albert Einstein hair.
Sober Melvin is a sweetheart.
Drunk Melvin is… not.
Imagine if Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden started a hippie commune. Then, somehow, they had a love child together. When that child grew up, he would be afraid of Drunk Melvin.
“RYAN!!!!!” Melvin screams as stringy spittle flies from his lips onto the front of Ryan’s shirt.
“I’M FREAKING OUT, MAN!!!
YOU HAVE TO HELP ME!!
YOU HAVE TO HELP ME RIGHT NOW!!!!”
What is our hero to do?
Ryan calms Melvin down and helps him with his issue.
Ryan is five minutes late to his meeting, but his co-workers forgive him.
In the meeting they figure out how to end homelessness, cure cancer and fix the last season of Game of Thrones.
Everyone lives happily ever after.
Ryan apologizes to Melvin and promises to help him later.
Ryan makes it to his meeting on time. His coworkers are shocked and impressed. For a brief moment their love and admiration for Ryan soars to new levels.
Before the meeting can start, though, an intern bursts into the room. She yells, “Melvin is throwing chairs because Ryan wouldn’t help him. HELP!!!”
Ryan and the rest of the team scramble into the dining room to deescalate Melvin.
It takes two hours.
The meeting never happens, setting off a chain of events that leads to nuclear war.
99.99999999% of the human race is wiped out.
The two remaining survivors emerge from the rubble to begin rebuilding civilization.
A giant mutated butterfly promptly eats them.
Navy Seal Time
Navy SEALs have a saying:
“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
It is a helpful phrase, even if you aren’t an elite special forces commando.
When someone is in “crisis mode,” it is actually faster to slow down and help them.
This is especially true for people struggling with homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse or trauma.
When you try to rush through their perceived crisis (or skip it entirely) it can escalate the situation into a true crisis.
This usually takes MUCH longer than if you had handled it properly in the first place.
HOW CAN YOU USE THIS INFORMATION?
First: When someone is in crisis mode, stop what you are doing and deescalate the situation.
Second: Teach your staff and coworkers to do the same.
Above, watch a video from one of our trainings explaining this concept above.
Have a fantastic week!