By John O'Leary. This was originally posted on JohnOLearyInspires.com. When John O'Leary was 9 years old, he suffered burns over 100% of his body and was expected to die. He is now an inspirational speaker and bestselling author, teaching more than 50,000 people around the world each year how to live inspired. John's first book, ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was published March 15, 2016. John is a contributing writer for Huff Post and Parade.com. John is a proud husband and father of four and resides in St. Louis, MO. Order John’s book today anywhere books are sold.
The day after the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl, I had a call with a client planning a corporate gathering to finalize my role within the meeting.
As we wrapped up the call, I asked if he had concerns for how the coronavirus might impact the event. There was a long pause. Then a firm response:
“Man, that’s over there. It’s just not my problem.”
Merely a month later the virus has spread, borders have closed and economies have temporarily grounded to a halt. His meeting – and nearly all meetings – have canceled.
“Over there” is now very much here. The coronavirus is now very much his problem. And ours. And this man isn’t alone. Many of us have had seasons in our lives where we identify problems as “theirs” only to see that they are “ours.”
So what do we do next? How do we progress forward? An experience with a different client from a decade earlier offers some helpful insight.
This time my client was a large electric company. In previous years they’d experienced significant challenges with preventable injuries, workplace accidents and even loss of life on the job.
Our goal was to galvanize a group of toughened, independent men and women to slow down, be intentional and realize the only way to get better collectively is to focus attention not only on their job, but on the work of everyoneon their team.
Flipping the script on one of the oldest stories in the Bible, they decided to actively care for one another. Their motto became: I am my brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
For them, it meant they were responsible not only for their life, but the lives of those around them. They committed to calling out poorly done work, including their own. They would hold others accountable. They wouldn’t accept a colleague putting themselves at risk and would love them as if they were family.
That year the organization enjoyed historically low workplace accidents and zero deaths.
My friends, as headlines share fear, as social media shames and as the number of reported new cases elevates, it’s reassuring to know that at the epicenter of where this outbreak began, the spread of coronavirus is actually dramatically dropping. It’s the result of entire communities embracing social distancing, thorough hygiene practices and strict adherence to rules put forward.
These individuals have come to recognize that the best way to end this plight is to realize they are responsible for their actions. And, as importantly, that those actions have a direct impact on everyone else, too.
We are indeed our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
And it turns out, the novel coronavirus is our problem because what happens in one part of the world impacts the rest of it. Individuals focused exclusively on their own needs, desires or interests will exasperate the problem. But when we choose to come together we can create wildly important, life-giving change.
In time – like every other virus since the dawn of humanity that disrupted the world – this too shall pass. Then it will be our great work to ensure the lessons we’re learning about interconnectivity as a global family remain.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
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