This is from a text written over 2,000 years ago. A partial reading of the text says that we are afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.
No One Is Left Out
Notice that we text says “we.” All of us. No one is left out. No one is not afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.
Think of these in terms of teams and leaders. Webster defines it as grievously affected or troubled. Have you ever felt grievously affected or troubled as a leader or team member? You’re not alone. And it may not be the only time.
The text simply says that we will be afflicted. It doesn’t narrow the definition to a person, to a moment in time, or to particular circumstances. It simply says we will be afflicted. Webster’s definition talks about being grievously afflicted. The term grievous talks of something bad, very severe, or serious.
Even if we restrict our definition to seriousness, it can be crushing. For example, have you ever sat in a team meeting, as either a member or the leader, and dealt with an issue that seems inevitable with no way to overcome the circumstances?
These can be difficult moments with no way to avoid the bad, severe, or serious outcome. We may be faced with market conditions that we didn’t see coming or we are totally unprepared to deal with. In those moments we can feel grievously afflicted. We may take it as a result of our own doing or shortsightedness of what is happening in the marketplace.
I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about the tendency of humans to see in straight lines. Our assumption is that if things are going well they’ll continue to get better. If things are going poorly there seems to be no way to recover. However, things will change. Yet it can make us feel grievously afflicted along the way.
If there is no real way to avoid this feeling, how do we cope with it? First, remember that we will all be afflicted one way or another sooner or later. The ancient text says we will be afflicted regardless of circumstances. If that is the case, state it. Sharing that feeling with others helps us all cope. Once you identify the affliction, work together for a united solution. It may not be the best solution and it may not bring about fully satisfying results, but it’s a united solution and one that we can work together to create. Going to work on a solution helps us get past the affliction.
I worked with one company that had been an industry leader for over a hundred years. Because that was the case and they were thinking in straight lines, they didn’t see the industry changes on the horizon. By the time they realized it, the industry had shifted and, in the end, they ended up with about 40% of the success that had experienced for years. Many people on the team felt personally afflicted. But, once they started working together on a solution, they began to talk about how they had 40% of the industry. Companies would give almost anything for that kind of market share. Even though it was a huge blow to the history of the company, it was still larger than any company in the industry. Not really too bad in today’s market.
You will be afflicted. It may relate to business life or personal life, but it will happen. The sooner you can name it and work toward a united solution the better. The affliction will dissipate (until the next one hits). We will be afflicted. Expect it. Prepare for it.