In the executive coaching industry, we often talk about resilience in the context of business and organizational development. However, in the course of our work, we often draw upon real-life stories of people experiencing the peaks and valleys of life in order to gain perspective. Sometimes we relate the stories of executives who’ve watched their companies falter and collapse, only to get back up and find a way back to success. We talk of immigrants who’ve worked to put themselves in a position to harvest the fruits of a life spent laboring to live freely and honestly. In our own sessions with clients, we relay stories from our own experiences to better relate to those we counsel.
We talk of struggle and resilience to remind ourselves that despite how bad the present may appear, despite the prospects looking grim in the short term, that there is always a way to rebound from loss or failure. If you’ve ever experienced a negative major life or professional event, you know how hard it can be to see a way out. The thing is, we tend to forget that almost everyone has the capacity to heal and bounce back from a setback. And so we tell stories about ourselves and of others, to remind us of the capacity people possess in overcoming obstacles.
Resilience can often be grounded in a process of vulnerability and acceptance, which after a time, can enable a person to gain the perspective needed to move on. Whether dealing with a professional setback, difficulty at the office, a personal tragedy, or even an unexpected injury or sickness, it’s important to take the time to allow the process to flow naturally and without inhibition. Sometimes, hearing a story about or from someone who’s been there can help reorient that perspective. Sometimes, telling that story can help just as much as being told.
Keep telling stories, and keep listening.
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