LD’s Perspective On… Post-Traumatic Growth

Personal Growth & Development | 0 comments

“The best way out is always through.”

– Robert Frost
How can trauma become growth? When you’re in the midst of something major — or something minor that feels major — I bet the last thing you are thinking of is that this situation you’re going through will end up serving you well, will provide an opportunity to be better, to live and to learn.

With a “factor 5” level of vulnerability, let me tell you how I ended up getting to that point: a few weeks after my divorce became official, I was sitting in Mauritius on a lounge chair at an oceanfront 6 star resort (not bad for a conference setting!). We had a moment of rest between facilitating client workshops so I took the opportunity to pull out a book that had been with me for some time. It was Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. The concept from this book that stood out the most was the idea that pain can equal purpose. What? No way! How could this pain I’m feeling from having gone through a traumatic divorce experience ever help me to find my purpose. I had put so much of myself into my life in Swaziland, into my relationships and into things that matter to me — how could the possibility of it all being taken away be a good thing.

In this moment of reflection on the beach, I took inspiration from that book and began to reimagine what my life could be and what it would be now that I had chosen a different route forward in my personal life. Living in Swaziland was like a dream, yet I was no longer bound to live there by any external forces. What else could my life be about?

  • Who do I want to be?
  • Where do I want to be?
  • Why do I exist?

These three fundamental, powerful questions hit me like a ton of bricks. Sure, I had thought about these things in my life before but something about that moment where I reimagined a way forward, it became crystal clear that I had to dig deep and find the answers to those questions so that I could move on.

The disappearance of one possible self can free us to imagine a new possible self.

My attitude towards life shifted that day — I wanted to learn from my experiences, pave a new path, become the architect of my future and adopt a mindset of growth. I also wanted to stay flexible and agile enough that I could deal with life’s inevitable pivots, twists and turns. Instead of focussing on the hurt and pain, I imagined myself being balanced — checking in on my emotions while also anticipating the future. Although it’s certainly easier said than done, I shifted my mindset from a victim of circumstance to accepting the new reality as it was in that moment. I started taking accountability and carving a way forward; I started to own MY story and knew that I could pivot whenever I wanted to.

As a coach, I take that moment as inspiration to help my clients through transition and change. Even though change can be messy, cloud the mind and confuse your purpose, it is possible to shift your mindset and reframe the stories you tell yourself. You can move on from ruminating, sensing regret, failure, shame, and guilt to reflecting on your experiences in a different light and being grateful that you went through them.

“Disruption = Opportunity”

HBR reported that results seen in people that have experienced post-traumatic growth include some of the following: greater appreciation of life; changed sense of priorities; warmer, more intimate relationships; greater sense of personal strength; and recognition of new possibilities or paths for one’s life.

Have you been injured and sidelined from playing the game you love? Are you experiencing heartbreak or heartache? Has COVID disrupted your life? Are you burnt out at work?
If you need help, I am here. If you’re curious to learn more, if you want guidance, if you are stuck, if you want a sounding board or a trusted coach, I am here.

Through coaching conversations, self-assessments and other proven methods, I can help you move through change to embrace the power to be intentional with the direction you want to take. You’ll learn to nurture your being, become aware of those around you (are they helping you grow or keeping you stuck?), to tune inward and get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Recommended Readings:

“Option B (Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy)” ~ Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant
“Growth After Trauma” ~ Harvard Business Review

Laura Dowling

Professional Coach & Facilitator

My name is Laura, but everyone calls me “LD”.
LD Performance Consulting provides emerging and experienced leaders, individuals and teams with world-class, customized leadership development and facilitation services that build confidence, unlock talent and improve performance.