Podcaster and author, Heather Younger joins Kevin Monroe to talk about how to move forward after adversity. Heather spoke at the TedX Colorado Springs event recently. She unpacks how adversity led to her purpose and how she helps others to reframe their adversity.
Listen to the full episode.
How Adversity Led to Purpose
Heather feels depleted by all the negative news in our society. She remarks that we have turned into a society of being victims. By contrast, she chose to use the adversity she faced early in life as fuel to do what she was called to do. She is driven to help others move forward because there is so much more to all of us than any of us know. She feels that God created her to do exactly what she is doing today. “I can’t even be me if I’m not doing what I’m doing,” she says.
Heather’s North Stars
There are many guiding principles Heather lives by. She calls them North Stars. Two of her favorites are:
- End strong, never end weak.
- Uplift others always.
She comments that she came by these principles through her life experiences. It all started from the adversity: I am the person I am today because of my adversity, not in spite of it, Heather explains.
How to Reframe Adversity
When something bad happens, we each have a natural proclivity to either fight, flee or freeze. The first step in reframing is to allow the natural emotions to roll over you. However, there is a cut-off time: you don’t stay in that emotional mode forever. You move on to step 2 in reframing, which is to rethink that event or situation in a way that allows you to grow and move forward. Heather says that there are many ways to rethink what’s happening to us. Asking yourself questions such as “what did I learn from that? What can I do now because of this?” can help us see new possibilities. This same reframing process helps organizations and leaders to focus on rational ways they can impact the customer experience, rather than be discouraged by the things that are out of their control.
Reframing is Not Denying Reality
Kevin emphasizes the fact that reframing is not denying reality. It is letting reality sink in, but refusing to let it soak in for long periods of time. If you soak in it for too long you will wrinkle and shrink. Instead, focus on thoughts such as “what does this make possible? What’s a different path forward?” If you think that there is only one path forward after a bad experience, that’s being a victim. There is always more than one way to respond to any problem or dilemma.
Flip the Switch
A big part of personal, organizational and leadership effectiveness is to get a hold of your mind first. Once you discover what you can control after or in the midst of adversity, you feel a level of empowerment, like flipping a switch. 3 steps to start flipping the switch are:
- Step outside physically.
- Don’t soak in your adversity.
- Start imagining a new set of possibilities.
Heather R. Younger on LinkedIn