Newsletter: Harness loss and trauma to find new energy

Mine the depths and find new energy sources!
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Treasures of post-traumatic growth

  • Meaningful changes in priorities
  • Deeper appreciation of existing relationships
  • Stronger sense of higher purpose
  • Greater life fulfillment
How do we access this wealth?

When we lose someone or something of great value or we suffer the deep distress and despair of harmful injury (physical, emotional, or mental), we experience profound interruptions that can rock us to the core: 
  • Our lives are disrupted.
  • Our identity is disrupted.
  • Our beliefs are disrupted.
  • Our relationships are disrupted.

These disruptions force new realities on us and challenge our current narratives of who we are and what we think life's about. This causes us tremendous pain and grief, and the loss and trauma can define us if we do not heal and recover to the point where we can do the defining rather than being defined.

Ready to go treasure hunting? Here are a some mining activities:
  • Immediately after the event: Talk about it or not. Depending on how you're wired, not talking about it may help you heal by not rehashing the event over and over in your mind. Or perhaps the opposite is true for you - getting it out might be your way of processing the pain to give you more clarity and peace.
  • When you're ready to recover lost aspects of yourself, try this exercise:
    • List qualities, characteristics, and abilities you possessed before the event(s) - aim for at least 10.
    • From the list, identify which you feel are most disconnected / least expressed today.
    • For each item, write a brief paragraph about why it’s no longer expressed as much as before.
    • For each item, describe possible people, activities, or outlets you could pursue to express those more than you currently do.
    • Rank items according to which are most doable and emotionally manageable.
    • Set goals of working through the list at a comfortable pace.
  • When you're ready for greater growth, deepen your sense-making: Work at fitting the events into your framework of assumptions and beliefs about the world so they’re more understandable, even growing your courage and compassion.
    • Explore 'why' versus repeating 'how it happened'. Why triggers a qualitatively different and more productive thought process; why's widen our scope of thinking and associations to consider larger existential, spiritual, or philosophical implications / understandings. A bigger picture helps us find meaning and greater internal peace
    • Ask ‘what might have been’ / counterfactuals; they help our minds exercise more abstract thinking which is necessary to uncover greater meaning; considering abstract ideas (ie. predestination, God, spirituality) help us make connections between different parts of our lives, to use analytic abilities with greater inclusiveness of intangibles to see a bigger picture.
    • All this helps break us out of rigid perspectives to consider a larger context to arrive at fresh comprehensions and new perspectives.
    • Exercise:
      • How would your life be different today if the event hadn’t happened?
      • In what ways could outcome of events been worse?
      • What factors prevented worse outcomes?
      • How grateful are you that worse outcomes didn’t happen?
These exercises can be painful but much like physical therapy after a physical injury helps strengthen movement and speed up recovery, so these processing, restorative activities can help heal and fortify your sense of self and understanding of life.

By positioning ourselves to define our losses and traumas, rather than being defined by them, not only will we access hidden treasures of loss, we will increase our energy for growth and change.

Get more and deeper explanations and examples with Emotional First Aid by Guy Winch.

Ready to elevate your leadership, strategy, commitment and execution to move forward and upward? Book a complimentary 30-60 minute session and let's chat.

Cecil Wong is a Certified Life Coach from San Francisco, California with over 25 years of experience in leadership and teaching. He works with children, families, individuals, organizations and companies, combining personal and professional development.

Life coaching is all about getting clear about your dreams and putting the practical pieces in place to make them happen. 

Family Connections Coaching is about achieving more of what matters most.

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 I’ve been meeting with Cecil regularly for over a year and have benefited greatly from his coaching help. I came to him unmotivated, unemployed, unfocused, and unsure of what to expect…During the meetings, Cecil guides me through a great deal of life reflection…giving me a better understanding of my identity and value in God – and how that impacts the decisions and outcomes of my life.

Most notably, I’ve recently been told on several occasions by my family and friends that they’ve noticed a great change in my connectedness with people…because I’ve grown in my capacity to love others and to love myself. I’m most proud of the progress that we’ve made in this area, since this has been particularly a struggle throughout my life and my personal resolution for 2012.

Great resource of accountability and valuable insight as my life coach for the last several years. Helped me achieve much more than i can alone and to just be in a better place mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Prior to meeting with Cecil, I would often find myself at the end of year dealing with the same unresolved issues with each passing year. Working with Cecil through my life experiences (struggles, disappointments, failures, successes, etc.) has been invaluable to me. The way I see it, progress in God’s gift of life to me and the growing capacity to enjoy it is priceless.

A few of the standout qualities of Cecil that I’ve appreciated and benefited from are:
-strong leadership skills to guide me to a point of clarity/focus from the most confusing and lost moments
-great capacity to help me make real-life connections with God’s truth should that be my desire
-flexibility in accommodating my schedule 

~ G. W., San Bruno, CA

 At the gut level, I know that nothing here on earth is as important to me as my family. Yet, there so many instances I fail to live out of my convictions or am at a loss as to what to do. It is so easy being distracted by other good things at the loss of the best. Cecil has helped me stay true to the people in my life I care about most. He has helped me realize that the way I relate to those closest to me, reveals where I am really at more than anything else does. I wholeheartedly recommend Cecil as a family and life coach. 

~ A.B., SF, CA

More testimonials >

Click on the gorilla for some of
Jim Collins' thoughts about B.H.A.G.'s:

Click this pic for some of my thoughts on a faith BHAG:


Pull the trigger on pursuing the dream of something bigger than yourself, that will rock your world and bless your relationships, maybe even change THE world! 

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