From Victim to Thriver
Hi, I’m Jeff Gorter. I’ve always been fascinated by history. For some reason, that subject was always one of my favorites in school and while many of my classmates viewed history as a tedious memorization of dates and names, I loved it.
I think, for me, I saw history as an unfolding story and I always try to put myself into the scene— what it would have been like to walk the streets of Ancient Rome—what would I have felt sailing with the pilgrims? I still love history, but now as a Disruptive Event Manager, I also think about history a little more seriously. What would I have done during the Chicago fire? How would I have felt after Kennedy was assassinated? What if I, like one of my uncles, had landed on Omaha beach during D-day? How would I react? Would I rise to the occasion or crumble? As the saying goes, “These are the times that try men and women’s souls.”
You see, we don’t have to go back to these kinds of major events to imagine these same challenges. Each of us has our OWN STORY complete with events that we wish we hadn’t had to face. Some of those events may have occurred AT OUR WORKPLACE. It could be an armed robbery, a machinery accident, or a natural disaster. We don’t get to choose these events, but we DO GET TO DECIDE how we will react—how we will view ourselves in response to these events. We have a choice….to be either victims, survivors, or even thrivers.
People experiencing the role of VICTIMS describe a wide range of reactions that are uncomfortable and painful. They have a sense of being stuck—of being helpless, feeling out of control. They’re often ANGRY, and yet there’s often a sense of passivity about them as they’re overwhelmed by the emotional content of what’s going on. They are looking to the outside for somebody to come in and RESCUE them. There’s often an avoidance or a blame that’s involved. And sometimes they are stuck in a preoccupation with the past.
Please understand. This is not to minimize blame or dismiss those reactions, but these observations reflect their own SELF REPORT, and that they do not perceive themselves as able to make any difference in their situation.
Survivors, on the other hand, have a sense of HAVING GOTTEN THROUGH IT. They’re beginning to take control back. They describe an OPTIMISM about the future. Their emotions come in waves, but they’re able to manage them. They have a belief that they have the resources to live one day at a time. In fact, they’re defining A NEW NORMAL as they’re moving forward. They’re influenced, but not controlled by the past because their focus is on the present.
Now THRIVERS are those folks, who not only make it through, but describe themselves as having GROWN as a result of the event. They’re characterized by a commitment to moving forward. They are more self-determined, and they’re ACTIVE AND ENGAGED in their own recovery. They acknowledge emotions honestly and directly, seek peace and renewal as they’re moving forward. They have a HEIGHTENED COMPASSION for others and they’re OUTLOOK is to the FUTURE.
This might sound like a lofty response, but history, once again, is filled with examples, both big and small, of individuals, groups, companies, that did JUST EXACTLY THAT….They thrived in the midst of difficult circumstances and rose to the occasion.
It was Winston Churchill, who at the height of the one in bombings in World War II said, “We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.”
Our challenge, whether, you are a business leader seeking to pull your team together after a tragic loss—a bank manager walking alongside your employees following a robbery or an R3 Continuum Consultant going to a work site and delivering aid on a difficult day for those employees. Our challenge remains the same, to bring A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND RESILIENCE that inspires people to tap into the best of each of them…their innate strength…and the indomitability of the human spirit.
Thank you for watching this edition of Inside Crisis.