Sheryl Sandberg has worked at Google and is the COO of Facebook. She wrote her previous book, ‘Lean In’ as a way of encouraging women to shatter glass ceilings everywhere. However, when her beloved husband Dave died suddenly while they were on vacation, her world shattered in ways she had never imagined was possible. She reached out to a friend, Adam Grant a psychologist, Wharton professor, prolific author and great guy extraordinaire. Together they wrote Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.
In this book she talks about how shocked and horrible she felt when she finally experienced a moment of joy after Dave’s death and he wasn’t there to share it. She talks about the resilience of her children and how they continue to work together as a family to be there for each other through emotional ups and downs. She talks about the importance of resilient communities and how much more organizations can do, and should do, to allow people time to grieve and to provide important support when their worlds become broken. She talks about how she felt when others offered her platitudes and what she wishes they had done instead. She also talks about the policies she is influencing at Facebook to move in this direction.
Though everyone makes their own decisions about when and where they want to share their feelings, here the author writes that there is a lot of evidence which speaks about traumatic events that improves the mental and physical health, helps people understand their own emotions and feel understood by others.
Psychologist Martin Seligman found that three P’s can stunt recovery:
· PERSONALIZATION–the belief that we are at fault;
· PERVASIVENESS – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life;
· PERMANENCE – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever.
If these three P’s are addressed by the griever and their support system, the less likely they are to get depressed, the better they are equipped to cope with their grief and move forward.
When a loved one dies, we expect to be sad. We expect to be angry. What we don’t see coming–or at least I didn’t–is that trauma can also lead to self-doubt in all aspects of our lives. This loss of confidence is another symptom of pervasiveness: we are struggling in one area and suddenly we stop believing in our capabilities in other areas. Primary loss triggers secondary losses.
Of course that’s wildly counterproductive in many ways. It takes a huge amount of energy to suppress your emotions. It creates less meaningful relationships, which means you have less trust, you have less connection. That’s not good for any kind of interdependent work.
This book is as much about helping others as it is about helping ourselves. That’s one of the critical roles that leaders have. There are lessons for leaders who want to make organizations more resilient, help employees recover from a loss — or crisis — and create workplaces that are more prepared to deal with failure.
The best chance at a successful launch actually comes after the failure. And the bigger the failure, the better your odds of a successful launch on your next attempt. Not only do we learn more from failure than success, we learn more from bigger failures because we scrutinize them more closely. When everybody is taking a close look at what went wrong and how to fix it, then you’re much more likely to be vigilant. To be resilient after failures, we have to learn form them. Most of the time, we know this; we just don’t do it. We’re too insecure to admit mistakes to ourselves or too proud to admit them to others. Instead of opening up, we get defensive and shut down. A resilient organization helps people overcome these reactions by creating a culture that encourages individuals to acknowledge their missteps and regrets.
We typically see leaders go to two extremes. One is they try to pretend nothing has happened, which is not good. The other is they try to take the entire load of work or responsibility off the person’s plate.
I read that after the death of a loved one, only 60 percent of private sector workers get paid time off–and usually just a few days. When they return to work grief can interfere with their job performance. The economic stress that frequently follows bereavement is like a one-two punch. In the United States alone, grief-related losses in productivity may cost companies as much as $75billion annually All over the world there is cultural pressure to conceal negative emotions. In China and Japan, the ideal emotional state is calm and composed. In the United States, we like excitement (OMG!) and enthusiasm (LOL!). Admitting that you’re having a rough time is “almost inappropriate.” American culture demands that the answer to the question ‘How are you?’ is not just ‘Good.’ … We need to be ‘Awesome.’ … There’s this relentless drive to mask the expression of our true underlying feelings. – David Caruso.
I find this a little inhumane, because a person has lost someone who was very close to them and they need support both mentally & physically and instead the company expects them to turn up at the work place just after few days. Offering support through personal hardships helps employees become more committed to their companies.
The best thing I loved in this book is that, “I didn’t have to aim for perfection. I didn’t have to believe in myself all the time. I just had to believe I could contribute a little bit more…Over the years.” and this is what I would like to implement in my life…Over the years.
Sandberg and Grant wrote. “Rather than waiting until we’re happy to enjoy the small things, we should go and do the small things that make us happy.” When you seize more and more moments of happiness, you find that they give you strength. Counting our blessings doesn’t boost our confidence or our effort, but counting our contributions can. Counting blessings can actually increase happiness and health by reminding us of the good things in life. I believe that this is because gratitude is passive: it makes us feel thankful for what we receive. Contributions are active: they build our confidence by reminding us that we can make a difference. Acknowledging blessings can be a blessing in and of itself.
When we look for joy, we often focus on the big moments. Graduating from school. Having a child. Getting a job. Being reunited with family. But happiness is the frequency of positive experiences, not the intensity. In a twelve-year study of bereaved spouses in Australia, 26 percent managed to find joy after loss as often as they had before. What set them apart was that they re-engaged in everyday activities and interactions. When parents treat failure as an opportunity to learn rather than an embarrassment to be avoided, kids are more likely to take on challenges.
Joy is not just a contributor to happiness. It really is a source of strength. When we have more joy in our lives, it’s part of what makes life worth living.
Life is never perfect, and doesn’t always go according plan, and Sandberg writes, “We all live some form of Option B. This book is to help us all kick the s*** out of it.”
This Article is written By : Ashima Bangur