Almost a decade ago, my boss at the time said something about me that changed my life. “Matt thrives in chaos,” he said. “When others are paralyzed by the stress to the point of inaction, Matt is focused and gets results.” That one statement forever altered the way I look at stressful events.
His words came shortly after a particularly stressful 48 hours in our company. Our only server had crashed and for the next two days, our developers, my boss and I survived on virtually no sleep. There was no guarantee that we’d recover the data from that server. Second guessing and finger pointing were in abundance.
It didn’t feel like it at the time, but I was in my comfort zone. I was standing out as a leader.
Imagine for a moment that you are twenty-two years old, your entire life in front of you…and you’re headed for combat.
Maybe that’s not hard to imagine. You’ve been that kid headed off to war, scared out of your mind, not knowing what lies ahead. Most of us haven’t and we salute you for your service.
Before you go, you meet with a psychologist. It’s normal to do so. Their job is to prepare you for the horrors you’re about to face and, eventually, the return home. The psychologist tells you that when you return, there are only two options:
Return with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Trauma can be a perfect opportunity for growth. Don’t just make a comeback. Use it as a catalyst forward. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook
This well-intentioned psychologist has pigeon-holed this impressionable kid into forming only two paths in his mental map, average and bad.
We do the same things to ourselves.