Written by Lynn Soubra
Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming professional leadership development consultant and international best-selling author Laura Everest to our UAE offices to tell us all about her journey with 'thriving through disruption' and to discuss what it takes to 'win from within.'
Before an audience of dozens of gripped Bidfoodies, Laura tales her story, which started on September 11 eight years ago: Just as she was at a place in her life where she thought she had it nailed, on a fateful September day, Laura was invovled in a traumatic accident in Dubai which left her with severe injuries throughout her body - but more importantly - riddled her mind with debilitating emotional scars. This was the beginning of her journey to recovery: she was determined not to give up to the trauma.
Despite the 17 surgeries she underwent and the emotional rollercoaster she was strapped into over the last eight years, Laura went back to work. Unfortunately, shortly after, her father passed away. That was when she was asked a life-changing question "What's the point?"
That was Laura's AHA moment, that's when she realized that we spend so much time just doing, but do we necessarily think about our purpose? It was up until that moment that Laura's life changed from pure survival to downright resilience.
Curious about what resilience truly meant for her and the Human race, Laura worked with the University of Pennsylvania to find out more - these are some of her learnings:
- Strategically, resilience is being able to do something repeatedly when you're in a difficult place, knowing you'll find a way to bounce back.
- Every person has a system specific to them; resilience is not a one-off recipe.
- When one is emotionally hijacked (i.e., unhappy, stressed, or anxious), all rationality goes out the window. Individuals must find a process of what works for them and that they can rely on.
- Rather than looking at deficits, we must focus on what wedo well - that's when the mind opens and moves them away from threat.
- Unless we recognize how they're feeling and what it's doing to them, they cannot begin to move forward.
- We must push the right buttons to get to where they're supposed to be.
Laura understood that to unlock her full potential as a person and as a professional, she must find, recognize and appreciate her strengths.
Thanks to CliftonStrengths Assessment, she was able to identify Achieving, Activating (don't talk about it, make it happening), and Focusing as her strengths, which she used to her advantage every time she was feeling down. " We are all here to put a dent in the world," Laura insists, "We all have incredible inner resources that we don't know we have." According to her, people are so busy doing what they are conditioned to do that they forget about the incredible amount of talent stored within them, which remains untapped: this leads to our talent being undervalued and underutilized. "We're all born with a predisposition for greatness," she adds.
The road to resilience and introspection can be summarized into:
- Humans tend to get stuck doing what we think we're supposed to be doing without understanding our purpose and strengths - which almost automatically leads to burnout.
- Trying to fix a weakness is a vicious cycle - we must find their strengths and make a conscious effort to leverage on them
- Success comes from our strengths. Are we tapping the right buttons to make things happen?
- We must dissect our issues into tiny manageable pieces - only then will we realize we are a lot more in control of things that trouble us.
A mixture of her personal story and studies to help people in time of stress, Laura's best-selling book, Rebuilt To Last: Choose To Flourish, describes her ever-evolving journey of beating the odds as well as her trials and tribulations along the way: which hopes to help readers recognize that resilience is much more than just 'feeling better' or 'getting over it' but instead, is a personal journey of introspection and effort to stand up each time we are knocked down.
What she does
She highlights where organisations and their people are at their best, recognises what makes them uniquely powerful, how to manage what is getting in the way of their success and how to leverage their strengths to develop resilient, authentic leaders and high-performing teams, who thrive in today’s business.
She has been working closely with Dubai One TV during the last few months to promote Resilience, Well-being, and Engagement during this challenging time.
If Laura could solve her biggest issues, what would her future look like?
"Wouldn’t it save you so much time and effort if you knew exactly what buttons to push, the self-assurance in knowing where your greatest potential lies, enabling you to focus on the right things to accomplish your goals?"
THANK YOU, LAURA, FOR SHARING YOUR STORY WITH US AND INSPIRING OUR BIDFOODIES TO "WIN FROM WITHIN"