The Art of Strengths Coaching

G is for Going Again

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Great workers are determined and overcome disappointments. Sometimes it can be a cliché for sports teams, for example, to react to a setback by saying:

“We did our best. We will take time to recover. We will then go again.”

Whilst this may be a cliché, it is an attitude embodied by many people who do superb work. They take time to rest, reflect and recover. They then get up and go again.

Different people do this in different ways. They may recover from an illness, show persistence in the face of challenges, create a new career after losing a job or whatever.

Viktor Frankl had the notes for his books taken when he was imprisoned in a concentration camp. He continued writing these books in his head, however, and emerged to produce the remarkable Man’s Search For Meaning.

Legend tells us that Buddhaghosa wrote the Visuddhimagga, one of the key works in Buddhism, three times. His first two attempts were stolen, but this gave him the opportunity to write the book again. The final version proved to be grounded and full of wisdom.

Looking back on your life, when have you chosen to respond to a setback by going again? What did you do to recover and then go forwards? What happened as a result of taking these steps?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to focus on the following things.

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Liz Murray is somebody who embodies the ethic of going again. Described as the person who went from homelessness to Harvard, she grew up in the Bronx with parents who were addicts.

She was surrounded by challenges, but she always had dreams. The video below provides a short extract from a speech she gave at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Here are excerpts from the article. You can find it at:

http://www.depauw.edu/news-media/latest-news/details/15641/

“It’s not about Harvard, it’s not about a prestigious school,” says Liz Murray of her incredible and uplifting life story, which she shared with an audience at DePauw University tonight.

“It’s not about that. It’s about learning, about educating yourself and gathering enough knowledge to find your way through any little crack or crevice you possibly can so you can move up and escape from that trap you were born into.” 

Murray detailed how she was born to drug-addicted parents, and how as a child, living in squalor, her parents and everyone she knew was living month-to-month on government checks.

Despite the tumultous environment in which she was raised, Murray says she has always loved her parents. Her life, already in disarray, unraveled quickly when her mother was diagnosed with HIV.

Her mother moved out, her father went to a homeless shelter, and Murray, then a young teen, was sent to a group home. 

Her unpleasant experiences there led her to run away and she lived on the streets of New York City, eating out of dumpsters and sleeping at friends’ houses or on subway trains, but in her own words, “going nowhere.” The year Murray turned 16, her mother died, and her view of life changed.

“I got the sense that my life was in my own hands,” she told her DePauw audience.

Liz described her subsequent journey in her book Breaking Night. It was also made into a film called Homeless To Harvard: The Liz Murray Story.

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Liz has moved on to focusing on how to provide opportunities for young people. Here is a longer video in which she talks about the power of possibilities.

You will have your own approach to being persistent. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Looking ahead, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to go again. 

Describe the specific things you can do then to go again. 

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of you going again.

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