To tell people Sheryl Sandberg helped change my life sounds a little self-serving and hard to explain. Today, with the release of Option B, the entire world can now understand the powerful affect her ability to openly share her grief, and process her loss had on me. I lived her Option B real-time. I saw the pain, fear, courage, heartache, the waves of grief that brought her to her knees, and openness with which she dealt with losing Dave Goldberg, her best friend, husband and father of her children. As she shared her roadmap out of the depths of pain, I was able to step out of my own pain. She found a path, and I CHOSE to follow.
I had the great honor of reading Sheryl and Adam Grant’s book while it was being written. Each chapter left me processing years of grief I had not come to terms with, and helped me so clearly see that I was not a victim, I was a survivor. I had chosen to personalize my loss. My Mother found me in the sand box a few days after my father died and I asked her, “What did I do to make Daddy go away?” The script was set and it became pervasive in every aspect of my life. The personalization and pervasiveness of my loss, and other life circumstances that came with that loss, created a permanence that I carried with me every single day of my life. It kept me from believing in myself, from trusting people around me, and from really loving anyone, including me. It manifested in a lifelong struggle with food and addiction.
Sheryl and Adam included a small portion of my story in their new book, which is a great honor, but it is also a full circle moment. I am no longer defined by my past. I have immense gratitude for this journey I am on. I AM RESILIENT! Watching Sheryl persevere and fight for her own happiness and joy freed me from years of suffering.
I hope everyone will read Option B because we all live an Option B, and resilience is not something you are born with. Your ability to overcome life’s obstacles is a CHOICE, and resilience and gratitude are both traits you can build, expand and grow.
Today I am “kicking the shit” (as Sheryl & her friend Phil like to say) out of my own Option B. I went back to school graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and now have a successful coaching business, Happy Body Food, where I help other women build their resilience, learn to fight for their own happiness and understand that their life circumstances do not define them, but can be used to empower them.
Each day I am lucky enough to wake up I find a day full of moments where I get to choose. I choose me. I choose self-love, compassion for my journey, and I choose to be grateful. Life happens, and yes there are times where I do not get a say in what happens to me, but I always get to choose my response, and that is a powerful revelation.