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Resilience as Strategy: Strengths and Difficult Life Events

Resilience as Strategy: Strengths and Difficult Life Events

Webcast Details

  • What does true resilience after a difficult life event look like?
  • How can a strengths-based approach help you cultivate resilience, even in your darkest days?
  • What role can partnerships play in elevating your strengths and moving you toward resilience?

Resilience is not a quick fix or a bounce-back; it's a strategy, according to author and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Laura Everest. Laura should know: She suffered severe injuries in an accident 8 years ago whose effects have continued to this day. Although she has had many dark days during that time, Laura has discovered that identifying how you are truly feeling at a given moment is a key to moving forward, and a CliftonStrengths-based approach can play an important role in your resilience. There is great promise in applying your strengths to achieve the "little, quick wins" that align with overall sense of purpose for your life. Join us for an informative and inspiring webcast.

Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series -- Season 9, Episode 40.

What [my accident] really taught me was that we are so, so much stronger than we ever realized that we can be.

Laura Everest, 3:02

Resilience is ... about really going back to the basics of our emotions and our kind of basement behaviors and hijacked feelings before we can start to move forwards.

Laura Everest, 55:38

I ... probably have become more aware of options and people and how we can elevate strengths together because I've had so many things over the years I just haven't been able to manage on my own.

Laura Everest, 36:29

Jim Collison 0:00

I am Jim Collison, and this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on August 17, 2021.

Jim Collison 0:19
Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, love to have you join us in our chat room. And many of you have; appreciate you doing that. There's a link right above me on the live page. Just click it and sign in with your Google account. If you're listening after the fact, we'd love to have you send us those emails: And don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app or right there on YouTube. Just hit the Subscribe button; you'll get notified whenever we publish anything new. Laura Everest is our guest today. Laura is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and an international bestselling author with more than 30 years of experience beginning at Harrod's London. She spent more than a decade leading large teams. She has a successful track record for building talent and elevating business leaders and teams across diverse professional groups, market sectors and cultures around the world. Laura, welcome to Called to Coach!

Laura Everest 1:20
Thank you so much for inviting me!

Jim Collison 1:22
So great to have you today. Let's spend a minute, like, I think people introduce themselves the best. And so let's get the best of you: 2-minute elevator pitch. Give us a little bit of your background -- a little bit more than I just read.

Laura Everest 1:33
OK, so I spent, as you said, more than a decade at Harrods leading large teams, developing teams. And I've spent many, many years as a leadership consultant and strengths coach. Anyway, the point is, I thought I'd nailed it and I knew exactly what it took for people to thrive in life -- until unfortunately, 8 years ago in Dubai, which is where I live, I had a horrendous accident. In my spare time, I'm a runner, and I was out running one morning. I was hit by a car, thrown 30 feet. My feet came off; I separated my hamstring; I lost my lower arm; fractured my wrist; dislocated all my fingers; fractured my back. My mother always said, "If you're going to do something, do it properly." And I really did.

Laura Everest 2:24
And the point is that, you know, when I went into hospital, there was thought of amputation and they said I've never walk again. And I started working -- when I came out of the high dependency ward, I gave my first training in a wheelchair, completely bound, to 80 merchandisers 11 weeks after my accident. And over the last 8 years, I've now had 17 surgeries so far, but more to go, which is why I'm back in U.K. And, you know, I'm rebuilt with titanium.

Laura Everest 3:01
But the point is, what it really taught me was that we are so, so much stronger than we ever realized that we can be. And I think, you know, when we talk about the fact of strengths, it is so easy to just be accepting in who you are and what you do, and not realize that, honestly, the power of what you're capable of doing if you really want to. And I learned absolutely that resilience and what it takes to thrive is not a quick fix; it's not a bounce-back. But it is a strategic process. And I'm not the least bit Strategic Thinking; I'm Influencing and then Executing. But I've realized that there is still a way in which to understand how you tap into, you know, your strengths in the best way and to recognize where they go when you're in a really emotionally hijacked place, and use that very powerfully to come back. And that's why I do what I do now, because I've realized how incredible it is if you leverage your strengths in the right way.

Jim Collison 4:08
Laura, I think, you hear a story like this, you know, I, I, it's interesting the way, when you phrase your injuries, you're like, "my feet came off," which, like, they literally did, right. I mean, it was a terrible, it was a horrific accident for you. And I think sometimes when we tell these stories, it's easy to get -- we've gotten past that point and we try to sell, we try to sell it as like, "But everything's great right now." How much pain are you in, like, right now -- as, as we record this today? You know, the doctors always say, on a pain level of 1 to 10, where are you at today? And how much of it is pretty, is around all the time for you?

Laura Everest 4:49
At the moment, it's not too bad, but it's constant. It, you know, or, you know, or I think I'm sitting down and I'm thinking, "OK. Pain's not bad." And then I stand up and I think, "Oh God, I can't walk properly and my legs don't want to move." It takes a bit of time to get things moving again. I think that, you know, you can -- anybody who's listening who's had pain on a longer term, you'll recognize that you, actually your, your pain level changes a bit because you've become used to the pain. But I have learned very much to distract myself from it.

Laura Everest 5:23
I mean, you know, I think a lot depends on your strengths. I think, you know, I was mentioning that my husband has Deliberative as top strengths. And his pain is very much, mitigate risks; sit very still; don't move and pray it'll go away. Whereas you know, I have Maximizer; I have Achiever; I have Focus; I have Activator. They're all things that say, "Come on, keep going! Make things happen." So I'm forever working in my circle of influence to think, "What can I do to manage, to cope, to get around it?" But strength, you know, strengths are fabulous. But at night, you know, you can't do a lot. It is painful. And you have to find ways just to suck it up sometimes, to be honest.

Jim Collison 6:05
Yeah, that's today. Let's go back to, to the accident at that time; to the surgeries; to that, maybe that 6-month window right after it happened. How does one think about like, you know, you're talking about, we're talking about resiliency today. And we're talking about bouncing back from that. But you're in constant pain. You're in constant surgeries? How do you approach your, your strengths from that -- or how, how did they work for you from that perspective?

Laura Everest 6:33
I think what's really, really important, actually, is, you know, I think anybody who's listening today who may be a strengths coach or know your strengths. The thing is, we know how to leverage them when we are feeling great. But when you are emotionally hijacked, there's actually -- you know what you should do, but rationality just goes out the window. And it's very, very hard to reach for the strengths when you're having a really difficult, lost time. You know, there was an occasion, you know, I've had several surgeries. I've had an ankle replacement that -- gone wrong, well, hadn't gone wrong, but it wasn't healing. And the surgeon was trying to fix it. And I was -- been hooked up to a lot of antibiotics on a drip in hospital. I came out. And 2 days afterwards, my father, perfectly fit, center of my universe, just suddenly died. And honestly, I think that I was just, I just, everything went, and I just was at my lowest possible point.

Laura Everest 7:36
And I think, you know, at that, that stage, you know you've got these strengths. You know that you can do things. But it's very, very hard to reach them when you're in that situation. And so what I realized is that, and probably this is why I say, "Resilience is a strategy," because you, over time, you have to work on what, what happens best for you. But the reality is, you know, whether we like it or not, our, you know, obviously our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected. So the first thing I have to do is to kind of think, "What am I feeling right now?" We often talk about "stressed" or "fine," and they're just all catchment words. But it was really important that I got clear on exactly what was the emotion I was feeling? What was it doing to me? How was I reacting? How was I behaving?

Laura Everest 8:25
And then only when I could address that first, could I say, "You know what? I don't want this feeling. What would I prefer to feel? I need to feel that." "OK, what have I done in the past when I felt like this, that helped me get there?" And, "Right. OK, that's what I did. What strengths were I, was I using?" "All right, how do I do that?" So it really is, you know, to get there, you have to find a way to bridge that gap. And it's because the pain, just, it physical and mental pain just washes away all the logical things that you normally do, you know, when you feel great. And that was really important was to take it right the way back and really acknowledge and accept where you are right now. And say, "OK, here's where I am. Now, how can I deal with this step by step by step?"

Jim Collison 9:16
You say, you've said -- in all the conversations we've had -- you've used this word "hijacked." And is that what you mean by that? It, when the, when the pain's -- and it's not just the pain, it's pain over time also, that when it's every day, when it's consistently there -- is that what you're talking about in the sense that we, sometimes when we're struggling, and when we're suffering, we lose the ability of reason to -- cause it sounds good. "Yeah, I'm going to tap into some Maximizer." But the ability to do that when you're struggling. Is that what you mean by that?

Laura Everest 9:50
Yeah, completely. So, so really, you know, we all know that when we're upset, our mind goes to different places. We don't think logically anymore. We fall into familiar patterns of unhelpful thinking. We have this inner voice that tells us, "Oh, life is terrible! Life is awful, and you feel terrible!" And it pulls us down. And it's just how do we cope with that? What do we do to kind of get over that? And it's not a jump-in, "Oh, here's my strength; let's grab it." It really is being able to go back and recognize where you are and figure out a process. And I think the other thing that I found that was so, so important is to have a purpose, or you know, people talk about your purpose, your "Why," etc. But the thing is, it really matters. You need a goal. You need to have an end vision of something that matters to you that you really want to achieve.

Laura Everest 10:46
Because, for me, it was like an invisible rote that I kind of held on to -- that even though I felt terrible, and I couldn't connect to the things I loved, I thought, "There's a process. There's a reason why I'm doing it." And just, just do it -- one thing, little bit, step by step by step. And somewhere, eventually, you get back on track to where you want to be. So it was really, really important for me to have this goal, this insight somewhere, whatever it might be, and then just have little, little strategies that you know work for you -- that you just put yourself in, until you feel back into a place where you think, "OK, I can cope now. What do I do next?" So it was very important.

Jim Collison 11:32
Laura, you talk a little bit about the physical struggle, but certainly there's an emotional struggle in this. Does that, does that formula, I mean, physically, I can, I can set goals to say OK, to, you know, over the next couple of weeks, I want to, I want, I'm going to exercise or I'm going to do therapy to get to this kind of condition. How were you emotionally in this, just thinking about the pure emotions on the inside? And where did that put you, as far as an emotional state?

Laura Everest 12:01
Well, you know, it is really, it is so easy to allow your catastrophic thoughts to take over, especially when you're in pain. But the reality is, they don't, they don't help. All it does is serve to make you feel worse than ever. So you've got to find a way that all of our strengths will kind of give us a slightly different perspective. For me, you know, as I said, I have Focus and I have Achiever, and they were paramount for me to kind of say, "Keep looking at what you can do. What can you do? What can you do? Don't sit as a victim, because ultimately, everyone gets fed up with you. And the only person that's still struggling is you."

Laura Everest 12:40
So it was anything I could think of that I could do to help myself through to stop it -- the catastrophic thoughts and say, "Stop it!" Just concentrate on what you're doing here and now; let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. Just deal with little things at a time. And I actually used to keep what I call -- Stephen Covey talked about -- a Victory List. So every time I achieved something that worked for me, I wrote it, wrote it -- not just typed it; wrote it on a piece of paper. And I kept looking at that. So when I had a bad day, I thought, "Ah, but I know I can do this and this. And I've achieved so much." And it really helped to motivate me when I felt in a really low place.

Jim Collison 13:22
There's some -- a question in the chat word I, or in the chat room. I think you used the word "catchment" in something you, did you say that? What, what did, what do you what do you mean by that?

Laura Everest 13:31
Sorry, repeat that. What -- ?

Jim Collison 13:34
Did you say? Did you use the word "catchment"? Jasmine was saying, What's -- here, I'll throw that up -- What's "catchment words"? Maybe, maybe she misunderstood?

Laura Everest 13:45
Sorry, things, well, I guess, catastrophic definitely. But I think that, you know, we can use a word like, "We feel stressed," or "I'm fine." What does that really mean? They, they're a catch-all phrase, but they don't actually tell you anything. You know, what is stress? Are we, you know, how are we stressed? How are we feeling because of that? When we say, "I'm fine," obviously, we're not fine. Fine -- weather is fine. What do we really mean by that? You know, are we sad? Are we grieving? Are we angry? Are we frustrated? You've got to really get clear on what those things are. Because you can't actually change your feeling until you understand what it is and you accept it and acknowledge it. And sometimes we don't want to do that.

Laura Everest 14:37
You know, it's horrible being vulnerable. It's horrible feeling things, and we don't often take the time to analyze what that means for us. But it's really important you get to know it and say, "I'm in this space. This is what I'm feeling right now. And this is what it's doing to me." And only then can you say, "Uh-uh. I don't like this feeling. So what can I do differently that might help me get out of it?"

Jim Collison 15:01
So I kind of, what I hear you saying, a key to resiliency or to being resilient is to identify is to get a layer below those emotions. So in other words, I'm stressed, but why am I stressed? What specific is causing this? And then what actions can I take to alleviate it? What happens when you can't, though? You know, you're just in pain. It's just there. It just happens. What kind of strategies do you use to get past that?

Laura Everest 15:28
I think, you know, the first thing, as I said, there was this time when, when my father died, and I did everything on automatic pilot. I was in plaster, on crutches, trying to help my family manage everything, feeling terrible myself, but just do it. And about 2 weeks after everything, you know, funeral had been done, I had a complete meltdown. I just felt like I could sit at the bottom of a swimming pool and just sit there and ... And honestly, I think, when you feel that, you actually don't have to allow it, because you can't, if you try to block pain or stop it or try to pretend it's not happening, it's going to come out later; it's going to come out in different ways; it's going to be worse. So sometimes you've got to allow yourself to really feel it and give yourself permission to say, "I don't feel all right. And I am allowed to be sorry for myself. And I am allowed to scream and shout and cry and throw things" or whatever we need to do, first.

Laura Everest 16:29
And then when we've given ourselves permission, and we've kind of got out that worst of it in a way, then we can say, "OK, I've done that. But now what? Where am I going now?" And then you find your little tiny steps of things you can do that, it's like sitting at a bottom of pool and pushing yourself slowly back up. But you've got to allow yourself that awful time because we have to grieve. We have to be sad. We've got to get it out before we can move forward.

Jim Collison 16:58
As you're working with people now in this state, like you have, you've been through it. Now you have the ability to coach. What, what is, what, what's like the, if you were to help coaches help people who are really suffering -- and physically or emotionally, I think, and maybe those are -- well, let me ask you this question. Is there -- because you've probably done both. Is there a difference between physically struggling or physically, you know, being in physical pain and being in emotional pain? Are those the same things are those different?

Laura Everest 17:28
I think when you are in physical pain, it can, it does affect you emotionally, in that pain, you're feeling the pain. It can make you -- some people feel, "I have to -- because I'm feeling bad, I need to make sure other people know I'm in pain. And I might be unnecessarily unkind or difficult to work with or I may find it very difficult to share or to open up" or -- you know, it affects us in different ways. So I don't think you can separate them necessarily, because I think physical pain does affect the way you think; it takes over. You know, and you know, yes, a tablet or two may help, but the meds themselves if you or others have been on medication, you also know how awful that makes you feel. So it is constant. It is a mental pressure the whole time, and you've, you've got to look at how it makes you feel and what -- then say, "What can my strengths do to help me with this? Do I need people around me who can lift me up? Do I need time out on my own?"

Laura Everest 18:30
I have a friend who is very, very high in Empathy and struggles with, "I need people around me, but oh my God, I'm absorbing that energy and it's killing me." So it's really being able to understand, getting the person to understand, What, what do you need to feel at your best? What do you need? And how are you using that to help you when you're in pain? Because pain is -- it is -- it's completely debilitating.

Jim Collison 18:57
Yeah, I like that. What do you need at this moment? Like in slowing down? You know, I think it gives us a good opportunity sometimes to take a second and just live in the moment. Like, OK, what is actually happening? I think oftentimes we get in that either emotional or physical crisis. And we're just, we're, all we're doing is just responding. You know, it's, it's fight or flight, right, in that moment. And sometimes it's OK. I think we just got to sit in the moment and be like, "OK, what's going on right now? Like, what is actually happening to me?" What kind of advice -- OK, let me get back to that other question, then, as I derailed myself on that -- what kind of advice would you give to coaches who are working with people who are suffering in these areas? I mean, they, they obviously have a debilitating, suffering something that's happening to them. Knowing what you know, and as a coach, and both going through it, what kind of advice would you give to coaches who may be coaching someone in this?

Laura Everest 19:55
Yeah, well, I think, you know, as I said, we're very good. I mean, I, you know -- maybe because I'm Maximizer as well -- the first thing I want to say to people is, "Look at your strengths. What, you know, look at your successes, past successes. Let's push you into your strengths. But honestly, when people are emotionally struggling, you actually have to take it back. And you've got to actually look at when your, when your strengths have really gone into their dark side, when you're really hitting the basement of where you are. What, what happens then? You know, and really look at how that affects you, how that affects their thinking, the way that, you know, the behaviors, everything. And actually look at the weakness of it all first.

Laura Everest 20:39
And then say, right, when we can address -- when we've got here first, only then can we start to put the steps in to say, "All right, how do we move this forward? How do we go back now and look at past successes -- what helped me?" You can't do that you've gone all the way around the clock, and you have to work backwards. So you've got to go into where they're feeling right now, which is that difficult, dark basement, you know, of your strengths, feeling awful. And you've got to acknowledge that first and what it's doing, and where the triggers are. And then, and then turn it back -- so you can't reach for strengths.

Jim Collison 21:17
You had both physical calamity as well as an emotional calamity with your father passing away. It, I hope it's OK to ask this. But what, which, where was, where was the worst for you? Like, when do you feel like -- or do you know, like, when you hit bottom, and what did you do at that point?

Laura Everest 21:36
Oh, God, well, I you know, I am, I have Positivity in my Top 10 as well. And I am, I constantly work within, you know, what can I do? How can I manage? What, what options do I have? How can I be proactive? So for me to actually hit the basement of where I just, I just remember a day where I thought, "I can't. My life is over. I just can't do anything. I'm in physical pain. I'm in mental pain. I don't want to think. I don't want to do." And I remember my husband saying, "What, what's happened to you?" And I just let rip. I said, "I can't cope. I can't do. I can't think." And it was a horrible feeling. But you know what, you have to get down to that point sometimes. And you've got to admit it. And you've got to feel terrible. You give yourself the opportunity to feel terrible; you're allowed.

Laura Everest 22:29
And then as I said, I just went into, I don't know what I did exactly. I think I cried a lot. And I wanted to be on my own. And, and then afterwards, you know that time where you feel spent, you've done it all; you feel exhausted and you just kind of feel empty. Then after a bit, you can start saying, "OK, all right, so I'm here now. What do I want? How do I want to feel? How can I start moving forwards? What kind of things might help me? What things do I usually look for when I want to feel better? What have I done in the past that made me feel better when I was at a low point?" And you start bit by bit by bit, and you build something, and then gradually, you know what, why do I want to feel better? That's really important. If you have no motivation to feel better, you're not going to. So why do I want to? Why does it matter to me that I do feel better? What am I trying to achieve?

Laura Everest 23:21
And then you start -- your strengths then align with that. "OK, how am I going to do it? Well, when I've done this before, this has helped me. Let's try that now." And it's not about taking gigantic leaps; it's tiny, little, quick wins that just help you, until bit by bit by bit, those wins get a bit better and a bit better. And suddenly you feel more in control again. And it is -- this is why resilience is a strategy. You can't, it's not a quick fix. And as far as I'm concerned, there's absolutely no bounce. When you hit down that bottom, there's no, you know, quick -- positive thinking and wow, boom, I'm back up again. It is, sometimes it's clawing your way back. But it is a process. And it is very, very possible because I've had to do this 17 times. And it is a procedure that you know what works for you, and you keep applying your strategies over and over and over.

Jim Collison 24:18
It's almost, for me, I equate it with flipping a switch. In other words, you're, you're in this emotional moment and you make a decision. You, like, and you have almost some awareness. I think the key to resiliency is having this awareness that, "You know what? I'm here. I have arrived. And I'm not -- this is just where I'm at today. And I'm gonna make some choices to do something different. Like I'm, I'm gonna choose" -- Nate said this in the chat room -- he just said, he goes, "Notice, notice all the questions. She's constantly engaging the logical part of her brain to move out of the emotions." And I think there's a lot to that. As you think about your Top 5, Top 10 and the themes -- somebody had asked earlier, you know, where Belief is for you -- and, but it prompts me to ask you the question: When you're in those moments and you're flipping that switch, what are you, for you personally, what are you, what are you using to get that emotional switch flipped, so to speak?

Laura Everest 25:22
Oh, for me very much I dig into my Focus, my key, my key way of thinking is, What am I trying to achieve? What -- or my Achiever as well; there you go. What is it I'm trying to do here? What do I want to see? And I have that vision in my head of where I want to be. And then I say, "OK, so what do I need to do? What steps can I take to put in place to get me to that?" So really, for me, my you know, my Focus, my Achiever work very, very hard. My Arranger -- I'm always looking for a different way. My Maximizer -- how can I do it better? You know, and this is where it's great.

Laura Everest 26:03
I mean, on the other hand, when I was stuck in a wheelchair for 5 months, honestly, you know, my, I was going spare. It killed me, because I'm not somebody who, who sits around for very long. You'd probably guess, I have huge energy. And it was the most terrible, terrible time for me; I really felt grumpy and awful. And I had to use every bit of my Focus to think, What can I do to help myself here? What can I do? What can I do? So yeah, I mean, it's, you know, you can see where they work both ways.

Jim Collison 26:37
Yeah. I just don't think you can move forward until you've recognized the spot you're currently in, right?

Laura Everest 26:45
Correct. Absolutely. You know, one thing where I learned how powerful those strengths can be. So, after my father had died, for example, I was working at the time for one of the premier training companies in Dubai, as a consultant for them. And it was a training company, and they also used to do events. And as it so happened, you know, I happen to be musical, and I used to help them with some of the musical events that they used to do. And they phoned me from U.K. I was, I was thinking, you know, my father, you know, I was thinking of heading back to Dubai. And I was sad to be leaving my family. I was in pain, physically. I was grieving. And the company phoned and said, "We're in such a dreadful space. We feel terrible, but we've got this big event coming up the day after, the morning after you arrive in Dubai. And it's not in Dubai; it's outside Dubai. And it's for, I think it was for about 70 or 80 people. And it's this large singing event, and you're the only one that can do it. And we hate to ask you."

Laura Everest 27:56
And I remember thinking, "No, I can't possibly do it! I'm just not ready." But I have Responsibility sitting at No. 6, and Responsibility said to me, "Oh, oh, oh, you can't let people down." So I said, "Yes." And my family said, "You're mad, completely mad." And I cried and thought, "I'm mad. I'm mad." But I got out to Dubai. And following morning, somebody collected me from my company, because I was on crutches, in a cast, drove me the 2 hours to where this event was. And quite honestly, to get a crowd of people who have had a great night the night before, to get them on a Saturday morning or Friday morning -- cause that's my weekend -- to come and sing and dance at 8:30 in the morning, you know, that's quite a challenge, even if you're feeling great. OK, so now there I am on the stage with my big cast and my crutches.

Laura Everest 28:55
And I thought, "Oh, my days, what am I going to do?" But in actual fact, my Focus, right, straightaway, "It's got to happen. What do I need to do?" And do you know what? I didn't just do a good job; I did an amazing job. And they were really, the clients were amazed. They loved it! And at the end of that, I thought, it just shows you, when you really channel your strengths to everything you've got into where you need to go, it just shows you the power. And it was fabulous for me, because it showed me that you know what, what a great thing to have gone to do that, because it gave me the understanding that you push yourself and leverage your strengths. You can achieve all sorts of stuff. You know, it's just amazing!

Jim Collison 29:40
Yeah. Any failures in there? You know, it's easy to bring up the successful examples. But as you kind of think about resiliency, it's about failing too. Any examples where you think, like, Yeah, I did all the things right and it, it still didn't work out and I had to come back around?

Laura Everest 29:58
Oh, yeah. I, you know, the one thing that I really struggled with, with all my fantastic strengths, is complete lack of patience. So for me, if, you know, I want to be better now! I want this to happen now! You know, I didn't realize actually that, that they never thought I would walk again. And when they told me I could get up and walk, I practiced every day till I was back up on crutches. But the reality was 5 months in a wheelchair. Honestly, I'm sure I was just horrendous to be around unless I was working and distracted. Because I have no patience. It's just a virtue that has escaped me. And I think if ever, you know, the good Lord sends us here for a reason; I reckon I'll have many lives coming back to learn that one. So yeah, that was a real devil for me. And it put me in, in my strengths in their worst light sometimes.

Jim Collison 30:55
It's a good, I think it's a good example. We, we do these programs. And sometimes we only highlight the great stuff and don't realize, you know, in the, in my running years, it took the disastrous 20-mile practice runs to be able to run the full marathon, right? You had to go out and grind it through in the pain and, and I think we just have to remember too, we got to fail through some of those moments. They're not going to all be successful. Not every situation is you going and singing and the crowd loves it. You have those moments, you know, we kind of, we came close this morning on just kind of like giving up on this, right, giving up on this interview. I told folks I tricked the internet. I quit, and the internet said "Oh, OK," and it stopped paying attention. And then we were able to get this thing through.

Jim Collison 31:42
Lisa asks a great question. And we spent a lot of time talking about you, but what kind of partnerships did you use in order to get through? How are, how important were the partnerships that you had? And maybe you can highlight one as, you don't do this alone, right? Kind of takes folks to help pull this through. What kind of partnerships did you lean on?

Laura Everest 31:59
Oh, lots and lots and lots, for different things. So, for example, I mean, I, my Empathy is really low, you know. I don't easily, you know, feel sorry for people. I, you know, I think sometimes I wish I could. I thought my accident would make me feel more empathetic and understanding. In fact, it's, it hasn't; it's made me recognize that, in fact, there's a lot we can do. Don't complain. But I actually needed people around me who were empathetic. I needed a few people to hold my hand and tell me I was going to be OK and that, you know, they thought I was great, and they had friends who held my hand and rubbed my back. Yeah, I needed that sometimes.

Laura Everest 32:41
I also really, you know, my, my husband has Analytical and Deliberative and Achiever. And his, his way of thinking is, "What does she need? Ooh, she needs ramps; we have a wheelchair. And she'll need this and that." So everything was a process. And he'd got ramps here and done this and done that. I needed that, because without him, I wouldn't have got anywhere. You know, I, so I really, really looked for people's -- different strengths from people. I mean, I needed people who also could help me say, "Come on, Laura. You've got this! Keep going, keep going! You've got the strengths. So I think that I'm, it wasn't just one or two partnerships; I needed lots. And I really wanted to be around people who, who could lift me up in whatever format that was, and also those wonderful Relationship Building people who just had my back, that was just wonderful!

Jim Collison 33:38
Any, and as you think about -- well, I love the example that you bring up with your husband, because it, the, it becomes very practical at that point. In other words, sometimes there's just things that need to get done. Right. It's great that, like, there's someone there to help me and emotionally and, you know, help me to smile. But sometimes the wheelchair just has to get in the door. Right? How important are those strategic partnerships in, you know, as we think about the work that you're doing? And, and maybe it's not your husband, but maybe somebody you work with, or somebody in organizations. How important were those relationships that actually helped you get things done?

Laura Everest 34:19
Oh, it was really important, because you know, when I, even when I went back into, into the workplace, for example, I was in a wheelchair for a long time. I did get back to work quite quickly. And even when I came out of, out of the wheelchair, I've spent the last 8 years on and off crutches, and my job has taken me around the world. So I'm on crutches on the plane. I've learned to go in the back entrance of an airplane. I thought at first I was going to be sitting in the hold next to the luggage. But I've got used to doing lots of different things.

Laura Everest 34:50
But I have recognized that, you know what, you can't always do things on your own. I was always so independent, and suddenly you realized, but I need help. And I need to reach out. And there are people who can help me in different ways, whether it was strategically planning a trip that I had for me, so that everything was in place that I needed, or whether it was physically, you know, helping me with my luggage, or whether -- there's, you know, there's all kinds of partnerships.

Laura Everest 35:20
But the most important thing is that I recognized is that even if you think you've got it all covered, and you're used to doing things for yourself, it's hard to be vulnerable. But there are times that we're actually all a lot more vulnerable, I think, than we possibly realize. And it's really important that we look for different opportunities, different partnerships, and how we can collaborate. And I actually probably have become more aware of options and people and what, how we can elevate strengths together because I've had so many things over the years I just haven't been able to manage on my own. And it's made me far, far more aware of how we can work together, whether it was in a team at work, or through friendships, or whatever it is.

Laura Everest 36:08
And I think it's, you know, there are so many options that we do, but we don't always look. And I think one of our big failings is we're so busy doing, we don't always ask for help, either. We just -- we don't always like to ask. And yet it's so important. And we can achieve so much more, often, if we, if we do. And most people want to help.

Jim Collison 36:31
I find, when I'm working with individuals and they say these key phrases that we've talked about here, "I'm stressed," or "I'm angry," I want to avoid those. Like, I immediately try to change the subject. I think what I'm learning from you through this, our time together today, is to just stop for a second and say, "What's going on?" Like, "What's happening?" Like, "Just tell me, tell me more about that, like, let's dig into this thing; let's call it for what it is." It's kind of teaching me a little bit of like asking that question of, because I just, I'm not naturally built that way. And yet I interview people for a living, like, that's what I do.

Jim Collison 37:08
Now, it's a lot easier when we have this all set up and we have notes and everything's favorable. It's a lot harder -- and you probably know this -- it's a lot harder when the person's really suffering. And you're like, Do I really want to ask these questions? Do I really want to open this up, you know, open this flower up? Because I think it's beautiful on the inside; we're just afraid in that moment to go, "Tell me more about it." Because there's, there's a lot of fear in that. Jasmine asks a great question in the chat room, and I want to get your opinion: Is patience connected or related to resilience? So as we think about this idea of patience, talk, how do you see that, or for you -- you've admitted you're not very patient in that. Right? So how do you see, how do you see that?

Laura Everest 37:55
No, to me, well, I mean, yes, there, there is a, there is a degree, I guess, of patience in resilience. As I said, it's not something that I have. But I learned; I'm really resilient. But I think, as I said to you, I'm, I'm, you know, resilience is a strategic process. And it's figuring out what -- everyone's is different. Your journey is different. It depends what your strengths need to get you through. So you can learn -- I studied positive psychology and I worked, I, you know, with, I worked on resilience and learned optimism. And there are a lot of strategies. And I know the strategy. But at the end of the day, we can all know a strategy, but we need to be motivated to want to actually fulfill that.

Laura Everest 38:44
You know, for example, you may find that sometimes, you know, there's that expression, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." So somebody's got to want to be motivated. And that's when your strengths come in. You align them to where you're going. And I think that, if you do that, it makes you resilient. Everything's a choice. We have choices; we've got to make the choices. And yeah, is it easy? Not always. You know, I think, when I think of every time now I have surgery, or I have a problem, people say "Ooh, you must find it so quick to be resilient." Or, you know, "You probably don't get upset anymore." I think, "Oh, seriously!" When that thing hits you, it's like this, you know, I feel sometimes like I'm in a bowling alley. Here that ball comes and, flattened you go. And then you crawl back up when the other one comes and back down.

Laura Everest 39:36
So the thing is, you still feel that awful "Oh." But when you know the strategies and you practice and you know what works for you, bit by bit by bit, you can reach for them more, I guess a little bit more quickly. It's not a bounce -- it's never a bounce. But, you know, patience, as I said, I, it's never fast enough for me. And that's my problem, because Maximizer wants to get back and have it better and best all the time. So yeah, so I think that, no, patience is necessary, but it's not the end of the world.

Jim Collison 40:09
Yeah, no, I love that. Look, we got a bunch of questions coming in. So let me, let me throw these out ahead of you. So Maghan asks, To your point about forgetting to ask for help, what ways did you find asking for, for help was possible? What, what strategies -- because it's, sometimes it's hard for us to do that. How did you get better at it?

Laura Everest 40:30
Do you know what? I have to be quite frank and say, it's still something I'm not great at. Because I think that my, you know, my strengths happen to be very self-sufficient, very strong. I have Self-Assurance as well. So I'm always thinking, "Yeah, I've got it." I, you know, and I'm normally the one that when, you know, if anything happens, people would come to me, and I can say, "It's OK. I've got this covered for you. I'll sort you out." So I think when you're used to being very self-sufficient yourself, and then you're in this place where you're suddenly very vulnerable, it's very hard to ask. And I think, you know, it, yeah, I think I, I started just little things. You know, "Would you mind helping me with this? Or "I'm struggling with that. Could you, you know, are you able to offer assistance in ... ?" And I realized that people would, you know, of course, I mean, I think if anyone was to ask any of you, you'd all say, "If someone asked me for help, not at all. Happy, happy to offer it." And yet, when someone says, "OK, then you ask for help, then." And we'll say, "Yeah. No, I won't bother."

Laura Everest 41:36
So we have to remember that people are willing to help; most people want to help if they can. And so I think, you know, we have to remember that, put that in mind, when we need something, and think, you know, "Where do I need help?" And I think if people can honestly see that, generally, you are trying so hard to help yourself, everybody's willing to try and get you there. You know, but it's about finding the right people around you, surrounding yourself by your tribe, the people who you know help you and who you invest your time with. And I think you just got to ask the question.

Jim Collison 42:14
Yeah, I think that's easier in a partnership, just to be honest. Like when you have a really good partner, and the partner can ask on your behalf, that, like, for me, I'm terrible for asking for help. But when my wife asks someone, "Hey, Jim needs some help, can you -- " it's just, it's just better. It's just better that way. So that's another, that's just kind of a strategy that I use. Kevin asks, It's said that resilience is built through taking care of ourselves. Do you find that true? If so, how do you do that?

Laura Everest 42:47
Yeah, you have to. Do you know what? I was, prior to my accident, I used to run. I mean, there's probably, some of you are probably far greater athletes than me. But I used to run about 50 or 60 kilometers a week, and I was boxing and training, and I was fairly fit. And I have to say that the surgeons have told me, because now, even now, they still say, you know, Every X-ray we look at tells us you can't possibly be walking on those feet, let alone doing sport, because they're such a mess. But they did say that I'd survived the accident because I was fit. And I'm really, I really think that when we take care of ourselves -- there's two parts: there's physical care and mental care, and I think the physical, the exercise is, it is so important.

Laura Everest 43:34
You know, when I couldn't, even though I was completely smashed and broken, I started working out as soon as I could by moving my arms and trying to do, eventually, you know, lifting hand weights and doing things to help lift my upper body. So I think, you know, if you're, if you use exercise, and whether you're a walker or a runner, whatever it is, that really, really helps physically to keep you strong; helps your body get together, and it does help you through things. From a mental situation, of course we need to take care of ourselves. You know, we need to understand when we're feeling stressed, because there comes that time when, you know, stress then becomes exceedingly adverse over a longer period of time.

Laura Everest 44:19
So we need to make sure that when we, we recognize where our trigger points are, and we have to recognize, This is as much as I can do. What do I need? What do I need, again, to be at my best? What, what do I need? I need energized people around me. That, that always helps. I might need time out on my own quietly. I have friends with -- who need to just sit and have journaling time or yoga time or meditation. For me, I need exercise. I need people. I need to be surrounded by stuff, and that helps me. So it's really understanding what you need, but that mental care is so important to keep us feeling confident and in control, and feeling that we're in the driving seat of where we're going.

Jim Collison 45:08
Lisa makes a point; she just said, Anyone else see the connection between, between the dimensions of wellbeing and resilience? And, and absolutely, Lisa. I mean, I think as we think of those 5 elements we've identified -- and it's not necessarily exhaustive; there are others as well, but -- as we think, they're absolutely tied, if we're suffering in any of those elements of our wellbeing, that will -- excuse the phrase -- but that will bleed through to how we're, you know, to kind of how we're feeling, you know, emotionally. And that, that, that disrupts our resiliency, I think, that, to be able to bounce back from things. A couple more questions. Lisa also asks, How does she use this in her coaching and consulting now? Does she have a particular -- do you have any particular exercises or practices that you recommend?

Laura Everest 45:59
Well, I think, you know, what I find really important is to try, is to get to grips first with how people manage, to get them to talk about what do they need when they feel frustrated? Because often, you know, I find a lot of the people that I work with are maybe at crossroads, or at a difficult place in their life. But they actually haven't assessed what it is that they're really fundamentally upset about or what they're finding hard. And I think that they, because like all of us, we kind of gloss over the emotional bit; we kind of move, try to move on too quickly. So I think probably what I've learned to do is to really kind of deep-dive into getting them to understand where they're really at right now.

Laura Everest 46:42
And it's only when you real, they really understand that then we talk about, Well, what, what makes you feel good? What do you need? And most people don't think about what they need. I find that in life we're so busy doing, we don't really think very much about what we need. We don't think about, you know, what, how to be our best, or, or let's say we do think about wanting to be our best, and we're constantly, but we're not really digging deep enough to think about who we are and what matters. So I think the thing is, when I'm coaching, I really kind of get back in that space first and figure out where, you know, what they really, really need. And then say, "OK, how do we build from there?"

Laura Everest 47:25
So I think, you know, when I was working -- for those of you who use Cascade with Releasing Strengths -- I was working a bit with Richard. And, and we were just talking about this, that the thing is, is to try not to jump into the strengths aspect too, too fast as to, you know, what strategies to leverage. But to go back first and let them look at where their strengths sit in basement and how, how they're managing that before you can start moving them forwards. And that's what I find I've had to do with a lot of people, particularly, you know, in the last year and a half, COVID has hit everyone mentally. And people have lost a lot of confidence. And I think when you lose confidence, that that's where kind of our strengths all kind of go, fizzle out, and we think we can't do it. So that's certainly something I found that I've, my clients have benefited from.

Jim Collison 48:15
Your book, pre- or post- the accident?

Laura Everest 48:20
Post-. So my book has been released, released in May. I was delighted that it became an international bestseller. I think it was because I'd really taken the accident and looked at how it was, with things that were affecting me. And, you know, obviously I'd studied positive psychology. I've worked at, you know, with Barbara, under Barbara Fredrickson at Penn University and learned about resilience and have really tried to marry, you know, what I was going through with some useful, hopefully easy, easily readable, and, you know, things that people could use themselves in their own lives, you know, in terms of our thinking traps, optimism, you know, just building the right people around you, you know, and how we cope.

Laura Everest 49:14
Because one thing I've recognized is that when we talk resilience, you know, for me, I've always thought of people, you know, Olympic people, or Navy SEALs, or people who've kind of done amazing stuff. And I think, "Wow, my God, that's amazing what they've done." But that's them. I mean, if anyone had asked me before my accident if I could cope the way I have, I would have said, "Yeah, not me." But the thing is, we can. But I think that we often don't think that we are able to do half the things we can do. So my book was really about explaining that, I'm just, honestly, I'm just an average person. You know, I work. I'm a mom. I have dogs and cats and husband and kids, you know, and everything else, and, and trying to juggle everything. And we can still do all these things. But it's just learning how. So that's where my book came from. It's just really to help people connect in and say, "It is possible."

Jim Collison 50:12
Your book is Rebuilt to Last. And I love the "Rebuilt" in that. Do you feel like the rebuilding process for you, as you've kind of put your body back together, has that also been an emotional rebuilding process for you, and realizing, I'm not going to be able to do the same things that I did? I'm not going to be able -- there, obviously, there are things you can't do today. Has that been an also, an emotional rebuilding process?

Laura Everest 50:39
Oh, yeah. The whole time. I mean, because every time you hit a low point, you know, you're still feeling challenged. And you still think, "I thought I'd, I was coping; I thought I'd nailed this." And suddenly, "Oh, but I haven't." And so it is; it's a constant. It's a constant evolving. Every single time it's evolving; it's looking at ways. I have to say, one of my key triggers still -- shouldn't be but still is -- is the fact that I can't run anymore; I will never be able to run. And when I'm kind of walking, I have to be honest, I can walk on crutches faster than a lot of people can jog. But when I'm out there doing that, and I see people kind of jogging paths, you think, "Oh, well done." Rather than think, proudly, I think, "You shouldn't say that. You should have seen me as a runner; I was really good."

Laura Everest 51:31
So I still struggle with this whole thing of not running. And that's really hard. And I think it's something I'll always struggle with. But there are things I can do. And, you know, I have to also face the fact that modern surgery is keeping me out of a wheelchair. I, in the future, it's possible I'll still face amputation. I think I've reconciled myself to the fact that, for anyone who's listening who's in a wheelchair for life, I seriously applaud you; you are stronger than I think I could be. But I feel that for me, if I had to face that, I would rather have amputation and have some hoops and get myself going. But the thought of sitting for the rest of my life would just about, you know, finish me off. So I still have to face these things. And there are still not a few decisions to make down the line.

Jim Collison 52:24
Yeah, it's not a, it's not a sitcom, where it's over in 30 minutes, right? I mean, you, you really have to kind of work through. You are dealing with this injury. You're recovering. It's COVID. You write a book. How did that, like, a lot of our coaches write books, right? How did you get -- how'd you push through all that to get, well, yeah, Focus, obviously, but how'd you push through that to get that all done?

Laura Everest 52:49
Well, can I just go one step further and say just prior to COVID, I decided to set up on my own as well, my own business. So I thought, odd timing. But in fact, to be honest, it was great, because it meant that I, I had to take time, and I had to do things and build things more slowly. But I'd wanted to write the book for a while. And I just felt, you know, I think anybody who's possibly listening, whether you're, you know, if you are working for yourself, you'll know what it's like. If you've been in corporate, as I had been for nearly 30 years, and suddenly move out, you suddenly realize that you who are well-known within your corporate environments and with all your clients, when you leave, suddenly you're on your own, mate. And, and your branding is not there anymore.

Laura Everest 53:37
So you've got to rebrand yourself, and you've got to rebuild yourself. And, you know, this was the whole things where my, you know, the rebuild has come in. You know, I've completely reinvented and built myself up. And I've been so lucky that I've, I've spent that time and kind of, you know, been able to do so many things that was writing the book, and I, you know, and doing so many, so many things. But that's my Achiever, and that's my Focus, and that's my Activator, and that's my Maximizer. They've all been working really, really hard for me. I have to say I'm grateful for them.

Jim Collison 54:12
Yeah, it's good. You -- lean into it, for sure. I don't know, necessarily, if you have to have those things to get the book, to get those kinds of things done. Certainly, that's what you've --

Laura Everest 54:22
No, everyone has their own strengths. And, you know, these are the strengths that I, you know, that worked for me to get me through it. But yeah, I was grateful.

Jim Collison 54:32
Laura, last question for you: If you were gonna, as we kind of head out here, if you were to give coaches any more advice or any more encouragement or any final thoughts on what you've learned, what would you give them here, on the way out?

Laura Everest 54:46
I think probably, you know, for, for yourself, if you, you know, we're, as coaches, we're so good at looking at what other people are helping other people through. Is also, you know, when I'd learned for me that when this happened to me, I still wasn't deeply connected with who I was and what I needed, because I was so used to being and doing for everybody else. So I would say, "Please take the time for yourself as well to know you and spend time on "you care." Because, you know what, you also need to look after you, if you find yourself in this situation.

Laura Everest 55:21
And I think, you know, as far as working with, with people, with groups or individuals is a reminder that, you know, when it comes to now, where people still are not feeling very resilient -- this world is not in that place yet -- it's a reminder that resilience is not a quick fix. It is a strategic process. And it is about really going back to the basics of our emotions and our, our kind of basement behaviors and hijacked, you know, feelings before we can start to move forwards. And it's really about going right the way back first and looking at that before being able to put in the strategies and the structures to move people through on, on, on their, on how their strengths can help them.

Jim Collison 56:07
I think, I think very well said. Thank you for coming on today, being a part of this. Thanks for having some resiliency in the process of getting this done. This morning, I woke up with no internet at my house; we were completely down. And of course, then I had to, you know, scramble to kind of race in to the office and get some things set up. And then we had a little internet trouble with you in getting things going. But thanks for just a, I think just an example of a little bit of resiliency, of saying, "Well, things are what they are." At one point, I think I'd even kind of given up. But we, it was like, "Well, no, maybe this, maybe this will work." And I think just a microexample of how we can, how we can kind of push through these things. And so, Laura, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it.

Laura Everest 56:50
Thank you so much for having me. It's been lovely. Thank you, Jim!

Jim Collison 56:53
You are very welcome. With that, we'll remind everyone to take full advantage of all the resources we do have available now in Gallup Access. Head out to, and you can sign in there. We got a lot of stuff in the Resource section menu, upper left. Drop it down, choose Resources, just search for those there, and we got a lot of great stuff for you. If you're interested in coaching, master coaching or you want to become a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, you can always send us an email: If you, this is the first time you've joined us for a live event, and you're like -- and actually many stayed through, even though we went over because of the delay, many, many stayed over. If you want to join us live for these, head out to and follow us there, and you'll get a notification whenever we push something new. Join us on any social platform by searching "CliftonStrengths," and we want to thank you for joining us today for this very important -- and they're all important -- but this very important webcast on resiliency. Appreciate you guys coming out and staying -- most of you stayed through it as well. Thanks for coming out. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Laura Everest's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Maximizer, Achiever, Arranger, Communication and Focus.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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