Even in normal circumstances, the stress of our workdays can take a sizable toll on our physical and emotional health. And these are not far from normal circumstances, making more of us that much more vulnerable. To fortify our confidence reserves, London Business School’s Dan Cable recommends we put together what he calls a “personal highlight reel,” gathering positive feedback from the people we have helped along the way. Collecting and reading (and re-reading) other people’s memories of us at our best can change the way we think about ourselves. And that can, in turn, help us make all kinds of positive changes.
Sometimes, personal trauma — recovering from a serious illness, losing a close friend, or struggling through a pandemic — can make you question your assumptions and change the path you’re on. But positive events can lead to post-traumatic growth, too: landing a new job, having a new baby, or falling in love. And, according to research, the jolts we feel from these positive disruptive events can energize us, boost our self-esteem, deepen our relationship with others, and enhance the meaning of our lives.
In Exceptional I develop a process for achieving personal growth through positive trauma called the Positive Method. The process is akin to listening to your friends, co-workers, and family eulogize you. No, this doesn’t involve faking your own death. But the process will probably make you feel vulnerable, squeamish, and uncomfortable. The task involves reaching out to people who mean the most to you of times, sharing anecdotes of when they made an impact, and asking them to share memories of you being the best version of yourself. You end up with a personal highlight reel: a set of memories of you at your very best.