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Inspiring Story Archives

    "Single and Surviving" by Rhona Johnson
        Ms. Johnson shows directly how some of the principles in The Survivor Personality relate to everyday life and hopes her story will help others in their own journey to find contentment and peace of mind.

    "Here's the Story Behind the Movie FEARLESS"
        In 1989, on a flight from Denver to Chicago, the rear engine exploded minutes after takeoff and the pilots made a mercy landing in Sioux City, Iowa. Jerry Schemmel was aboard that flight and miraculously survived. He was surprised to see his story was made into a movie, but chose not to sue.

    "Growing Better and Better" by Gloria Nash
        In July of 2002 you published my story on your website. I continue to receive positive feedback from individuals all over the country with regard to understanding resilience. So much has happend to me in the past couple of years. I can't really say that I have achieved all of my dreams yet, but I have made enormous leaps of growth in healing my mental and emotional attitudes. Read her updated story.

    "Overcoming 'Victimitis'" by David Pendlum
        "It is actually quite difficult to lay out any given step-by-step process of how I overcame what I like to call 'victimitis.' The nearest I can come to a 'step-by-step' process is by analogy, the grieving/recovery process one goes through in losing a loved one. The process actually began at a very early age, and it took a few decades of life to truly make headway in moving from 'victim' to 'survivor.' So, if I ramble in what follows, please forgive me...."

    Aron Ralston's Survivor Traits
        Aron Ralston was the hiker who cut off his arm to survive a several hundred pound boulder which trapped him. An analysis was presented by the Oregonian on May 9, 2003 featuring the expertise of Al Siebert.

    "Butterflies Are Free" by Meredith Murray
        Meredith Murray experienced near-fatal car accident in 1995 and her life was changed forever. She thinks of her experience as a metamorphosis, like that of a caterpillar into a butterfly with her transformation taking five stages: the Egg, the Caterpillar, the Cocoon, Emerging From the Chrysalis, and the Butterfly.

    "The Journey of a Late Bloomer" by Gloria R. Nash
        A strong sense of self-determination allowed Gloria Nash to move beyond childhood polio, being abandoned by her parents, eating disorders, drug use and isolation. Her story shows that inside each of us we truly have the ability to heal and grow, if we are willing to face our own pain.

    "How I Survived the Deaths of Twelve Family Members" by Joanna K. Hill
        Within a four-year period, twelve of her family members died, beginning her my husband and ending with her son. During that time, Joanne was frequently asked, "How do you get through it?" As she pondered the question, she discovered that the rough times she'd been through in the past had given her seven remedies for surviving the stormy times and finding the rainbows.

    "Problem-Solving: Sometimes it Works, Sometimes it Doesn't"
        Psychologists have lots of research evidence showing that problem-focused coping increases resiliency while emotion-focused coping impairs resiliency. This means that when faced with a setback, unexpected difficulty, or challenge, it is smart to focus outward on the challenges that must be handled. People who become emotional and make their feelings the focus of attention do not cope well with life's challenges.

    "From Impoverished Distress to Cancer to Multi-Millionaire" -- Marion Brem's story
        In 1982, at age 30, Marion Luna Brem was a very busy woman. Married, with two sons, she was a full-time mother and homemaker, worked part-time as a switch-board operator for an auto dealership, and was taking college classes in Dallas, Texas. When Marion discovered a lump in her left breast, she went for a medical examination. She was told it was benign, but in the months that followed the lump kept getting larger. This story of resiliency has two messages. One is to show what a determined woman can do when she chooses to overcome life's adversities. The other is to emphasize how many times people who develop cancer have worked at an exhausting pace without let up.

    "The Beneficial Fire" -- Larry Newman's story
        When people are hit with an extreme, life-disrupting loss they will never be the same again. They will feel either wounded and bitter, or strengthened and better. Larry Newman's way of appreciating the benefits he gained from losing everything he owned in a fire shows how a resilient person can convert misfortune into good fortune. Here is how Larry describes a good/bad event in his life...

    "Necessity, the 'Mother Boyle' of Invention" -- Gert Boyle's Story
        In 1970, Gert Boyle, the president of world famous Columbia Sportswear, was literally thrown into her role running the company her parents and husband had created. She had little knowledge of business, enlisted her son Tim, and today, together, have created one of the largest sportswear companies in the world.

    "Caught in a Layoff? Help Others!" -- Cynthia Dailey-Hewkin's story
        A few days ago, over seven years since first leading a session on surviving during disruptive change (layoffs) at the Trojan Nuclear Plant, in Ranier, Oregon, I received the following e-mail from Cynthia Dailey-Hewkin, a woman who was in one of my sessions. Her story validates what can happen when a person does not react like a victim during a major corporate layoff and chooses, instead, to find ways to be helpful to others. She gives practical advice to anyone facing a layoff.

    "Testicular cancer was the best thing that could have happened" --Lance Armstrong's story
        Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor and winner of both the 1999 and 2000 Tour de France bicycle races. Lance was on his way to becoming the top bicycle racer in the world in 1996 when he was diagnosed with an advanced form of testicular cancer that had spread to his abdomen, lungs, and brain. Chances for his recovery were 50/50, at best.

    "My Personal Resilience Story" -- By Marshall L. Lightner
        Marshall L. Lightner writes: Each of us has a story where resilience plays an important role. Some people have life experiences that require more resilience than others. My life, like most others, has required the development of some resilience. I will give you the essential details.

    "Getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me." -- Interview with Jesse Reeder
        I met Jesse Reeder at a writer's conference about four years ago. She told me she was beginning to write a self-help book based on what she had learned from some powerfully transforming life experiences. She had been the CEO of a mid-sized utility company and abruptly fired. Read how she handled this upheaval.

    "I'd Do It Again" -- Suzy Kellett's Story
        August, 1975, will always be a month that Suzy Kellett remembers in vivid detail. It was the month she gave birth to quadruplets and her husband walked out. He left her in their Idaho home to cope with four infants by herself with no help and no income to pay the rent and other bills. Find out how Suzy used her resilient nature to survive these circumstances.

    "From Loss of Identity to Leader" -- Paul Wieand's Story
        Paul Wieand is a a man who truly "reinvented" himself. After losing his job as a bank president, Paul had an identity crisis that threw him into a deep depression. His transformative journey included going to graduate school in psychology and discovering the power of authenticity while conducting group therapy with high IQ people diagnosed as schizophrenic. Paul founded the Center for Advanced Emotional Intelligence in 1995 and is highly effective at showing executives how to break out of their isolating roles.

    "The Benefits of Breast Cancer" -- written by Marcia Keith
        Marcia Keith is a college administrator and president of her professional association. She writes this autobiographical account of what she found good in something perceived as bad.

    "A Resilient Spirit Saves a Job" -- Susan's story
        When it comes to the effects of downsizing, resiliency takes different forms. It may be to adapt quickly and find a new career direction or it may be to bounce back in a way that leads to a surprising outcome.

    "From Poverty to Prosperity"-- Ben Carson, M.D.
        As a fifth grader in Detroit, Benjamin Carson was considered the dumbest kid in the class. Read how his mother and a plan of action turned Ben into a world famous surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

    " 'Still Me' -- How Christopher Reeve coped with his survival challenges"
        On Memorial Day, May 27, 1995, actor Christopher Reeve was thrown headfirst from his horse during a jumping competition. His 215 pound body rammed his head straight down onto a jumping rail, and in a instant, he was a quadrapeligic. Several important benefits may emerge from his accident. His leadership led to a big push in spinal cord injury research and is challenged the long-held belief that spinal cord injury is irreversible. Read about some of the challenges Christopher faced.

    "What Do You Do After You Fall?" -- Suzanne Somers' Story
        Actress Suzanne Somers' early life was very difficult. Her father was a drunken, violent man, at age 18 she became pregnant, she married her boyfriend, divorced him soon after and spent several years as a single mother. She took any modeling job she could find and finally got a break with the TV show Three's Company. However, she found out, stardom can be fleeting. Read her story.

    "How High Can You Bounce?" -- Roger Crawford's Message
        Roger Crawford was born with all four limbs deformed. He never thought of himself as handicapped, however. "My preferred term," he says "is inconvenienced."

    "From Shock to Excitement: How a Job Mismatch Led to My Ideal Position" -- Tom Kelley's story
        Do you have an ideal job? Believe it is possible to find it? Read how Tom Kelley went from being laid off to finding his ideal position.

    "Dare Take Risks to Find Your Purpose!"
        Stephen J. Hopson tells his story of career and financial success--obtained despite a major 'handicap.' Read how he turned his 'handicap' into an asset.

    "The Dalai Lama: An Outstanding Example of Resiliency"
        On May 14-15, 2001, I was part of an intimate group of 4300 at the University of Portland for two mornings, to hear Buddhist teachings by the Dalai Lama. I came away impressed with him as a teacher and as a living example of what he believes. Although I have had some familiarity with Buddhism for many years, for the first time I experienced profound wisdom in Buddhism. I can understand why the name "Dalai Lama" means "Ocean of Wisdom."

    "Grateful Journey" -- The Story of Jackie Pflug
        Jackie Pflug survived being shot in the back of the head in 1985 by hijackers on EgyptAir flight 648. Jackie made herself lay without moving for five hours to avoid being shot again. Everyone thought she was dead, even the ambulance crew that came to remove the bodies. Read how this experience changed her life.

    " Gaining Direction from a Loved One's Illness" -- Nancy Linday's Story
        When someone in your life is stricken with a debilitating illness, you can either passively accept it, or actively do something about it. Nancy Linday, former champion road runner, chose to make the most of her mother Sarah's suffering from Alzheimer's disease by engaging her mother's mind and motivation.

    "Learn A Lesson, Find a Gift" -- Tom Peterson's Story
        Tom Peterson worked for many years to build a solid business selling television sets, stereo systems, and home appliances. When a bad business decision forced Tom out of business, he had a choice....Read how he coped.

    "Bloom Where You Land"
        Skip Wilkins a lean, tan, physically fit, self-confident athlete sitting in a wheel chair tells his story of how, at age 17, he broke his neck in a water skiing accident

    "Have a Positive Plan for Dealing with Negative Developments"
        How well or how poorly a person reacts to disruptive change boils down to an important difference in people. That difference is one's answer to the question "Who is basically responsible for the way my life goes?"

    "Trusting Your Intuition"
        Survivor interviews reveal that some people have a such a strong trust in their intuitive nature they will take actions they do not understand. Television star Carol Burnett escaped injury during the big earthquake in Los Angeles in 1994 because she trusted her intuition.