One of my favorite books of all time is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It’s a book I turn to and reread every year on my birthday, and I learn something new every time. I find that it’s especially helpful in times of struggle, difficulty and uncertainty—which makes it perfect for the world today. Here are some of Frankl’s words that can help us all find the confidence to move forward:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” This quote by Frankl is extremely helpful in situations where we want to change everyone and everything around us. It stops us in our tracks and tells us that we may not be able to change the situation or other people, but we can always change ourselves and learn to grow within our challenges.
“Everything can be taken from a man (woman) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” These words say so much. Everything can be taken from us, including all our freedoms, and in times of uncertainty it’s easy to feel that we have no options. But we always have a choice. As Frankl says so profoundly, you can choose your attitude to make your way. In turn, your attitude will strengthen you to forge forward from an uncomfortable and uncertain place.
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” Here Frankl provides an especially valuable insight: if a crisis or challenge is leading you to react in ways you normally wouldn’t, maybe your abnormal reaction is normal. When you face a new norm, uncertainty can make you do things you never would have considered before. However you respond to a situation, remember to show yourself compassion and kindness.
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” These words are a useful mantra in times of crisis. When the tension and uncertainty of life feel unbearable, look for meaning, for purpose, and pursue it. When you do, you will find the confidence to move forward.
Frankl, who was an Austrian Holocaust survivor, neurologist, and psychiatrist who died in 1997, is the founder of logotherapy—which translates literally into healing through meaning and provides a helpful framework for finding and pursuing meaningful goals in our lives. Frankl saw that the search for meaning can be a primary motivation. He believed that adopting a courageous attitude in situations of unavoidable suffering and uncertainty can give us the confidence to find meaning, and that when we find that meaning we are able to bear any challenge.
Lead from within: Viktor Frankl has been a mentor in my life. I hope you will allow his words to move you and give you the confidence you need to face uncertainty with purpose and meaning.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.