Another Entrepreneurship Project of the  Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University

Seeds of Resilience: The Strength and Leadership of Sheryl Sandberg

Though Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, faced unexpected tragedy when her husband passed away unexpectedly, she worked through the pain and loss and recently gave a speech during commencement University of California, Berkeley. The topic was about her own personal ‘seeds of resilience’ originally a concept developed by psychologist Martin Seligman that focuses on the ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks by using the three P’s of: personalization, pervasiveness and permanence. Sandberg shares her own personal journey by identifying each characteristic and how she moved forward from tragedy with her strength.

  • Personalization: When you blame yourself for something negative that happens tht is outside your power. Sandberg noted that she originally blamed herself for her husband’s death—that she should have seen a sign or saw it coming. After learning about the three P’s, she realized that as business woman with a background in economics, there was no way she could have identified his coronary artery disease (even the doctors couldn’t).
  • Pervasiveness: The belief that an event will affect all areas of your life. Rather than focusing on the negatives, try to identifies the positive images/people/things in your life and focus on those instead. Sandberg noted that once she realized that she had an amazing support network and two amazing young children in her life, that “the gratitude took over the grief”.
  • Permanence: The belief that the sad feelings or grief will last indefinitely. Feeling sad and anxious can lead to compound, so that you’re sad about feeling sad and anxious about feeling anxious—she decided to accept her feelings and also recognized that they would not last forever.

Sandberg believes that resilience is a learned (not born) trait. For more, read the full article here.

Thanks for reading, and until next time… stay WISE!

1 Comment

  1. Love the article Lindsay and Sheryl Sandberg has been very open and authentic about her own process of grieving and what she has learned from her losses. Dr. Seligman’s perspective on optimism and resilience is an excellent one and important to share–these negative thoughts that can keep us stuck and prevent us from healing!

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