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Road, Arvind Devalia, Goaly Blog

Overcoming the Pain…

Trauma is something nearly universal to humanity.

We talk a lot about trauma on Goaly because, as we gathered the step-by-step strategies from our coaches, we realized many of them had to deal with some level of trauma in their life before creating their successful coaching pracitces.

Trauma is something nearly universal to humanity.

What fascinates us most about these stories is the redemption involved in the trauma. How did they overcome the devastation they experienced? What mentality did they have in order to overcome?

We recently talked about trauma with Arvind Devalia, founder of Make It Happen, author of the Amazon bestselling book “Get The Live You Love” and writer behind the Make It Happen blog.

What, in your opinion, is the factor in a person’s life that makes them able to cope with trauma better than others?

Everyone is different and has different ways of coping with stress and trauma. Some people are just able to switch off as if nothing has happened, whereas others go to pieces.

A number of factors can make a difference here – such as past experiences of life, cultural and family background, spiritual beliefs and personality.

Man, Triumph, Arvind Devalia, Goaly Blog

Having a strong family-and-friends support network is a key factor — the person suffering knows he or she is not on his own and can fall back on the love and support from those close to him or her.

Sharing your feelings and thoughts with your loved ones will really help.

Share with us a traumatic moment you experienced. How did you overcome it?

Many years ago I had a number of life changes happen to me in one concentrated season of life.

The dot com start-up I was involved in with some friends ran out of cash and went bust, and at about the same time my wife and I separated. Also, the apartment I was living in was coming to the end of its rental agreement.

“It felt like I had lost everything I had strived to build in my life.”

The day my wife and I separated was the most traumatic experience in my life up until that point. It felt like I had lost everything I had strived to build in my life.

What helped me cope that evening was this: I sat down in the apartment which now felt so empty, and reflected on the question, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?” Though my heart felt like it was broken, I still had my faculties, my drive, my intelligence.

In that moment, I told myself  I would get through this and I realised that, logically, the only thing I could do was to focus on getting a new job and a new direction in life.

“I took each day one at a time and I slowly got my life back together again, day by day.”

And that’s what I did – I got myself a new job within weeks and was soon living in a new rented apartment. I took each day one at a time and I slowly got my life back together again, day by day. Those days soon became months and years -and the rest is history.

What are three things people need to remember as they work through a traumatic experience?
  • Ask yourself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen from here on?” Focus on things improving and remember that things are never as bad as they may appear.
  • People around you are willing to help – just ask for help and let them support you.
  • Take great self-care and remember to sleep and eat as well as possible – your body needs optimal support at this time.
What are three benefits of addressing trauma and attempting to work through it?
  • You grow and it makes you a better person.
  • You realize just how resourceful and clever you really are.
  • Your experience gives you new perspectives on life – and stops you from worrying about things you can’t control.


Trauma is a difficult thing to endure.

Though great pain and hurt is associated with the trauma itself, there are times when the months and years following the trauma seem just as difficult to work through.

For many of us, trauma is something to lock away for as long as we can. Like a caged lion, it likes to remind us it’s there by unleashing fierce roars when we least expect it.

Frozen in fear, we try to ignore the presence of the the ferocious memory.

The experts at the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) pointed out our mind’s constant effort to repress our childhood trauma can lead to a myriad of health problems, including:

  • Posttraumatic stress syndrome
  • Dissociative disorder
  • Depression
  • Sleep-related disorders

Preserving your health isn’t the only benefit to working through past trauma. We talked with Romane Stewart, the mind behind the popular website Making Motivation, about trauma and how confronting it can benefit us:


You’ll Acknowledge the Truth

It’s scary, but it’s true. In order for us to move on from our trauma we need to accept it’s reality. Along with that comes the host of challenges we’ll face as we come to realizations about who we are and how our trauma has affected us.

“We have to be true to ourselves and accept our reality. This is really the first step in mastering the self,” Stewart said. “We have to look at ourselves and properly assess our challenges by asking questions like, ‘Why is this happening?’ and ‘How did I get here?’ and ‘How is it affecting my life?’”

“We have to be true to ourselves and accept our reality. This is really the first step in mastering the self.”

Asking these questions and confronting the truth will empower us.

“We have to take control of our lives if we ever want to have a chance of living the life we want,” Stewart said, “ and, most importantly, the life we deserve.”

You’ll Inspire Others

Our personal stories serve as a narrative to those around us. The choices we make have the potential to inspire others to not only intensify their journey of personal development, but, in the case of those who have endured trauma, to confront their trauma and begin to move forward.

“One of the biggest problems we face in society these days is the lack of role models.”

“You’ll be a positive example in the life of others,” Stewart said. “One of the biggest problems we face in society these days is the lack of role models. If you can prove to others that you have succeeded through your respective challenges, you’ll gain friendships and credibility.”

Your Self-Confidence Will Rise

When you confront your past trauma, you’ll be more confident and comfortable about who you are. As you move forward in life, you’ll be better equipped to meet and overcome the challenges you will face.

You’ll have the ability to accept yourself and challenge yourself to do the things for which you’ve been longing all your life.”

“Your self-confidence levels will go up and you’ll feel like the sky’s the limit and that your challenges exist for a reason,” Stewart said. “You’ll have the ability to accept yourself and challenge yourself … to do the things which you’ve been longing all your life but never envisioned yourself being victorious in.

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Suffering: The Creative, Positive Force

As Terry Waite, hostage in Lebanon for four years has shared, “Suffering is universal. You attempt to subvert it so that it does not have a destructive, negative effect. You turn it around so that it becomes a creative, positive force.”

Suffering is universal. You can turn it around so that it becomes a creative, positive force.

Mental health experts call the process of putting the pieces together after a traumatic experience, “post-traumatic growth,” a term coined by two scientists in the 1990’s.

According to a 2014 Psychology Today blog post, though trauma — rape, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, torture and other forms — can be devastating, some individuals have found the power to harness the most challenging aspects of their trauma and use it for positive change.

Three General Benefits of Trauma

The author of the story, U.K.-based professor of psychology Dr. Stephen Joseph, shared three ways in which psychological functioning increases after trauma:

  • Relationships are enhanced
  • Self-perceptions are modified
  • Life philosophies change



The Five Specific Forms of Posttraumatic Growth

Not everyone can overcome the pain of trauma, but for those who do, their growth and success usually happens in the following five ways:

A sense of new opportunities emerge from the struggle

Trauma can be a reset button and a creative spark – you’re forced to push beyond your limiting beliefs and find a better reality. You’re motivated to stretch your neck higher, to grow and to move forward. Standing still will only hurt you.

For many, this breakdown is a breakthrough that leads to a new set of more positive experiences. You see opportunities and create solutions that benefit everyone.

A deepening of relationships with specific people in your life

You need to heal. You need to connect. Those who connect deeply and engage with others are the best types of leaders.  A leader inspires others through his/her vision, and for that vision to motivate to action, we need to connect with it.

Going through trauma and working with it restores your trust in yourself and everyone involved in the process. 

Sincere and authentic leaders motivate us because we want to be led by someone who sees us for who we are, not who they want us to be.

Going through trauma and working with it restores your trust in yourself and everyone involved in the process. Trust is simply the foundation in every human interaction. It´s a currency always lacking in every industry, and its absence is the reason why most relationships falter.

An increased sense of one’s own strength

You know how strong you are. Compared to what you suffered, anything seems like a walk in the park. Along with this sense of your own strength is the ability to see more clearly the strength in others. It’s like the old saying, “If you spot it, you got it.”

For example, you may have learned, from a place of authenticity, that a coworker or friend can be trusted when you’re dealing with difficult challenges. You know who your friends are, and value their strengths and support. You, in turn, wish to support them in the experiences that challenge them.

You have to nurture a strength-based confidence from your inner self, not an outer ego or arrogance.

Remember, you have to nurture a strength-based confidence from your inner self, not an outer ego or arrogance. When you do, your confidence radiates as charisma, not as arrogance or fear.  And this true charisma inspires everyone to glow and to grow.

Through your trauma, you exchange a small lightbulb with a large one that shines throughout the workplace because your mind and spirit have overcome and prevailed.

A greater appreciation for life in general

You appreciate life and see it through a new paradigm. You learn that we are not our thoughts, we are processors of thoughts. As a result, you gain more control over your mind.

When we learn how to build powerful coping mechanisms to help us handle stress and traumatic experiences, we can learn how to appreciate life in a more complete way.

This new perspective affects your work, too, because you learn to appreciate the people around you in new ways. This helps the workplace as a whole because nothing motivates your team more than a leader who appreciates them.

A deepening of your spiritual life

Trauma pushes our mind into finding answers we might not have looked for before — spiritual answers

Spirituality puts our life in the context of a bigger purpose and bigger picture. Our life becomes more than just us.

We’re not just stuck inside our tiny heads – we realize we have the entire universe in which to collaborate and succeed.

(Source: University of North Carolina at Asheville)

Positive, But Still Painful

We believe trauma can be a powerful positive force in your life. However, it’s important to remember that trauma is difficult. Even though it can produce greatness, not everyone can overcome it. The experts at UNC-Asheville remind us that:

  • Just because individuals experience growth doesn’t mean they avoid suffering
  • Traumatic events are never good, despite any growth you experience from it
  • Not everyone experiences post-traumatic growth

We meet challenges throughout our lives,  and it is up to us if they will break us or make us.

Going through trauma is hard, but if we’re committed to overcoming it, it can transform our ability to connect, transform and live our lives.

For more information and support to navigate through your challenges, visit

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