A new book by Julia A. Nicholson caught my eye. In Move Forward Stronger: A Dynamic Framework to Process Change, Loss, and Grief, the author walks readers through dealing with trauma, grief, and pain in a hopeful way to strengthen their spirits. The publisher kindly provided an excerpt from the book to share here on the universal human equalizer. Find out what she refers to as an “it”; the text is powerful.
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About author Julia A. Nicholson
Julia A. Nicholson is a keynote speaker, former CEO, business consultant, and executive leadership expert who has faced a lot of adversity. She was in a near-fatal-head-on collision, raised two young kids as a single mom after leaving an abusive marriage, and became CEO of a $450 million company, all within 15 years.
Today, she is a renowned speaker who talks about resilience, overcoming adversity, transformational impact, and more. These are also key themes in her book Move Forward Stronger.
Book excerpt on the universal human equalizer
An Excerpt from Move Forward Stronger: A Dynamic Framework to Process Change, Loss, and Grief by Julia A. Nicholson. Copyright © 2023. Used with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
You may have heard at some point in time, “The only sure things in life are death and taxes.” Not true. There is another guaranteed sure thing that impacts every single living human being: something that is unavoidable. No matter what stage of life you are in now, exactly 100 percent of us have experienced one. In fact, most of us have already experienced more than one, some of which are significantly more impactful than others. No matter who you are, you will continue to experience them throughout your life across multiple dimensions: personal, professional, emotional, psychological, and financial. I call this something an “it,” and they happen in life regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, political affiliation, economic status, or age.
What Is an “It”?
An “it” is any unwanted change or loss in your life. Its are the humbling, all-inclusive equalizer because experiencing them is universal. Regardless of the specific nature or impact of an it, unwanted change and loss are inescapable, and some degree of grief usually follows.
An “ it” is any unwanted change or loss in your life.
The words “loss” and “grief” are most commonly associated with death. However, there are many other types of its that can have just as much impact on your life, leading to the same feelings of grief and the same risk of getting stuck in those feelings. An it can be the death of someone you love, and it can also be a divorce, the loss of a close relationship, pet, or job. It can be a negative change in your financial picture, a medical diagnosis, a physical or emotional injury, or a global pandemic. An it is something you didn’t want or expect to happen and maybe even tried really hard to make sure didn’t happen, but it happened anyway. Whatever your it is, it changes you and your life in subtle (and sometimes, not so subtle) ways for a period of time, maybe even forever.
The loss of someone or something you love or value and the aftermath of that loss is one of the hardest experiences in life, and the multidimensional feelings of grief that result are impossible to adequately describe in a few words. Even though loss and grief are universal experiences, they are also uniquely individual. People who have experienced the same it feel grief in different ways and to varying degrees of intensity and duration.
Maybe your it changed your routines and behaviors or caused you to feel afraid, worried, stressed, deeply sad, depressed, discouraged, drained, helpless, and/or hopeless. Maybe you’ve felt this way for so long you don’t remember feeling any other way. You think this is how you will always feel. You can’t get a break. The its just keep on coming. You are exhausted and depleted. Maybe you feel like your life is over, ruined beyond repair. The obstacles are too many and too big to overcome. What’s the use of trying to feel better or of going on?
I know these feelings because I’ve been there. In the wake of one of the most devastating its I’ve ever experienced, I distinctly remember sitting in an oversized tan leather chair in my family room, surrounded by family and friends, people I love who dropped everything and rushed from all over the country to be with me. I was there, but I wasn’t really there. It was as if my life had been washed over by static. I couldn’t think clearly. There was just . . . nothing.
I was utterly stuck, convinced I would never “feel better.” My life was over. The pain was so great; I vacillated between wanting to die so the pain would end and desperately wanting my life before it back. There were periods of time when I had no energy, no passion, no purpose, no direction—when I could not find a single reason to get out of bed, or off the floor, in the morning. My mind churned, “Why me? This is so unfair. What did I do wrong? I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.”
If you’re reading this book, there’s a good chance that you or someone you know has experienced similar feelings as the result of an unwanted change or loss in life. You may be stuck in feelings of grief or still trying to process and make sense of what happened. No matter what your it is or how long ago it happened, opening this book is a good first step. This means you have a glimmer of hope that there may be a way to process your it in a way that makes sense for you, a way that gets you unstuck. You are right! There is a way! But how?
About Move Forward Stronger by Julia A. Nicholson
Heralded as “a book that can strengthen the spirit of its reader and transform or even save lives,” Move Forward Stronger is like a friend when we’re in need, the therapist we’re hesitant to call, and the inner voice we’ve been listening for … telling us: “You can feel happiness again.”
Something happened. The death of someone you love. A divorce or loss of a close relationship, job, career, or business. A negative change in your financial picture. A medical diagnosis or tragic accident. A physical or emotional injury. It happened. Now what?
How you cope with and process it determines the quality of your life, your interactions, and relationships after it. Julia A. Nicholson’s Move Forward Stronger provides a dynamic framework that empowers you with a new mindset, equips you with practical tools to use in any situation (personally or professionally), and gives you a new way to process unwanted change and loss in a positive and productive way, integrate it into your life, and get something valuable from it going forward.
Top photo: Meet Julia A. Nicholson, author of Move Forward Stronger. Photo courtesy of Julia.