Bouncing Back After Tragedy Isn't Impossible — Three Ways I Found Meaning Again as a Legally Blind CEO.

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As a legally blind CEO, I often sit in meetings with my guide dog at my side, wondering if other people in the room are dealing with limitations we can’t see. We never know the struggles of those going through the silent, debilitating aftermath of tragic events that bring physical, mental and emotional challenges.

Although it may seem impossible, you can rise above a major setback. Here are three ways to regain your confidence and find a new purpose in your work life.

Be an ambassador

Whether you are going through a health problem, struggling with depression or experiencing a personal loss, your journey can become a compelling story that inspires others. When the time is right, you can step into the role of spokesperson.

You can use your experience with adversity to become a voice for a company supplying products or services you use. My own experiences conducting workshops for the Braille Institute, giving the keynote and appearing with a panel, were birthed from this approach. Being seen and heard as an overcomer will allow you to use your talents in a meaningful way.

Another way to get back into the corporate eye is to write about your struggles. A PR person can show you how to become part of a campaign; often, it only requires that you reach out. They may want to showcase your story, allowing you to pay forward all you have learned. I was once part of a book project featuring 12 inspirational women’s stories; that opportunity came from a networking function where I met the business leaders developing the concept. Your own experiences can lead you to important people seeking to fill key roles in their businesses.

If writing is challenging for you or traveling is difficult, reach out to marketing departments that have a video or audio channel where you can share your testimony. This vantage point could give you global exposure via podcasts, social media or video platforms. For example, I started on a radio show where I was hired as a life coach for people calling in. I didn’t need my eyes to do radio; ironically, my acute sense of hearing gave me the edge. Rather than just relying on a bio or reading scripted questions, the interviews became a free-flowing, intimate conversation. Another strategy is to contact companies in your area of expertise and offer services they don’t. In the past, I have provided life and business coaching services to companies looking to expand their offerings.

Related: 10 Ways to Move Forward After Suffering a Big Setback

Be a volunteer

The best way to make a memorable impression is to give back. When you decide to offer your time, promote your skills. Your talents and abilities can form a long-term bond that is mutually beneficial — but you will have to speak up. Organizers need to know your comfort level.

For example, if you use technology to navigate life with a disability, you can assist other people with limitations in finding tech that changes their lives. Being assertive will allow you to use your gifts, creating opportunities to find meaningful work. Many people assume that, since I can’t see, there’s little I can do to help with the real work involved. When I agree to participate in an event, the organizers soon see how fast I can work. Between the text-to-speech software I use and the interactive apps, I can keep up with any seeing person to organize information quickly.

Be willing to take on multiple roles as a way of not only giving back, but also allowing more networking opportunities for people to see your story in action. It’s vital to show your support in a variety of ways to demonstrate your versatility and commitment level. The more leadership sees you, the more you will become the go-to person. You will make important connections and receive even more platforms to make your voice heard.

You may face a health challenge that prevents you from working on the front lines, or you may not want a leadership role. However, you can still provide valuable support to a nonprofit or outreach simply by using the resources you have. I have a close friend with a debilitating condition. Since she can no longer volunteer in person, she uses online platforms and social media to work behind the scenes. You could help expand someone’s consumer base or prospective donor list, working from your living room or your favorite coffee shop. These skills are much desired in business today, and putting your experience to use can help you build or expand your resume.

Related: 12 Ways to Quickly Get Moving Again After a Major Setback

Be an advocate

One of the most important aspects of overcoming adversity is educating leaders so that change can happen. All you have been through can assist decision makers to understand the road you have walked — and that can inspire meaningful action.

Becoming a change agent is a rare but much-needed role that those of us with challenges should embrace. Laws change when lawmakers are presented with the human toll of unfair practices or negligent treatment of marginalized people. Whether the issue is bullying, the casualties of drunk driving, discrimination or needed funding for research, one person’s willingness to stand before a body of legislators has often made a difference in the lives of many.

Another way of advocating for change is to conduct an in-person or online workshop or webinar to uplift others who are not confident or secure in navigating challenges. Through an organization that helped me work with my blindness, I learned new iPhone features and apps, developed cooking skills and took guitar lessons. I got the best education from those who “‘cracked the code’ on living with blindness.” Nonprofits are always looking for people willing to step up and advocate for those who need help dealing with a debilitating situation or a limitation.

Finally, the patient can and often does become the teacher. You may find meaningful work guiding medical providers, caregivers or the public on ways to better support those with disabilities or life-altering circumstances. I interviewed a young woman who went through a devastating illness; years later, she began sharing her story and providing etiquette training for professionals who care for people with limitations. Similarly, you can advance the cause of many who feel unheard or misunderstood.

You can gain valuable insight from this adversity that may prove vital to those struggling with the aftermath of a hard diagnosis, a life-changing event or a mental or emotional crisis. Your willingness to tell your story may be the most important advantage you can use to boost your confidence and get back to a rewarding level of success in business. By becoming a change agent in your own life, you can bring much-needed transformation in the lives of others while finding your own path to meaning and purpose in the work you love.

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