From Adversity to Advocacy
From Adversity to Advocacy
CAMPAIGN: The Healing Power of Helping Others
I’ve met a lot of amazing people lately while working on my new book Gifts from the Train Station, people who had their lives knocked by everything from cancer to car accidents but held on to hope and not only survived but went on to do great things with the second chance they were given. By working for the greater good and reaching out to help others, they also healed themselves. One of these inspiring people was Jeff Bell, author, radio news host in the San Francisco Bay Area, and long time OCD sufferer.
Bell’s life was shaped for years by crippling OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. Jeff explained to me that OCD is sometimes called the “doubting disease” because the choices one makes are twisted by constant doubts. For every decision we make there is a good choice and a bad choice, but the choices get turned around by doubt for those with OCD.
When we talked, Jeff used the example of a teacher going into a classroom. The good choice for the teacher is to open the door and go inside, while the bad choice is to stay outside. For someone with OCD worried about germs on the doorknob, the choices can get turned around though, leading them to stay outside.
There is another way though, harnessing the power of the greater good to manage doubts and do the right thing. Using the classroom example, a teacher could remember that going inside is important for the students who are counting on them. By connecting with this greater good they create a third choice, the “greater good choice”, rising about their own doubts and anxiety to open the door and go inside. And by doing this routinely for their doubts and anxieties, seeing the larger perspective of their contribution to the world and those around them, they can manage their OCD and lead full rich lives.
In Bell’s life, this realization came to him when he started telling his story to help others with OCD, and described the Greater Good Perspective Shift. He found as he reached out to help others with OCD that he was better able to manage his own condition. His commitment to helping others was strong enough to overcome the voices of doubt and get his life on a better track. Bell has gone on to write two great books about his experiences, a personal story of dealing with OCD called “Rewind, Replay, Repeat”, and “When in Doubt, Make Belief”, an exploration of how he overcame OCD with the Greater Good Perspective Shift.
The GGPS provides the means for those with OCD, or any other big challenges in life, to overcome these problems and not just survive but thrive, to build powerful lives filled with meaning and purpose. Building on what he found, Bell co-founded the Adversity 2 Advocacy Alliance (A2A), a non-profit organization helping those facing cancer, drug addiction, alcoholism, or other great challenges to harness the power of the greater good to reach out and help others. You can read more about their group at www.adversity2advocacy.org
And to read more about Bell, and others like him who’ve overcome their challenges by reaching out to help others, visit www.giftsfromthetrainstation.org, and check out the new book Gifts from the Train Station.