Loss creates leaders with a competitive advantage earned in the school of hard knocks.

The advantage comes from the tremendous personal and professional growth loss generates. And rarely does that growth lead in directions you could or would have predicted.

The storms of life offer an opportunity to respond in one of three ways to personal tragedy or failure:

1. You can give up.

2. You can try to cope using whatever dulls the pain most, be it alcohol, drugs, sex, work, money, or success.

3. You can grow and create something useful out of your experience of loss.

The choice lies between legitimate suffering now and illegitimate suffering later. The first two options are what I call illegitimate suffering later. Giving up and coping are code words for avoidance, and the story of avoidance never ends well. Only the process of healing allows you to harness fear and turn it into the strength to lead with love.

The route to real growth is through legitimate suffering. Managing your personal sense of loss gets you there strongest, fastest, first. Loss is wisdom acquired early.

John Hope Bryant, author,LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World Love Leadership Lesson of the Day

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