This past year, Women in Leadership (WIL) made a big splash in Ottawa with their Women in Social Business Forum, examining the idea of “why women should lead in the social business sector.” It’s not an easy thing to launch a new women’s foundation, even if the WIL is a Canada-wide non-profit foundation dedicated to advancing women in leadership roles. Like any of us moving to a new town, there ‘s a period of meeting the neighbours. Sister Leadership has always been about advancing women in this world, (you might have noticed!) and so today we are happy to meet and chat with Tina Crouse, President of Women in Leadership – Ottawa. And of course, we’re going to bring her into the discussion on spiritual intelligence (SQ) with a few questions on countering adversity.
Tina brought Women in Leadership to Ottawa in 2012. Since then she’s been building up the local WIL community, created the Women in Social Business Forum, started the Fascinating Women Series, and is organizing mentorship programs. She has over 20 years experience working with small business and non-profits, with a focused expertise on social finance, affordable housing, environment and disability issues, along with being a champion for women’s issues.
We exchanged with Tina about countering adversity, an idea that resonated well with Tina as she’s raised four children including a set of twins and her youngest son who has Down Syndrome.
From a SQ perspective, countering adversity means growing from setbacks and moving forward with knowledge from that experience. At times, having experienced adversity can even help us understand a situation or opportunity from a new perspective.
So let’s dive into our interview.
1. Tina, what makes a Maritimer (Tina is from out East) so resilient in the face of obstacles?
Haha, this one is self-evident to anyone from the East Coast. Culturally, we believe in ‘laughing in the face of adversity.’ Adversity is a constant – from the daily weather, the climate, living as have-nots, being poor and lowly educated, losing the fish, the natural resources and being geographically isolated. There isn’t even any public transportation between the major cities – no buses, trains or planes. And yet, when you meet us (Maritimers), you will find that culturally, we have chosen humour to deal with life’s adversity. We could have chosen griping, depression, psychological isolation as I have experienced in the West but instead, we choose humour and we teach it to our young and funny enough, what we are actually teaching is resiliency; how to get back up; how to find the funny in everything; how to laugh past wanting to cry. It makes the unbearable, bearable and the people, warm.
2. What sort of adversities have you faced as you’ve moved along your career path? And what resources or strategies might you have tapped to move those challenges?
Whether people will accept hearing it or not, having twins and having a child with special needs has strained me to the limit many a time. My husband deserted the family 4 yrs ago, so I am a single mother for the second time in my life (I have 4 children and have been married twice). My youngest son was born 24 hr oxygen dependent and I kept him alive at home for 2 1/2 yrs until his health improved and he only needed oxygen at night until he was cured at the age of 10. I continued to be self-employed throughout all the years, working between the raindrops so to speak, without adequate help or even anyone who understood. My strategy came from my grandmother, a mother of 9 children who went without food and clothing for school so some had to say home while they took turns. She said, “Breathe. Just breathe and you will get to the end of the day.” And she was right, every time.
3. Who do you admire that has experience adversity and grew into a stronger person? Can you share three qualities they possess?
I admire both of my grandmothers who had terrible marriages. They might not have felt that they had strategies, more like aptitudes, but actually, I think they learned them: fortitude; stoicism; determination. My one grandmother, you could not beat and the other, no one wanted to try, but I am referring to psychological toughness; they were both battered women.
4. What beliefs do you have about bringing spirituality to counter adversity?
When the spirit is strong, there is nothing that cannot be endured but the spirit is strongest when there is no desire for this endurance; no need of the drama.
Sister Leadership would like to give a HUGE thank you to Tina for sharing her personal story on countering adversity. If you would like to learn more about the WIL, check out their upcoming Fascinating Women’s Series, as well as following them on facebook and discovering their own blog.
Now it’s time to reach into the Sister Leadership toolbox. At all stages in life we have choices, particularly, how we choose to react to events. It is not an event itself that affects us emotionally but, how we respond to an obstacle in our lives.
Reframing is the art of actively choosing our response –to disengage from regret or resentment. Practise reframing to develop the habit and don’t give up. Consider the alternatives! And then, decide that it is time to increase your capacity to counter adversity, to release yourself from the all-too-common tendency to be a victim of circumstances. Click here to read more about reframing, and find a guide to help with this exercise.
Till next week!
Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, certified in EQi 2.0 and EQ360, a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), has been coaching high-level women and men for over six years, and is now opening her expertise to those emerging in business. Camille pulls her blog topics from her unique coaching approach that combines her training as a EQi 2.0 and EQ360 certified facilitator with the dig-deeper tools of NLP.
Get in touch here if you’d like to talk with Cam about group or one-on-one coaching, and EQ assessments. With the miracle of Skype and telephones – distance is no issue!