In Tough Times, Choose Strength and Empowerment 

By Sherry Wurgler

Think of yourself stepping onto a diving board. If the diving board is not secured properly, you will not have a good takeoff when you leap forward, and you won’t execute a good dive or flip.

But from a diving board secured properly, you have a solid foundation for taking off, and you can perform at your level of competence. 

With a coach and further practice, you can even learn more advanced skills, a higher level of competence and more confidence in your diving abilities. Self-confidence helps you move into greater and more difficult diving ventures – maybe eventually even sky diving.

Trying to move forward from an unsecured diving board makes me think of trying to get through the tough times in our personal lives. It also reminds me of trying to be an effective leader in times of transformation and broad-ranging change.

Some people say tough times define us. Yes, they can define us, but I believe how they define us is up to us. We choose whether tough times make us weak or strong. We choose whether we view tough situations as opportunities.

We choose to work through problems to solutions in tough times, knowing it gives us inner strength and builds resilience so that we can move into new territories that are more challenging.

Fargo, North Dakota had a bad flood a few years ago. The attorney general ordered the mayor to call for an evacuation of the city. The mayor told the attorney general to let people stay to try to hold back the floodwaters with sandbags.

Many people left for safety with family and friends in other areas away from floodwaters. But others stayed. I was in that group. 

We sandbagged before and after work. We did not give up. We did not yield. We fought through.  Lines of people sandbagging were everywhere. The mountain of sandbags caved in from the force of the water. But people rallied and fortified the break.

Other people opened their homes so we could use their bathrooms, and as we left, they gave us hot chocolate and sandwiches.


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We fought back, and we won. We were an inch or two away from seeing our entire city flooded. But we persevered, stood strong. It would have been so easy to give up and just turn tail and run away. However, we stood together and won.

I believe people are at their strongest in the most difficult of times. Think of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance. We may feel frail and at the mercy of our circumstances. But if we take steps such as social distancing and wearing masks, we can rise from our strengths.

I observe many businesses falter when they face seemingly impossible challenges. And the leaders know they must drive employees to undertake strategic change, but employees often resist change and try to protect the status quo.

One key to dealing with resistance is filling employees’ thoughts with how strong and capable and valued they are when working as a team and then providing them with the resources that enable them to change. There are proven ways for leaders to empower teams to take desired actions.

That is my goal as a leadership coach. I want leaders to learn how to become stronger, more capable and effective. With a solid foundation of skills, effective mindset and behaviors, you can be empowered to achieve greater impact.


Sherry Wurgler is a Transformational life Leadership Coach with a primary focus on helping health care professionals and providers become impactful and influential leaders by relieving stress and anxiety and focusing on personal development.