Bring Meaning to Work and Purpose to Spirituality

Suffering and Transformational Growth

My good friend, Gerry Bouey, teaches an undergraduate course on work, love and leadership at the Lewis University. One of the key concept and phenomenon that he helps students to grasp and experience is that suffering and transformational growth are two sides of the same coin. One could earn a pay check at a dead end job without ever experiencing any meaningful growth. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there has been plenty of research on the phenomena of post traumatic growth (PTG) as opposed to its more famous cousin, post traumatic syndrome (PTS). A rape victim may not only survive but also grow from the most painful experience of physical violence. This is of course not to promote physical violence by any means. PTG comes about since the traumatic experience forces victims to go deeper inside themselves in order to discover the strength and meaning that would otherwise remain hidden or unexplored. Such a journey could very well backfire and drag the victims into PTS but it does not have to. The analogy to the workplace is obvious. A lot of people experience work as pure suffering which is merely tolerated for the sake of making a living. Many lose hope and are even driven into depression (think of PTS). From time to time, here and there, however, there are exceptional few who are able to turn such suffering into transformational growth, just as some rape victims are able to (think of PTG). What are the drivers of such dramatically different life trajectories? Well, you will have to find it out from the maestro himself. Gerry could be reached at 815-790-3266 or

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