338. Finding Her Way Forward: Rediscovering Gifts and Talents
Since childhood she had always valued her intelligence and ability to solve mysteries. A severe brain injury showed Winnie just how much of her self-identity was tied to her belief that she was smart. How could she ever be herself again?
Winnie Anderson went from being a human resources (HR) executive to traumatic brain injury survivor to award-winning brand strategist. After being laid off in 2008 from an HR and training job she loved in retail, she struggled to create sustained success on her own. After seven years spent trying to fix what was “wrong” with her, she reinvented herself again by embracing her gifts, her true self, creating a joyful life and thriving business. She says she lost her mind but found herself.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“When I was 19, in the second semester of college, I enrolled in an Intro to Marketing course. It was one of the first business courses I took in college. I was answering a professor’s question and he stopped in the middle of the discussion and said, ‘You have the personality and skills to be perfect in human resources.’ I said, ‘I’ve never heard of human resources. Can you explain what HR people do?’ He explained it and I thought, that really sounds interesting, and it would make such a difference to people’s lives. “Even then I knew I wanted a career of service. I started researching the field the rest of the semester, and I changed my major to human resources. The rest, as they say, is history. It’s been my entire life.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“While driving, I had stopped to make a turn and I was plowed into from behind by a guy in a very large pickup truck. With the injury I sustained, there is no good reason why I survived. The EMTs on the scene were so sure I was dead that they didn’t even bother to take my pulse. There are people who have less severe head injuries who do not make it. But I did.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Until the brain injury, I didn’t realize how much my self-identity was tied to the belief that I was smart. To suddenly think that I was not going to be smart anymore, that I would never be what I had always thought I was going to be, was devastating.” After much rehab and endless trips to gurus and specialists, Winnie says, “I finally realized that there really isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with me. I have to look again at my gifts, my strengths, and my talents, and stop worrying about what I don’t have.” When people would tell her she could never get any better than she was, Ginny declares that the little determined person inside of her would say, “Just watch!”
Steps to Success from Winnie Anderson
1. Welcome opportunities to start all over again.
2. Use setbacks and doubts as opportunities to rediscover your core talents and unique gifts.
3. Don’t allow outside forces to overpower what you deeply know about yourself.
4. Always look for ways to serve. Each one of us has been put on the planet to serve.
Connecting With Winnie Anderson
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