Adversity to Adaptability: Turn Life’s Greatest Challenges into Your Greatest Opportunities offers 15 chapters by life and business coaches from the Certified Coaches Federation about overcoming adversity, with a goal of inspiring others to overcome their own life challenges.
Editor Rod Macdonald wisely starts the book with an essay by Jennifer Albrecht. One of the best offerings in the collection, it begins with a poignant story of Albrecht sighting a great grey owl in a tree she passes in her car three days in a row: “With a brisk shiver, she settled her feathers into place and observed me again with a stern, strong, [sic] look of conviction,” Albrecht writes. The author took it for a sign she’d been seeking to make an important decision. Albrecht goes on to offer sound advice about leaving an unhealthy situation to make room for a better one.
Running the gamut in topic and tone, the essays fall into two categories: those that rely on the storytelling, and those that focus more on practical life-improvement advice, although some combine both. The starkly intimate recollections from the first category, from one coach’s raw confession about her debilitating postpartum depression to gut-wrenching memories by others of a near-fatal motorcycle accident, a narcissistic father, and a brother held for ransom by a Colombian drug cartel, are by far the most memorable.
Unfortunately, not every chapter rises to this level—and some don’t even come close. Readers are likely to stumble over awkward wording, not-so-subtle advertising of branded coaching businesses, and stories perhaps better told face-to-face than in writing, where rhythm, buildup and punctuation matter.
Still, as the Introduction instructs, the book can be used like a pick-and-choose “recipe book, from which you can extract whatever you need for whatever you are facing.”
Despite the text’s inconsistent writing, those seeking validation from someone who has beaten similar challenges—and now helps others do the same—may find it worth the effort to weed out the weaker chapters to uncover the inspiring gems.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.