PALO ALTO, Calif., April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Available today, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton psychologist Adam Grant, shows how we can build the strength to overcome life's challenges and support loved ones coping with loss, illness, and other adversity. Concurrent with the book's release, Sandberg has launched OptionB.Org, an initiative to connect people around their shared experiences and break the silence and isolation that too often accompany our struggles.
Option B combines Sandberg's personal insights after her husband died unexpectedly with Grant's eye-opening research on finding strength in the face of adversity. It turns out that people are not born with a fixed amount of resilience; it is like a muscle that everyone can build. Sandberg and Grant offer concrete steps we can take to recover and rebound from adversity and explore how a broad range of people have overcome hardships including illness, job loss, sexual assault, natural disasters, and the violence of war. They also address how to help others in crisis, develop compassion for ourselves, raise strong children, and create resilient families, communities, and workplaces. Many of these lessons can also be applied to everyday struggles.
The title of the book was inspired by an exchange Sandberg had with a close friend shortly after losing her husband, Dave Goldberg. As she was preparing for a father-child activity, she lamented that she still wanted Dave to go. "Option A is not available," her friend replied. "So let's just kick the shit out of Option B."
"Nothing prepared me for suddenly losing Dave, and in the days and weeks after he died I struggled to get through the fog," Sandberg said. "Option B is my attempt to share what I learned from my own experience and from people who have studied resilience and faced all kinds of adversity. If this book can help anyone else, even a little, then I will have found some meaning through all of this and honored Dave's life."
"We can't control what happens to us, but we do have influence over how we respond to the events in our lives," Grant said. "This book is about the capacity of the human spirit to persevere. Sheryl and I wrote it to help people build their own resilience and support friends and loved ones who are in pain."
At OptionB.Org, people facing adversity—and their friends and loved ones—can read and share personal stories, join groups for solidarity and support, and find information from experts that will help them build resilience.
The site is launching with more than sixty stories from people who have been through adversity of all kinds, from Vernon Turner, who overcame a family history of drug abuse and trauma to become an NFL star, to Kathy Andersen, a survivor of sexual abuse who now helps female survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation. Visitors are encouraged to add their own story. They can also show their support for others' stories with custom reactions, such as "I feel the same way," "Thanks for sharing," and "Stay strong"—similar to "Liking" a post on Facebook.
Research shows that coming together around shared experiences can be a source of strength and hope. Because it can be hard for people to find a group focused on the specific challenge they're facing, OptionB.Org has created Facebook groups to help community members receive and offer support to one another. People can also find and join groups run by organizations and individuals on other online platforms and in person. For example, they can find out how to attend a dinner for people coping with loss run by an organization called the Dinner Party or join a group for women with disabilities run by Easterseals.
Information and Resources
OptionB.Org has co-developed or curated materials from a broad range of experts and released the first three videos in a series of Sandberg and Grant talking about key ideas in the book.
Examples of materials people can find on the site:
- "A Guide to Grounded Hope," created by Lee Daniel Kravetz, a counseling psychologist and co-author of Supersurvivors, which describes steps individuals can take to recover after trauma.
- A series of toolkits from Sesame Street to help families and children build resilience and deal with life-changing challenges such as divorce, the incarceration of a loved one, and grief.
- A conversation with Dr. Adrienne Boissy, the chief experience officer of the Cleveland Clinic, about the power of empathy and acceptance for people facing illness.
The site also lists organizations with hands-on expertise in OptionB.Org's topic areas, including the National Alliance for Grieving Children, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and RAINN, the United States' largest anti-sexual-violence organization. In addition, contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line are featured prominently on the resource page and in the site's universal footer.
"We all face challenges. Some of them are big and traumatic, and some are small and more everyday. But we need resilience to deal with all of them," said Rachel Thomas, president and co-founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation. "We're committed to helping our community do just that—and to learning and growing together."
OptionB.Org is focusing on seven topics at launch—Abuse & Sexual Assault; Divorce & Family Challenges; Grief & Loss; Hate & Violence; Health, Illness & Injury; Incarceration; and Raising Resilient Kids—and will add new ones based on member input.
The initiative is guided by an advisory board with expertise in its different areas of focus. Members helped shape the development of the website and education materials and recommended many of its partners.
- Adrienne Boissy, Cleveland Clinic
- Carole Geithner, clinical social worker and author
- Sarit Golub, City University of New York
- Judith Heumann, international disability rights activist
- Musimbi Kanyoro, Global Fund for Women
- Monica Lozano, U.S. Hispanic Media
- Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and former dean of freshmen at Stanford
- Marc Morial, National Urban League
- Janet Murguía, National Council of La Raza
- Michelle Palmer, Wendt Center for Loss and Healing
- Joe Primo, Good Grief
- Gautam Raghavan, Biden Foundation
- Bryan Stevenson, Equal Justice Initiative
OptionB.Org is an initiative of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation. Sandberg is donating all of her income from the book and providing additional funding to OptionB.Org.
Quotes from advisory board members
Carole Geithner, clinical social worker and author
"As a social worker, I have found that when someone can share their struggles and pain, they feel less isolated and are better able to tap into their courage and resilience. OptionB.Org creates a holding space for sharing those stories, for when people are looking for resources and strength or inspiration from others who have been through a similar path, and for when they might be ready to share their own personal stories."
Sarit Golub, City University of New York
"As a researcher, educator, and advocate, I was touched deeply by the book, but it's the OptionB.Org community that I find most extraordinary. Decades of psychological research tell us that resilience is built on connection, and also that it's so difficult to find that connection, especially with people who've been there and truly 'get it.' The pillars of education, public awareness, and community provide opportunities for people to connect on multiple levels, finding models and methods that are right for them."
Judith Heumann, international disability rights activist
"In 1949 I had polio and have not been able to walk since then—discrimination limited my life and the lives of millions of others. Today, I use a motorized wheelchair to travel the world. While many see disability as a tragedy, millions of disabled people around the world have seen disability as an opportunity to create positive change. Together we are transforming the world. OptionB.Org demonstrates the capacity of human beings to persevere, rediscover joy, and learn how our internal strengths can help us do more than we ever thought possible."
Musimbi Kanyoro, Global Fund for Women
"For more than three decades, I have worked with women at the margins, listening and being part of their journey to find solutions that they can manage. I have myself been at the margin and know what it means to be vulnerable. I believe OptionB.Org aligns with my values, which in practical terms are grounded in enabling space, voice, and resources for those experiencing loss of health, dignity, love, material support, and more to know that they are not alone. Leadership for social change that impacts large masses of people often springs from those at the margins. I hope to use my experience and connections to impact this movement, which is not new to me but rather growing. At the end, we are all human together. No exceptions!"
Monica Lozano, U.S. Hispanic Media
"Option B is a unique lens through which we confront adversity and move from pain to power. At a time when too many are made to feel as 'outsiders' and experience the profound effects of exclusion because of race, ethnicity, or immigration status, Option B shows us a way to build resilience and community. Sheryl's willingness to expose the nature, depth, and experience of her loss is a beacon for all of us who seek to overcome. Building resilient systems is a task for all of us."
Joe Primo, Good Grief
"I have no doubt that OptionB.Org will change the conversation and move our culture forward by reminding us of our humanity and our incredible ability to overcome adversity. For the grieving children and families that I work with at Good Grief, OptionB.Org is an affirmation of the struggle and a celebration of the possibility that awaits us even during the most unimaginable times. OptionB.Org is likely to become a collective voice of hope for all of us."
Gautam Raghavan, Biden Foundation
"The story of the LGBTQ community is one of resilience and triumph over adversity. Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals come out, go to work, attend school, pray, walk down the street, laugh, love, and live—and we do it despite the odds that are often stacked against us, from individuals who don't accept our humanity to laws that reject our very existence. I am so happy that OptionB.Org will be an important new resource for LGBTQ people and their allies to understand our strength and resilience in a new way."
About the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation
The Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation (SGFF) works to build a more equal and resilient world. We bring people together to support each other through two initiatives: LeanIn.Org empowers women to achieve their ambitions, and OptionB.Org helps people build resilience. SGFF is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt private operating foundation. For more information, visit sgfamilyfoundation.org.
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