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SOAR Story #10 - Handling Tragedy

Back in August 2020, I posted a blog about SOAR stories. SOAR stories are a fantastic way to reflect on Situations that seemed challenging at the time because of certain Obstacles. In order to succeed, you took Action and the Result was something you can be proud of, and which contributed to who you are today. It built character.

You many think that these stories mean nothing. After all, they are just stories. However, ALL stories have a meaning; ALL stories disclose something about the characters in them. The character-traits are what keep people interested and yearning for more.

The story is only one part of what makes doing this exercise valuable. The more important part is rediscovering who you are at your core and what attributes distinguish you from others when faced with challenges.

I'd like to continue sharing some of my personal SOAR stories and the characteristics that they exhibit.

What are some of your SOAR stories? If you can't see your inner #basass, we can work together to rediscover it! I'd love to hear them and publish them on this blog!


Not all stories are about success. Some stories are tragic, like the one you are about to read. How we handle unexpected situations reveal a lot about us as humans; sometimes we, ourselves, don't even know we will handle these things.

Six weeks after being hired as a manager, my team lead, “Linda” (not her real name) committed suicide. No one will ever know what led her to make this decision, but it was tragic. Linda had been with the company for many years and it was no secret that she wanted the job I was hired for.

Linda may have suffered from mental illness as her behavior at work could be erratic. Two days before the incident was discovered, she was up for her annual review. She came to work in the morning, went home for lunch and didn’t return for her review. Calls went unanswered.

Although I didn't know Linda well, I had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. After two days of no-shows, I called the police in her town and requested a welfare check. Long story short, Linda was found, and it was apparent that she had taken her own life.

The news was shocking. What was I supposed to do? I had never experienced something like this. I called my management to inform them. I had to hold my own emergency all-hands with the 15 individuals on my team. It was now MY team. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life.

The emotions from my team ranged from shock, to sadness and anger. Anger towards me. Some felt that I was responsible for Linda’s death because I was hired into the role she wanted.

I knew that I did not have the power nor control to cause someone to commit suicide. However, I also understood that people grieved differently, and I had to allow those to go through their own personal process.

My door was open for those to come in and talk about their feelings, to cry, to yell at me.

It was clear that I was here to support everyone on the team and help them get through this situation however they needed to.

After multiple weeks, those who were previously angry came to understand that I was not the cause of Linda’s suicide and appreciated my ability to let them process this tragedy on their own terms, in their own way.

If you or anyone you know are in crisis, contact:​

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800.273.8255 (TALK)   |   Crisis Text Line - 741741

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