Option B, when it is your only choice

optionBSanberg, S., Grant, A. (2017). Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf

I picked up a copy of “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy” by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant in hopes to get a continuation of sound advice as I had received in Sanderg’s prior book, “Lean In”. Having this book as the upcoming read for my company book club gave an extra nudge of motivation. Early on it was made clear that this was a book not just for those who have encountered loss in the form of spouse, but rather grief of any sort. Grief, is something almost all people share and often do now know how to handle.

While I never experienced the death of a spouse, the agonizing days that Sandberg describes in her in immediate loss were relatable. Having had an experience with a great sense of grief several years ago in my life, I can relate to how the pain can gnaw on you not just in your mind in a fleeting thought, but rather be all consuming. I was fortunate to have had people surrounding me and new experiences that built my resilience to live my Option B.

Sandberg and Grant (2017) describe what psychologists call “openers”, as the people who “ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers without judging” (p.134). A  month after the initial shock of my personal loss I had someone like this come into my life who I could talk to easily. Around this time, I began to “get out there” so to speak and try new things like meetups and various hobbies. These new experiences were exhilarating and brought me joy. As stated in the chapter “Taking Back Joy”, it “is the frequency of positive experiences, not the intensity” that leads to happiness (Sandberg & Grant, 2017, p.100). Some good advice for the future if I am on the other side and helping someone grieve is to just be proactive rather than defaulting to the statement of “if there is anything I can do” (Sandberg & Grant, 2017, p.51). I would follow in the example of a friend of mine who once cooked a homemade lasagna and brought it by my place on a sad day without prompt.

The overall lesson learned from this book full of practical sound advice is to live Option B proudly and with resilience. It is indeed applicable to many who have experienced some type of grief, which is something most of us cannot escape. Live your Option B and thrive!

Colette Molteni

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