Trauma Transition and Transformational Leadership

By March 18, 2014 July 29th, 2018 No Comments

By Tonya Davis-Taylor

In mid-December my life was going exactly as planned. Work was wonderful, family was great, I just celebrated two significant birthdays and I was doing well personally and professionally. In fact, I was on a bit of high after receiving acknowledgement for being an Emerging Leader in the social work field.

Then something happened. My organization decided that we should part ways. At that time, it felt like the most traumatic event that I could experience.  I was never consulted on this decision, I was informed. So, I found myself unemployed and without my life’s worth. My job was something that brought me pleasure and fulfillment. I  spent that last three years pouring my soul into this organization. I was finally reaping the benefits of developing my staff and was witnessing the positive impact we were having on our program participants.

I was devastated to say the least, and I knew I had to move on.

This experience compelled me to engage in a process of healing and transformation.  I want to share my process through these Moving Forward Healing Steps to support others who are experiencing trauma.

What I’ve learned is that going through the healing process does not undo the negative effects, but it does allow the trauma to co-exist with your healed being. I’ve outlined three phases that are critical to relieving yourself from the burden of the trauma. They are as follow:


It is extremely difficult to experience something traumatic and not take the private time you need to process the impact of the traumatic events. One must take the time they need to honor the pain and mourn the loss before they can move on. I would caution not to stay in this phase for very long, as it will not serve you very well to be there longer than necessary. However, it is critical that you honor your feelings, process what has happened, and grieve the loss.


After any traumatic event one most free themselves from the hurt, pain and any feelings of rejections they may have. There are two choices; wallow in self pity and become the victim or decide to be the victor by releasing the trauma.

There is no scientific way or a timeframe that states how or how long it will take to move forward. You just have to do it and it must be purposeful and mindful. These following steps will help you to move forward:

  • Professional Therapeutic Care – seeking out a professional to support you as you process your feelings can be helpful therapy, as well as an effective treatment for mental and emotional trauma.
  • Attitude of Gratitude – If you focus with gratitude on the things that are good, you will find the strength to confront the things you want to change. Be present in the moment. Learn to appreciate the little things.
  • Positive People – Surround yourself with positive people. Their energy could sustain you. Also remain positive, the universe has a way of returning those positive vibes.
  • Kindness and Compassion – Be gentle, kind and loving with yourself while you are healing.
  • Faith – Prayer and/or meditation will make all the difference.


  • Exercise – When so much is out of your control, exercise is one thing you can start and finish.
  • Laugh – Laugh! It will change the chemistry within your body. Watch a funny movie.
  • Network/Support – Allow yourself to be supported. Learn to lean on your network. Sometimes one has to lean into their power until they are strong enough to stand in it.
  • Create a New Story – You are the author of your story, and you decide how it will end. Keep showing up for life and define it on your terms. For me, I consciously choose to remain a leader; a leader that needed healing and support, but a leader nonetheless.

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