The Power of Story
the South Coast Coach
As coaches we are always attuned to the power and the meaning of story. Aside from being careful that our own story doesn’t dominate a conversation with one of our clients, we, by are nature pay close attention to the stories that unfold around us.
I recently had one such incident and with her permission I am going to share it. The small town of Seaside was besieged with a tremendous damaging windstorm in early December of 2007. Denise Fairweather, being fairly new to the community, had not had her gallery open long when the storm hit. It tore her business apart and left her in the hospital with a serious knock on the noggin that she was lucky to survive with. The beautiful things she had marketed in her shop and even large parts of the shop were scattered all over the area.
While she lay recuperating, her new neighbors combed through the wreckage, scoured the area, and retrieved what they could of her inventory. They did what they could to clean up the area enough for Denise’s insurance company and for FEMA to assess the level of damage to her shop, her person, and her life in general. As she recuperated, her new neighbors carefully stored her things in their houses, garages, anywhere they could find. Denise slowly made a recovery from what could have been life long disabling damage as the process of insurance and government assistance rolled on.
Her insurance company decided her business was a total loss, and FEMA decided that Denise qualified for a small business loan with their assistance. She now had what was left of her former inventory to deal with. All the community brought forth what had survived and they had a large sale in the Seaside Civic Center. What was not sold for pennies on the dollar was donated to the community. The result was that Denise was in her new location with new stock in time for what Seaside refers to as the Spring rush. She had been made hole by that strange blend of the kindness of fellow community members, her insurance company, the skill of her physicians, and her own will to survive. Each year they celebrate her survival and the strength of the community on the anniversary of the storm with a large sale and celebration.
Denise had been worried that she was losing her short term memory as a result of her injury. Her doctor told her that the best thing she could do was to tell the story and gradually the pain and the victory would return to her. Jane and I were honored to hear this story as part of that process and to spend time with this wonderful woman in her amazing business known as fairweather house & gallery. It is located in the historic Gilbert district of Seaside Oregon. If you want to re-connect with why so many of us love what we do as coaches, stop by if you are in the area. Denise will remind you with every word she says. She only promotes local artists to the area, and the shop and Denise are an example of goal, focus, and overcoming the adversity that we are sometimes handed.