Perspective – do you see yourself as a victim or a survivor? This is the key to healing – and also the key to leadership. I often paint for my clients a picture of them in the winner’s circle. Zig Ziglar once said that if you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner. To be successful, you must see yourself standing in the winner’s circle of life – receiving the benefits of your successes. This means to create the vision of that picture in your head until that image is burned into your subconscious mind. As the feel of that success takes over, your confidences will grow and will be reflected in your behaviors. You are the person that you see yourself to be – you are a winner.
In Failure of Nerve (a book I previously studied in the DMIN-LFS program), the author explores how leaders fail because they lack the nerve to stand firm in the midst of other people’s emotional anxiety and reactions. This is powerful, because, as leaders, others are looking up to us for our confidence and calm within the storm. The strength of our spirit and our ability to rest securely in our identity and our ideas about what success is helps to define our leadership strength.
In the world of human trafficking, survivor’s healing is the focus of my role as a counselor. But the same goals can be utilized as those that make good leaders. It is truly understanding what “success” means to someone – and figuring out how we can achieve the goals necessary to get there. I often help the survivor to see themselves in the winner’s circle, so that healing and victory can take place. Knowing what my client sees as success is also important. This is where my Miracle Question comes into play. A miracle question is a question that helps both the client and the counselor define what success is to the patient. My fav miracle question is: “If you could wake up tomorrow and the world was just the way you would like it to be, what would it look like to you?” This question helps to clarify what is truly most important for my client.
It is then that the “winner’s circle” picture is created. This picture needs to be integrated into their mind, so that every decision they make is based on their future “success.” It helps empower human trafficking victims to replace weakness with strength, vulnerability with confidence, and fear with love. It is through this empowerment that healing can take place and allows God to turn messes into messages!
In Deep Survival, the author noted that people who survive must open their eyes and abandon their mental models that have carried them through life. Victims may respond in similar ways to that of a child, taking the world for what it is and working within that world to survive. They feel they have no control over any part of their world. Because of that, people in victim mode live within the world they are given, without the strength to try to change it.
I have found this philosophy true within my human trafficking victims. Often, they are given a world that they can’t change. It is what it is. They abandon right from wrong, and just try to fit within the world they are given to survive. Helping them to literally throw away the world as they know it and design a new world creates empowerment by seeing themselves in the winner’s circle. It is all about becoming a survivor instead of a victim. And this can be accomplished by becoming a new creation through Christ.
Warren Wiersbe said it best: Nothing paralyzes our lives like the attitude that things can never change. God can always change things. If we see only problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory.
 Edwin H. Friedman, Margaret M. Treadwell, and Edward W. Beal, A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix (New York: Church Publishing, 2017).
 Laurence Gonzales, Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why: True Stories of Miraculous Endurance and Sudden Death (New York: WW Norton, 2017).