December’s FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter membership meeting included both a community service project for feeding the hungry and hearing from someone’s whose mission is to do so on a daily basis – Sarah Owen, CEO of Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (CCMI).

As part of CCMI’s management process, they reflect on both the successes and challenges faced throughout the year, including accepting and acknowledging how the challenges actually helped them improve. She compared taking risks to a trapeze artist hanging on to the safety of the bar versus the beauty of when they let go and fly through the air. The beauty lies in letting go rather than always playing it safe.

Our response to discouragement and failure that sometimes occurs when taking risks holds the key to our future. You can either be a “splatter” – someone who falls apart or becomes crippled when discouraged; or a “bouncer” – someone who pulls it together and rebounds. It’s a choice whether to give up or get up.

In the past year, Starbucks’ business model was crumbling. They were shutting down stores, receiving bad press and failure was predicted. Owens and CCMI examined what happened and learned from it. Rather than giving up, Starbucks created a new way of doing business by adding new products and services and recreating the look of the stores and is now on the path back to success.

When nominated for the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame, Owens was touched by the profound stories of the other nominees, and discovered the tie-in between personal and business determination to “keep going” despite adversity.

Become the “bouncer” and help other people to bounce. Your positive influence can also be pivotal to rescuing others from self-destructive discouragement. At CCMI, stories of despair are common every day. Each employee and volunteer is a part of the culture of helping people in need to keep going.

How do we rescue others? Help them to properly interpret setbacks by guiding them to the right perspective, connecting them to the right people, and restoring them with the right words.

In closing, Owens encouraged us to look carefully at 2010 and become the most beautiful trapeze artist we can be in 2011.