by Alvin Ramirez August 16, 2012
Here we review Dr. Angela Lauria’s Book Journeys interview with author Dr. Rob Pennington, an Educational Psychologist, a speaker, an executive coach and author of Find the Upside of the Downtime: How to Turn Your Worst Experiences into Your Best Opportunities.
Dr. Rob Pennington had a story to tell Dr. Lauria, and it was an unusual one. He got shot in the middle of his chest by an unknown assailant and survived as a result of an amazing set of coincidences that were short of miraculous. He told her how getting shot was one of the best things that ever happened to him. Though it was an unfortunate event, it had helped him on his path to helping people find the upside of their down times, and becoming “the story” that everyone wanted to hear about.
Early into the interview, Dr. Lauria asked what she should do if she got shot in the chest and her response to Dr. Pennington’s reply was almost tangible. He explained that it’s his signature story which he used in the first chapter of his book, but that the real message was actually underneath, being about lessons in life and moving from the basics to the more complex “graduate” ones.
Pennington’s inspirational story about getting shot in the chest and his trauma recovery was but one of many relating to his life which he included in his semi-autobiographical book. Each chapter contained a story about his “down times,” as Dr. Angela had put it. There’s this story about how he got fired; another about getting divorced. He told about how he got audited, and how he cared for his wife with multiple sclerosis for ten years. These events were what got him into thinking that down times and challenging times are when opportunities become available. Normally, these would otherwise be not present in one’s life.
The dramatic stories in Dr. Pennington’s book allowed him to reach out to people and vice-versa, resulting in invites to do talks and presentations which allowed him to deliver his uplifting message to even more people. He owes a lot of his engagements, getting back into the groove as a speaker, to having the book. He also gave credit to the people—the editors and partners, who had been instrumental in making his message clearer and more understandable with him being more of a speaker than a writer. It took a long time for the book to get finished, but for Pennington, it was worth the time.
Pennington said he was overwhelmed by the response to his book, which was greater than he had ever imagined. “I help people find the upside of their down times. I help people speed through stress in five steps in fifteen seconds, one of which is to smile for no reason,” said Pennington with a chuckle.