As one of the youngest senior managers in the history of the more than century-old Hallmark Cards, Lindsey Roy was living a normal life for an up-and-coming executive and mom of two—until she wasn’t. While on vacation five years ago, a serious boating accident almost claimed her life. Her left leg was amputated, and she was left with a severely injured right leg and injured right arm.
Through a challenging recovery process, Roy learned impactful lessons on how to overcome obstacles, find clarity in chaos, and manage tough emotions with words. Here, she discusses how she bounced back.
You talk a lot about the power of perspective. How did your accident change your outlook?
Right after my accident, I often found myself wishing things were the way they used to be. I won’t tell you that I don’t miss what I lost, but I learned to focus on what I still have and what’s ahead.
This type of new perspective can be powerful, but it tends to be short-lived. We think, “Wow, that puts things in perspective,” and then go back to worrying about the trivial ins-and-outs of everyday life.
What helped you make that outlook shift?
To make my new positive perspective last, I reframed situations by capturing them in a “hidden advantage” journal. I challenged myself to pivot my thinking from how things could be better to how things could be worse. Putting those perspective shifts into words helped me see what I had to be thankful for more clearly, and it fueled me in my recovery journey.
But, as it turned out, it wasn’t just my words that fueled me along the way—it was the words of love, encouragement, empathy, humor and caring I received in countless cards from friends and loved ones that brought hope to my heart. I revisited their words when I needed them most.
How did these lessons help you navigate challenges once you were back at work?
I was reminded, in the most personal way, that what I do in my career at Hallmark really matters. I’d spent years talking about connecting with others by putting emotions into words. After my accident, I understood the truly transformative power of words in a new way. The cards I received along my journey were inspiring and kept me going during my darkest days. Back at Hallmark, the idea of bringing the power of a card to everyone became my inspiration in everything I did.
What are the most important things people can take away from your story?
You can live the life you’ve imagined, even if the details are a little different. Whatever your situation, find the hidden advantage. Reframe your thinking by writing down five ways things could be worse. It will help you see how many hidden advantages you actually have going for you. Likewise, experience the power of putting your emotions into words. Challenge yourself to find a reason to cut through the clutter by sending someone a card to say something on purpose. You will be surprised at how much it means to them and to you. Give it a try—it’s pretty amazing.