James S. “Jim” Doyle is a veteran corporate HR guy and consultant, a breadwinner who has worked for several Twin Cities companies, and has known the insecurity and anxiety of being out of a job.
Doyle and his family also have experienced the unimaginable pain of the suicide of one of Doyle’s five adult children in 2016.
Another son struggled with addiction before achieving sobriety, graduating college and moving on with a humility and heart for others.
Doyle has penned “Hope for Life: Being Your Best Self When You Need It Most,” published by Beaver’s Pond Press.
“I am not unique in encountering life setbacks,” Doyle said recently. “Job loss … unexpectedly losing a son … coming to grips with [my] own life story, but also being aware that you can write a new chapter in your story. It can be done.”
It’s a book with important lessons about career, relationships, humility, forgiveness and acceptance that Doyle has learned from valued colleagues, family members, strangers in a nursing home, the shopping mall and elsewhere. It all has helped him to persevere, forgive himself, recalibrate, look forward and also find grace and solace in helping others.
Doyle started a couple of years ago to write a book drawing on 40 years of experience as an employee and consultant about how to be an engaged, motivated employee and how to deal with the almost-inevitable between-job transitions. It was putting to pen talks that he had given.
“After Sean’s passing, I was sitting in church … and I was thinking about how one needs to rise above adversity, and I was inspired by one of my sons who was really helping lift up our family spirits,” Doyle recalled. “The book needed a new theme and a new ending and more on the greater challenges of life, being an empowered human being as well as an employee. It morphed into something a little less about business and more about life.
“The book is about showing up … not about being perfect, but being a lifelong learning. It’s dreaming big things and putting the required action in place to get you there, knowing that we don’t always get what we want. Accepting God’s grace helped me. I have the faith to live with hope for life. That’s the lubricant of body, mind, spirit. Our best self is ahead of us, not behind us.”
Kevin Cashman, a Minneapolis-based leadership consultant and bestselling author, endorsed Doyle’s book this way: “One of the greatest challenges we face as ‘leaders of life’ is to access our character when times are darkest. Jim Doyle gives you the profound, practical and inspiring resources to do just that in his exceptional book.”
And Rocky Bleier, the wounded Vietnam War veteran, who recovered and went on to play for a Super Bowl champion, said: “By giving us an understanding of who he is, Jim Doyle helps us reflect on our own lives and come to terms with our own stories.”
Doyle, a 40-year business veteran who still exudes a youthful outlook and curiosity, is a well-credentialed human-development professional. He knows how to coach, connect and present to a group or one-on-one. And he’s confident enough to share the despair and sadness that also accompanies the lives of good people who often blame themselves or are racked with guilt when things go awry.
The carnival barkers of life, the business and political narcissists, consider leadership akin to showmanship or tough-guy talk. They hide their anxieties or demonstrate no empathy or compassion or ability to learn and evolve.
Doyle reminds us that introspection is good. Beating up yourself is bad. Doyle no longer blames himself for his son’s death or racks his brain for what he could have done differently.
“I finally came to the realization that I did what I could,’’ he said.
Doyle considers himself blessed in his faith, the grace of family and associates and that he has the desire to move forward professional and personally. There are more people than we know every day at work navigating tough times.
“All you can do is the best you can do,” Doyle said. “Even if it just means focusing on what good or what you can get done today at work or personally. And take joy in the little things. Keep hope.”
Doyle’s book is available on Amazon and at www.hopeforlifebook.com.