A Story of Resilience and Strength We Can All Learn From

You hear the statistics often. You see some people following the safety rules set up for Covid, while others are proceeding with little or no caution.

It’s been a long haul for me personally. My 95-year-old mother passed this week because a staff member unintentionally brought in Covid. Although the nursing home was following the rules, such as taking temperatures, checking for external signs, it simply was not enough because so many people are asymptomatic. However, this is not a story about the nursing home. They really were doing their best.

My mother amazed me. I used to ask her, “how do you wake up each morning ready for a new day?” Being in pain all the time, feeling isolated due to Covid, she never complained. In fact, she didn’t realize herself how strong she was until I pointed it out to her and acknowledged her courage and positive outlook. When I asked her how she does it, she said there were two choices. She said the first choice was to complain, which makes you feel worse. She said she chooses the second, to be grateful for each sunrise. Which is how I choose to live my life.

I told her about a book by Viktor Frankl called Man’s Search for Meaning. This was a gripping story about how a man in a concentration camp managed to survive because of his resilient attitude. To paraphrase Frankl when served his meal of the day, a bowl of dirty water with a fish head in it, he said he managed to see the beauty in it, or he’d never survive.

Frankl wasn’t born with a resilient gene, and neither was my mother. Over the years they built their resilience muscles until they were really well developed and a natural ‘go-to’ for them. I work out my resilience muscle each day when I work out. Let me explain …

Most of us think of resilience as bouncing back. And while it is about bouncing back, in addition, it is about how long does it take you to get back up. If you fail do you stay down, or do you look at the failure and learn from it? The resilient person learns from it and builds from there.

I view resilience as a thinking style. We have thoughts that are negative and toxic, and they deplete our energy (like gossip or anything with mal intention), and we have thoughts that energize us (points us in the direction we want to go). If we want to increase our resilience, we have to practice by having thoughts and building habits that are productive and positive. To make this thinking a habit, we have to practice by shifting and reframing negative to positive and productive thinking. This builds our resilience.

Resilience isn’t something you are born with. It is something you strengthen by working out with it each day. For example, if you want to develop stronger arms, you lift weights, and after repetition, your arms become stronger and more defined. The same is true of resilience.

Many people would have given up a while ago given my mother’s situation. She chose to be resilient. She was a role model for courage and heart. I will miss her terribly. I know she’s moved on to whatever is next for her and that she’ll watch out for us like a guardian angel would.

Make sure you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones. Be patient, build your resilience, and hang in there during this time of uncertainty.

Resilience and Flexibility in a Changing World

We are now in the seventh month of living with Covid, and we cannot say what our ‘new normal’ will be. There have been positives – people reaching out to help one another, and negatives – stress and anxiety that come from losing a job and income, declining health, and not knowing what’s next?  

As we try to navigate through each day, two attributes, amongst many, can make our lives easier: resilience and flexibility.  They have become a necessity in order to successfully get through each day. How resilient and flexible we are can determine the level of stress we take on (and how we deal with it), and our happiness.

Most people view resilience as bouncing back. It is more — resilience is not just about getting back up but about how long it takes to get back up. Are you staying down emotionally and physically and letting circumstances take the wind out of your sail, or are you looking at a situation or circumstance and learning from it and getting back on your feet?

Resilience is a thinking style. In fact, I view is like a muscle. We aren’t born resilient. We have to build our resilience the same way you build your arm muscle. If you want to strengthen and have muscular arms you need to work out consistently and build that muscle. It’s the same with resilience. You have to develop that muscle so that each time you metaphorically fall down, it takes you a shorter and shorter time to get up and bounce back.

Emotional resilience also means not letting others, situations, or circumstances dominate you so that you deplete your energy. Where you spend your time is where you place your energy, so be aware of where you place your thoughts. In fact, check-in with yourself so you are aware of whether your thoughts are productive or non-productive, and consciously make your thinking resilient. For example, when negative situations arise, think of choices and possibilities. A resilient mindset won’t let you think there are no options or choices.

Tied into resilience is flexibility. Being flexible results in handling change in a way that things go more smoothly, and it means you see options that give you choices – that “go with the flow” attitude. The next time there is a strong wind, notice how some trees are flexible and bend, while other trees snap because they aren’t flexible.

My 95-year-old mother is an example of resilience. She wakes up each day, no matter how she’s feeling physically, and she has an attitude to keep moving forward. Her failing health does not deter her … or the fact that she has seen very few people since Covid hit. When I ask her how she does stay so positive, she says you do what you have to do to keep pushing ahead. She has bounced back from so many health scares and has made a choice to make the best of life. And believe me, she is no Polly-Anna. She is incredibly resilient!

With a future looking like we’ll all be living with a “new normal,” hang in there. Stay safe and be well. It is a time for us to all come together and live peacefully.

Be Creative and Use Your Imagination During the Pandemic … And Don’t Pressure Yourself!

People are sheltering to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of the coronavirus. Whether you are quarantining with others, or alone, use your imagination and be creative to stay mentally and physically healthy. Creating helps us feel better. 

Constructively Vent and Get Outside

I’ve got clients telling me if they have one more video call, they’re going to scream! Screaming might actually be a good idea. It’s good to get it out in a constructive way. 

Find your own space to ease the burdens of being tired and frustrated. Whether that space is inside or out, there is nothing wrong with a good scream. Many people also find that simply being outside can help clear the head. That space can make it possible to be more creative. 

What Inspires You … Take Action and Make it a Reality


Another client told me he and his family love music. Each is playing the instrument they play, or singing, and trying to make it ‘band-worthy.’ While they may not make it to a real stage, it can be fun to dream! 

If you enjoy music, and it’s a stress-reducer for many, there’s an online concert venue called ‘StageIt’ where artists perform live shows from their laptop that are never recorded or archived. ‘StageIt’ allows both the artist and the fans to be part of the show. Check it out! 


Some people find inspiration in writing. It doesn’t have to be long or a masterpiece. Get your laptop or a pen and notebook and start writing. Become your creative you.  Write a story.  The exercise itself can be amazing!

Another idea to keep you focused is to write out some goals:  put pen to paper and write down one short-term and one long-term goal. Visualize what you want to achieve and write brief steps on how to make it happen. 

Cooking and Baking

For all of us, cooking and baking can be a great outlet. Whether you create new recipes or use old recipes, you can have fun and enjoy it! 

Try Something New or Restart Something You Had Put Away

Remember that old model plane you were gluing together or that painting you started? What about the book club you’re in but haven’t read the past two books? Now is as good as time as any to develop a new hobby or rekindle what you started. There are many games online today that you can access and be as involved as you like!

Brainstorm Ideas

This might be a very good time to set personal and professional goals you would like to reach, and then brainstorm some ideas with friends, family or colleagues. What would you like to accomplish, short-term or long-term? Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be hard.

Physical Exercise

It is also very important to be physically fit. You may have been a member of a gym or played team sports. Keep in mind you can do things outside like running or walking. Something I did recently was to set up an in-house mini gym. I take on-line fitness classes. I have also purchased light weights, mats, a jump rope, and bands. I’m taking everything from cardio and aerobics classes to barre and stretching. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Whew!

One word of caution is to not pressure yourself. You can’t force creativity. Check in with yourself and accept where you are. Let that be your starting point. After all, life is about cycles. Day gives way to night, the tide flows in and out and so on. Be kind to yourself and do your best.

Resilience and Inspiration: The Awesome Power of Self-Belief

I think everyone can use some inspiration, particularly in today’s tumultuous times. I am always looking for inspiration. It’s a search that often involves finding a special someone or something to inspire me. We are so used to putting limits on ourselves and others that our self-limiting beliefs hold us back. That’s why most of us are in serious need of positive inner resilience as well as the inspiration to find it.

Perception is reality. So why not break through those self-made glass ceilings and pursue our own greatness. We are all capable of achieving what we set out to do. I didn’t have to look too far to find both resilience and inspiration.

Resilience and Inspiration: Meet the Peetes

I often watch a positive reality television show called Meet the Peetes. This Hallmark Channel program features actress Holly Robinson Peete, her husband, former pro football quarterback, Rodney Peete, and their four children, one of whom has autism. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior.

This show is truly inspiring. That’s largely due to the respectful way this family interacts and handles a complex disorder that involves many challenges. After learning from doctors the limits their child would face – such as never being able to work or never being able to be in a relationship – this family never stopped believing in possibilities. These included the possibility that their autistic son might prove capable of more than the specialists thought.

Today, a young man of 21, their son works for the LA Dodgers, drives a car, speaks publicly to inspire others on the spectrum. He has healthy relationships with others. He believes in himself because his family and others believe in him.

Inspiration and resilience.

More examples of inspiration and resilience

Once, most sports experts thought that no one would ever run the mile in four minutes or less. That is, until Roger Bannister ran the first sub-4 minute mile on May 6, 1954. He surpassed the limits others set out because he believed he could. Since then, Bannister’s own record has been broken again and again.

My own coach was diagnosed in 2003 with stage-four breast cancer. Her doctors informed her she had a limited amount of time remaining to live. But after undergoing numerous surgeries, her doctors gradually changed their diagnostic tune. They started to increase her percentage chances of survival. She asked them to stop. When they didn’t, she turned around and walked out.

That was sixteen years ago. She remains cancer free.

I look up to people like Bannister and my coach as genuine heroes. People who face adversity, push through, and inspire us to do the same. An inspiration to us all, individuals like them continuously strengthen their resilience and look optimistically to their future. And they get support from others. That’s why it really does take a village when it comes to inspiration and resilience.

Our inner struggles and how we react to them

Everyone encounters problems and struggles with life at various times. But it’s how we view these struggles and how we react to them that determine which path we take.

  • Pessimism or optimism?
  • Hardship or challenge?
  • No hope, or numerous possibilities?
  • Failure or success: Do you stay down when hit? Or get back up and learn from the experience?


Observe your inner self

So take an opportunity to observe your inner self. Are you a benefit finder or a fault-finder? How do you handle adversity? What keeps you motivated and moving forward? What is the one thing you can add to your life that would make a positive difference?

I worked with a client who wanted support to shift from a negative, non-productive mindset to a positive, productive mindset. I asked him how he wants to live each day and what he wants to be different in his life?

In the final analysis, we determined it’s our perspective on life and the choices we make that end up constituting our lives. I asked him how he wants to fill his time. After all, it’s a choice. Soon, he experienced that “Aha!” moment.

Subsequently, we set up a plan. Now we are working on achieving his goals. By integrating his business and personal life and focusing on what he has rather than what’s missing, he is forging ahead to achieve a better and more positive life.

Remember: Inner resilience and the inspiration to do better puts us on the road to personal success.