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Strength.  Determination.  Perseverance.  Adaptability.  Grit.

How do these words make you feel? What do you see/hear when you really consider them? What do they all have in common? The first two questions are yours to decide, but for the third, I’ll offer a suggestion. Every one of those words can be used to describe resilience.

“Life is hard.” “Nothing comes easy.” Both of these aphorisms vaguely outline how adversity is consistent in our lives. We are met with challenges, barriers, limitations and difficulties every single day, yet so many of us do not simply crumble under their weight. In fact, we often rise to the occasion. We do so because of our resilience, which is so much more than a quality or attribute. Personally, I like to look at it in a two-fold manner — resilience as both a choice and a skill.

Resilience is a choice in so far as we are able to choose how to interpret and respond to adversity. We can choose to let limitation and difficulty run the day and feel a victim of their circumstances. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do bad things always happen to me?” It’s quite natural for us to bemoan adversity, as it can easily create pain in our lives — and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about pain, it’s that people will do almost anything to avoid it.

Photo Credit: ID 114444259 © Artur Szczybylo |

When we find ourselves mired in a difficult situation, it’s easy to choose a victim mentality. The problem with that mindset is that it doesn’t actually help you move past your limitation — only to live stuck within it. When we choose to see challenge, limitation, difficulty — and adversity itself — as opportunity, we’ve made a very crucial and powerful choice. We’ve chosen to view adversity as a vehicle for growth, expansion and possibility, instead of a door that has closed on us. We’ve chosen to become resilient.

As much as I’d love to snap my fingers and “be resilient,” things don’t work that way. Resilience is a skill; it needs to be fostered, encouraged and nourished to grow. Like any muscle in our body, it becomes stronger the more we put it to use; it grows alongside our willingness to believe in ourselves and what we’re capable of.  This may seem daunting at first, but it’s not something that needs be accomplished alone. Gyms have trainers who use their expertise to assist you in building yourself physically; coaches are essentially trainers for your mind, empowering you to build and enhance your mental skill set.

Resilience is something I inevitably work on with all my clients. Without the inner strength and fortitude to overcome challenge and outlast adversity, personal growth is exceedingly challenging. Helping someone acknowledge that power within themselves is incredibly rewarding, whether it be on a one-on-one coaching level or training new coaches who endeavour to make a difference in others’ lives. Every single one of you possesses more strength, determination, perseverance, adaptability and grit — more resilience — than you give yourself credit for. If you doubt that, then I’d love to chat and help you to discover otherwise.

Brett Skrupski

Future Design Coaching/Certified Coaches Federation