Why Resilience Makes All the Difference

I remember that July day when I received the phone call informing me of my daughter’s biopsy results.  It was osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, and my daughter Jodi was the most positive and happiest person on the planet – she had just graduated from high school and excited for her next chapter.  Jodi was truly someone who loved every moment of life.  As her mother, I knew how we would handle the diagnosis but never imagined where the journey might eventually lead us.

Not Knowing What Lies Ahead

Cancer, in Jodi’s world, was never going to define her.   She viewed her diagnosis as a conduit for her own leadership development.  She rarely complained about the aggressive chemotherapy treatments or the three spinal surgeries.  During the long hours of treatment, Jodi was a radiant ray of compassion to other patients and more often interested in raising their spirits with hope than her own.

Facing Adversity  

While there were disappointments such as never attending the University of Michigan, multiple hospital admissions, adverse side effects, losing the ability to walk and more.  Jodi turned these long hospital days into a social party with family and friends always accompanied by great conversation, outbursts of laughter, her own spa services and an evening meal featuring her favorite take out.

A Choice of What She Could Do

Life threw her more than a curve ball, and she, managed to play both offense and defense in this game.   No matter how challenging and devastating of a diagnosis, Jodi never allowed negative thoughts of fear or “cannot do” to interfere with what she “could do.”  And that awe-inspiring spirit of resilience gave her the courage to face any fear – including the legacy she left us.

In my observations, resilient people cultivate these behaviors and so can you:

1. Practice mindfulness and reflect on what is positive in your life.
2. Measure your own success by making today better than yesterday.
3. See difficulties as stepping-stones towards your own transformation.
4. Find humor in the ordinary moments of your life.
5. Do not try to control life but rather let it unfold.

The Difference 

Whether you are facing an insurmountable obstacle or life’s daily challenges – how you choose to cultivate the strength and resilience to thrive will make all the difference as a leader in your life, your work and your family’s life.

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