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Becoming Resilient: Lessons From My Mother

When COVID-19 hit, my worries and fears really threw me mentally off base and less resilient. For a while, I was spending every second consuming too much of the negativity I saw all around me.

I’ve been working in overdrive to become more resilient: supporting my team; the people who depend on me and have believed in me since day one. Our clients have the urgent need to get their message out, right, and right now.  

My vision of the future has never been clearer. I can’t let everything I’ve built go out the window. To weather this storm, I need to be extremely proactive. If I can find the silver lining, we can maximize the opportunities ahead. Only when I began making the right behavioral changes did I start to see the light. How did I regain my confidence?

My Mother Raised me to be Resilient 

She’s the person who taught me to turn over every rock in my life to find a solution when things get hard. She’s the one who’s always told me “if there’s a will, there’s a way.” 

She’s been there to remind me that every “no” I face is just one step closer to “not yet”. She never lets me give up. My mother gives me the strength to keep going whenever I want to throw in the towel.

When I feel uneasy, sleepless, and on edge, memories of her calm and comfort me. I think back to the moments when I didn’t know where to turn next and realized I always made it through because she showed me the right direction

When I think of her, I know I can get through this – because she says I always do. 

Resilience Experience 1 With my Mom:

After I was cut from the freshman basketball team, I remember spinning in my chair, ruminating. Should I spend another year training, pouring hours into this sport?

Even with the chance of not making the team again? At the time, I couldn’t see a way through. All I saw was walls.

After some hard conversations at home, I realized what it would take to make the cut as a sophomore: a lot of hard work in all areas of my life. I put in the effort, and I made it — triumphantly. 

At the beginning of that journey, I couldn’t see how to get past the defeat in front of me.

My Mom was the first one in my corner to help me build a plan to overcome it. She found me a sports performance coach to help me become mentally stronger, and develop a solid plan.

Resilience Experience 2 With my Mom:

After four years of high school drudgery, the pivotal letters came in from colleges I worked so hard to get into:

  • Waitlisted
  • Denied
  • Accepted, but to schools I barely remembered applying to, where I definitely didn’t want to spend my next four

After each crushing rejection, my mom gave me hope. Her optimism shone a bright light that cut through my darkest moments,  illuminating a path forward. 

She departed priceless wisdom to me I hold close to my heart to this day:

 “There is always a way out, and the way out is through.”  

My mom connected me with a few people who could help. We created a strategy targeting the admissions counselor who reviewed my application at each school.

I sent out an extra essay with my vision and mission statement, explaining how I could represent their school in the ideal light. The University of Georgia didn’t just let me in; they even awarded me the in-state tuition rate. I never could have come up with that plan without my mom.

Resilience Experience 3 With my Mom:

I vividly remember calling a mentor once to tell him I wasn’t going to come work for him in NYC after college. My heart was pounding during that entire call. A few weeks later, I had to tell my parents the same news when I got home for my senior year spring break. My Mom looked at me from across the conference room and said something I’ll always remember; 

“I believe in you, because you always figure it out.”  

Inside, I felt so scared and unsure… but she gave me the courage to follow the path I knew was mine anyway.

The Last Resilient Lesson: Together as a Community

Since this pandemic hit, the world hasn’t know what to do in the face of a wall that seems insurmountable right now.  Leaning into past experiences my mother guided me through, I’m finding the courage to forge onward, too. When I get anxious, she’s the first person to help me write down my plan and goals. This gives me the same peace of mind it has since high school, when she used this strategy to help me study economics.

Covid-19 has caused abrupt changes for us all, but I urge you to dig deep right now to become more resilient. Humanity is in crisis, but we can prevail. Focus on all the times you prevailed when the light wasn’t shining, be proactive, and come out on the other side stronger than before.

When the next crisis happens, as a more resilient person, I know you’ll be equipped to face it head on. Never let a crisis that’s outside your control stop you in your tracks. I’m sharing these lessons from my mother in the hopes you’ll find your inner strength and resilience, too.

For Thought Leaders
Bryan Wish

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