A Lesson in Resilience

By Monique Trudel


Last week I had an experience that shook my core. News that threw me for a loop – and I’m not talking about the exhilarating rush you get in the front seat of the Mindbender at West Edmonton Mall. I’m talking full meltdown, ugly-crying, mascara-running tears. I received a message that my research project came to an abrupt halt. All that work, all that waiting for approval to proceed just to be told: Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

When adversity strikes, I sometimes like to wallow in my own mess, and maybe rally a friend to validate my “victim-ness”. I actually have a BFF that will tell me everything I want to hear…. not necessarily what I NEED to hear. We all experience adversity and at varying degrees. If only we can tap into a way to bounce back quickly, things can get back on track. For me, it wasn’t immediate. It took about a day. Eventually I needed to crawl out of the negative vortex and look for the possibilities. What this means is that a re-focus is needed…a muster of courage to get back up on the horse. Shawn Achor (2010) calls this “falling up”. Embrace the failures and use that downward spiral to propel in the upward direction. “It’s not falling down, it’s falling up”.

One of the most valuable leadership lessons I’ve learned is the importance of resilience:

  • It’s going to be OK. Really.
  • Lean into your support team – a friend, family member, co-worker, someone who has your back. It’s ok to show your vulnerability; it’s the greatest measure of courage according to Brene Brown. Her book Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution, is all about being brave enough to get back up after the fall and “being face down in the arena”.
  • Write it out. I can’t say enough about the value of sorting out your stuff in a learning journal – or call it what you will. Start with: What? So what? Now what?
  • Try on a different perspective. What if something better is on its way? What else can I do? How can I think of this differently?
  • Find one positive in the adversity and focus on that to help you move forward… and
  • Keep moving forward!

What’s your strategy to build resilience?



Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work. New York, NY: Random House

Brown, B. (2015). Rising Strong: The reckoning. The rumble. The revolution. New York, NY: Speigle & Grau.




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