Resilience is the secret sauce

In a normal year, July would be filled with parades, fireworks, pools and BBQs. But this isn’t a normal summer in a normal year. In 2020, the hits just keep on coming. In a time uprooted by the pandemic and rocked by searing pain and violence over racial injustice, it would be easy to be bitter. To feel hate, to lash out.
I encourage you not to do it. Instead, reframe this time as an extraordinary opportunity to build your own resilience.
Resilience is the secret sauce that lets us accept life’s difficulties and find the path through them. Being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t feel pain. It’s about being able to recover faster. Really, your own resilience is one of the few things within your control (right now, and always).
Here are three ways you can work on your own resilience at home this month.
  • Look for the positive. So much negativity surrounds us right now. But you can choose not to dwell on it. Redirect your thoughts from dwelling on the negative to instead looking for opportunities.


  • Understand the limits of control. So much of the world and what happens is beyond your control. Focusing on what you can control can help you invest your energy wisely. You can’t stop the pandemic, but you can take actions to limit your risk. You can’t solve systemic racism, but you can learn, listen, and change your behavior.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature can have a restorative effect on our minds and bodies, renewing our attention and energy. And research suggests frequency matters more than duration. In a time with so much stress, resolve to spend more of it outside, even in small amounts.
Finding inspiration
For inspiration when I need it these days, I think of my adoptive father. His sacrifice is a motivation and a powerful reminder for me.
Let me tell you why. When I lost my parents to AIDS, he didn’t hesitate to adopt my sister and me, although both his older children were grown. He moved to Atlanta for us and took a demotion since his position for Delta wasn’t available where we were. Every time I think of what he did for us, I am reminded that no matter how bad things are, I have to keep going. Remember how much was sacrificed for you, and let it be a sign that you are here for a reason.

Empowering leaders every day

We’ve visited campuses and organizations across the country to share the secrets of transforming life’s challenges into purpose. See some of these moments.