My Path to Resilience


Prior to starting our travels, I knew that I needed to figure “my stuff ” out. Emotionally, I struggled like everyone does from time to time but I couldn’t seem to find any lasting solutions to my struggles. I was reading emotional intelligence books, journaling, meditating, exercising, and generally trying to calm my spirit down. I had an awesome new job (after making a massive career change), I was in an amazing relationship with the love of my life, and we were living in a beautiful house (after 3-years of hard work to get debt free) so I had the trifecta. The trifecta comes the late-90’s HBO Series Sex and the City, “In New York, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.” So why if I had the trifecta was I not able to figure “my stuff ” out?

Right before we left to start traveling, I was deeply unhappy at work. At times my anxiety was so high that I couldn’t breathe! I loved my work but struggled with my interpersonal relationships. I thought changing careers would release me from previous work struggles, but it didn’t. I brought my old problems with me to this new job. The problem wasn’t the job, the boss, or my colleagues it was me!

So predictably, I brought my problems along with me on our travels. Turns out quitting work doesn’t get rid of your problems either! My stuff first reappeared when my Dad died. I had no idea how to feel or process my grief, subsequently, at times I was filled with inconsolable anger and rage. The second time my stuff appeared was on our Denali trip. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, that I lashed out at Sean in a fit of inconsolable anger. Then again, my stuff reappeared on our Nepal trip when I couldn’t keep my anger in check. So when we got back to the states, I reached out for help. What I found was a life coach – Elsie Storm!

On our first call, I think I told her I needed help with self-confidence, dealing with conflict, and fear of failure. What I didn’t say was that I was massively disappointed with how I was behaving. I wanted to be a loving, kind, compassionate person, but I felt so far away from that. I didn’t understand why I had so much anxiety or why I got angry so often. So we laid out a plan to help me with “my stuff” and I chose to focus on becoming resilient. I loved the idea of resilience because I recognized that no matter what life I was living, life was going to throw things at me. I needed to learn some strategies and tools that I could use anytime, anywhere, and in any situation. Because “who we really are” is determined by how we choose to deal with our problems.

My path to resiliency isn’t finished, it is a practice that I do every day. I show up every day for myself and do the work. I’ve learned a lot since my first call with Elsie, primarily that if you don’t deal with your stuff on your own terms, you will have to deal with it during an emotional breakdown. Here are my first steps to becoming resilient:

  1. Tune in and recognizing my emotions
  2. Instead of judging my emotions, stop and analyze what is this emotion trying to teach me
  3. Make time for self-care: mind, body, and spirit
  4. Get some help

What does that actually look like?

Today, the uncertainty of our lifestyle is weighing on me. I’m a bit out of sorts and emotionally uncomfortable. I recognize that I need to talk and take a break from my regularly scheduled activities to process this uncomfortableness. I remember having so many days like this at work! Days where I would be sitting at my desk but my mind was racing and I just could not concentrate. So today I choose to just stop what I’m doing and process this emotion.

To back up a step, let me explain my rub with uncertainty. Elsie taught me about the Six Basic Needs That Make Us Tick. These needs were described by Tony Robbins, a world authority on leadership psychology. There are four personality needs: Certainty, Uncertainty (Variety), Significance, and Love & Connection. To quote Tony’s article (linked above), “We all find ways to meet thesewhether by working harder, coming up with a big problem, or creating stories to rationalize them. The last two are the needs of the spirit. These are more rarenot everyone meets these. When these needs are met, we truly feel fulfilled.”

But you can see in the graphic below, that the needs of personality are a paradox; we need both but they have seemingly contradictory qualities. So they need to be balanced.

Graphic Credit:

So when I say that the uncertainty of our lifestyle is weighing on me, it means that I feel out of balance with what is certain in our lives. This imbalance is not a result of our lifestyle nor it is a unique imbalance.

So today, I decided to get out in nature. A walk on the beach! Walking combined with talking through my thoughts and feelings with Sean helped me to realize that my perception was just off a bit today! I needed a change of perception. Of course, it’s just not that easy all of the time; sometimes I can’t do the work on my own and that’s where Elsie steps in to help me recognize my emotions as well as what’s underneath them – what are they trying to teach me. I realize this boiled down example may leave you with the impression that this is easy work but, it is not. The work has been hard and it’s been a long road just to identify and implement my steps towards resiliency.

So I’m on the path to becoming resilient. I’m working at being in my loving, speaking my truth, and showing up every day to work my practice. Because I’m worth it!!!

I’d love to hear about your path to resiliency. What have you learned and what tools do you use, because no one of us is as strong as all of us!

Thanks for following me along my journey!

4 thoughts on “My Path to Resilience

  1. Liz, I’m so glad you’ve found support to help you navigate your feelings. The part you mentioned about days sitting at your desk and your mind was racing reminded me of one time when I had to ask for an extension on a paper in graduate school when my grandmother died. My gracious professor was so kind when she said, “Grief makes it difficult to think.” So, it is truly hard work to do mental processing and emotional grief together. I know you will be rewarded for all of your hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

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