Dr. Marie Cosgrove, PhD is a Resilience Expert, Keynote Speaker, and Author of “Greater Fortune: Essential Lessons from the Entrepreneur Who Bought the Company that Fired Her. Dr. Cosgrove works with Corporations, Non-Profits, and Individuals to help them develop skills in Resiliency, that lead to increased productivity, profits, and a healthy mindset.
You’ll never make it in this male-dominated industry. You don’t have any sales experience, and the most you will be able to sell with your little girl voice is candy. So, why don’t you just go home?”
Yes, I have a small, quiet voice. But then again, I am a full 60 inches when wearing my two-inch heels. Because I am not imposing, people—like the president of a major medical device sales company who felt okay talking to me about my “little girl voice”—tend to underestimate me.
What the president who spoke those words to me learned that day was that behind that soft voice was a radical resilience borne out of adversity and necessity. He had no clue that his words not only failed to tamp me down but instead fueled my desire to succeed. And I did. And so can YOU!
There are moments in my life when I could have packed it in and given up. For instance, at a different company, when told I no longer had a job, even though I was the most successful salesperson on the company’s team. There were moments when I almost did give up. Instead of becoming bitter, I became resilient and turned the moment into an opportunity that eventually led to me buying that very same company.
In this article, you will discover how overcoming incredible hardships can actually inspire and motivate you to shine a light on your path no matter what darkness and turmoil you may be struggling with. Because, believe it or not, your powerful mind, heart, and spirit cannot be controlled or defeated when you allow radical resilience into your life.
I have learned that developing resilience begins with appreciating life and being thankful for being alive!
1st Powerful Lesson
A chance at Life. I was born into poverty to a mentally disabled single mom. My mom became mentally disabled when she was in a car accident that left her permanently brain damaged. After months of being in a coma, my mom finally opened her eyes and had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and do everything all over again. However, she still had permanent brain damage and had to take medications, some of which caused schizophrenia.
Later, after her recovery, she was raped, resulting in my birth. The doctor’s had no hope for me, as they thought the medications my mom was on would result in me being born with abnormalities, and serious physical, and mental disabilities. Worse was the fact, that I had no father, and was brought into a world thru a shameful, violent, and horrific act.
However, I learned that sometimes the most beautiful miracles arise out of adversity. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
Instead of looking at my life thru a tragic lens, I chose to focus on the miracle of being alive. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t always resilient. There was a time when I felt my life had no value. I didn’t belong. I was worthless because I’m just a ‘bastard’ child after all.
However, once I shifted my focus to being thankful for just being alive, I became radically resilient.
In fact, the manufacturing company I purchased which had fired me has treated over 2.5 million patients to date, patients who have suffered the same type of adversity my mom had suffered (traumatic brain injury).
I don’t know what your struggle is or what your past looks like, but I do know that if you have a heartbeat and you are breathing, I am thankful that you are alive and able to read these words. You too are a miracle, and I’m grateful for your life! And I know that deep within you lives radical resilience, that can help you overcome any obstacle you face.
The first step I took to grow to appreciate life was to write down five things I was grateful for. What are five things you grateful for? I challenge you to write down five things you are grateful for every day.
2nd Powerful Lesson
To Experience Radical Resilience, You Must Walk Away.
You’ve heard it said, “Face Your Fears”. Sometimes ‘facing your fears’ is dangerous.
For example, if you work in a toxic work environment, and your boss or upper management refuses to eliminate toxicity in the workplace, it’s best you walk away into a new work environment where you can maintain a healthy mindset. I’ve learned that we don’t always have the capacity to change people, or how they think, and no, you and I are not the savior of the world.
A time I had to walk away. I was working for a Fortune 500 company. I earned a very good salary, benefits, and bonuses, and had a four-day work week. I came home early from a business trip, only to find that the man I was married to had abused my kids in unimaginable ways. My boys had lacerations, and I had no choice, but to pick them up, and put them in our van, and drive off as fast as we could.
I had to leave a good-paying job with benefits, my home, and my belongings behind. Unfortunately, he chased us pursuing us with our other vehicle. At a stop, he yanked my baby out of the car seat in the back, because after his banging on the window, my children became afraid, and one of them opened the door for him. I had no choice but to go back to rescue my little one. The moment the man I was married to left, I called an uncle to pick me up. It was a four-hour drive to get to a relative’s house where he would not find me. My children and I lost everything, including our car. But we were safe. And I was thankful we would never be in danger again.
Walking away saved my life and the lives of my children. It was not going to be easy—but we were going to survive.
If you, or someone you know is in danger because of domestic violence, please contact “National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233): Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, this line is a resource for safety information and can connect any caller with shelters and protection advocates in her area.”
3rd Powerful Lesson
The third step to Radical Resilience is to forgive.
You may be wondering; “how do you forgive atrocious acts? Or acts of violence. Forgiveness has its place, but not in my situation.”
Forgiveness does not mean that you must allow people who have hurt you to be a part of your life.
Forgiveness is your ability to let go of the desire to hurt them or cause retribution. When you forgive, you may still have pain. The memory may still be there. But the desire to harm is gone. The desire to wish someone dead or harm is gone.
It took a long time for me to learn this valuable lesson. The pain, the anger, and the guilt of allowing someone in my life to harm my children led to incredible guilt. I wasted years of my life wishing the person dead and crying from the guilt I felt inside. Once, I was able to let go, I was able to clear my head, and use my mental energy toward creating a new life for me and my children.
Our new life led to me starting my own company, scaling it, and then going back to buying the company that fired me.
If you’d like to learn more, feel free to follow me @resilientexpert on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. I look forward to connecting with you.