"The oak fought the wind and was broken,
the willow bent when it must and survived."

- Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven

Dear Kathleen,

I've been thinking for a while now of exploring the subject of Resilience in my newsletters. Today, seems a good day to start.

With all the news bombarding us about the Coronavirus, it is very hard to not go into worry or even panic mode. I certainly can't speak as a medical or health authority, but I do know the value of not succumbing to fear and how important it is to keep ourselves grounded. We are certainly called to tap into our creativity in these days and weeks to find ways to shop, walk and be sociable. To activate our creativity I've included a video and some exercises and resources you might find useful - and have a bit of fun with.

I hope that the following newsletter will bring some brightness to your day and that it will remind you just how resilient you are - and how our goodness ripples out to others!!

And, if you'd like to chat with me about any of this please do go to my calendar and book a free Clarity Conversation.

All the best!

Kathleen Fanning




It always seems helpful to me to start with a definition! So, what does Resilience mean? In her book, Resilience: A Practical Guide for Coaches, Carol Pemberton says it means ‘the capacity to remain flexible in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours when faced with a life disruption, or extended periods of pressure and stress so that we emerge from difficulty stronger, wiser and more able.’

Engineers talk of building resilience into bridges and other structures to allow for needed flexibility with wind and other weather conditions.  In a physical sense, it means the ability to return to its original state after being stretched – an elastic band is a perfect example of this. Its Latin root, resili, meaning to spring back is also interesting.

But is bouncing or springing back enough for us – in other words is it enough for us to just survive the stress or major challenges in life?

I’ll be very honest here and say at the most difficult time of my life – losing my father and brother in a very short space of time – I knew it was enough to ‘just survive’ and looking back I’m grateful for something I found that filled the complete emptiness I felt. So it is certainly enough at times to ‘just survive’ and that survival is to be celebrated down the road when we start to feel normal again. Bereavement is certainly a time in all our lives when we can be worn down to seemingly nothing and we discover firsthand the incredible resilience we have as human beings to not just survive but over time to actually grow in ourselves and our understanding of others.

"Anyone who has faced a major obstacle in life will have been changed by it. They move forward with a different perspective, with changed values, and with hard-won learning. The word ‘bounce-back’ does not reflect how tough that process can be…..Resilience is about being open to learning and growth, being able to take risks because of a sense of being able to deal with the consequences of that risk. Resilience does not protect us from setbacks, but it ensures we are able to manage our way through it." Carol Pemberton

Resilience is a word often used in our world. We think of people who have come before us and marvel at their resilience in face of the challenges they faced. And, we look at friends and family now facing unemployment, illness and a myriad of other setbacks and can be in awe at their capacity to still find joy in their daily experiences.
It is a well-researched concept so ‘we know’ that there are ‘things’ we can do – and ‘things’ to avoid – if we want to build up our Resilience. Over the next few newsletters, I intend to explore some of what we can do. You won’t be surprised to hear that "how we think about ourselves and about life in general" builds or depletes our Resilience. Nor will it surprise you to hear that our emotions, our level of physical health, our social connectedness are also factors to consider and address if needed.
Today, in this newsletter - with the backdrop of the Coronavirus and the many ways our lives are affected – I ask you to remain calm and notice how it is possible to find many moments of peace.

Buddhist teaching says
"All things must pass. Strive on diligently. Don’t give up."

There is certainly wisdom in those few words and – as we know so often in our own lives – things will get better.

Creativity is a helpful Resilience building tool! 

Try Boosting Your Resilience Through Creativity...

Creativity is a resource for coping with stress and increasing resilience. It can be picking up a new creative habit or seeing things in a different way.

Get outside your comfort zone to explore with a new craft activity.

  • Consider taking a class or buying tools at a craft store to try something new: drawing, painting, sketching, clay, sewing.
  • YouTube provides many DIY craft ideas and projects ranging in skill level, cost, and commitment investment.


  • Collect scraps of ideas, magazine pictures, words, symbols, images, nature items, leaves, petals, etc.
  • Don’t look for immediate connections, yet be open to allowing these scraps to overlap in new ways.
  • Combining ideas and creating new patterns are key practices of creativity.
  • Use the items to make a collage and let the theme emerge.

Taken from: PositivePsychology.com


In this FB Live on Creativity, I suggest the 30 Circle Test.

Instructions:  take a paper and draw 30 circles on it. Then time yourself for one minute and see how many different pictures you can draw using how many different circles. Try it again other times and see if you break your own record! In terms of creativity, the time pressure means we don't have time to self-edit, it forces a creative flow and ignites our problem-solving capacity.

Click here to watch the video on FaceBook

This video clip by Courtney Clark is a resource and a challenge - and I think you'll enjoy it!


Here's a talk by an amazing young man, Sam Bern, who taught us so much about resilience and about choosing happiness.

Click here to watch these videos and find other helpful resources!


To find out more about my 6-week Group Coaching Programme 'Reclaiming Your Resilience' and other upcoming events, click here.



Subscribe to my newsletter



Kathleen Fanning
Kathleen Fanning Coaching