The Rubber Band Effect
Resilience is a trait others truly admire. Everyone is in awe of those who bounce back after adversity, but nobody talks about any other benefit—other than just surviving the experience—that might result. Even Winston Churchill, who appeared in my recent book, SOULS OF LEGENDS SPEAK, and who was the living example of never giving up, found the speech I had given on resilience an eye-opener for him. Let me explain.
A couple months after the passing of my son, I was asked to deliver a keynote speech for a newly formed high-tech start-up company; they wanted the topic to be resilience. Well, I thought that was ironic since my life has been an example of resilience and more resilience.
To make a long story short, the keynote I prepared cited four periods in my life where I had survived situations which might have brought others to their knees. I not only made it through those episodes but ended up far better off after doing so. The latter part I’ll explain in a bit.
Those four situations began with the challenging 20-years of my first business, which was an undercapitalized fast-growing concern that I started in 1973. The second two periods of time involved health challenges and lasted 15-years and 8-years respectively. In those two lengthy healing journeys, I was faced with a number of life-threatening, chronic illnesses and managed to survive them all. The final traumatic event was the sudden death of my only child—my son, Jon, at age 48 in 2018.
When crafting this speech and describing the details of each situation, I recognized that these weren’t just normal business struggles, recovering from illnesses and surviving the passing of a son—these challenges involved other nuances that made living through and eventually thriving even more surprising!
Before I share the details of those struggles, let me bring Winston Churchill into this picture. Over his lifetime, Winston Churchill had extraordinary quotes credited to him which people still repeat today—relating to stick-to-it-ivness, unwavering perseverance and tenacity. A couple of my favorites were laced throughout my speech: “Never, never, never give up.”, “Success if not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”, and “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” My personal favorite was: “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Because I took great pride in Churchill’s involvement and how perfectly his quotes worked into my overall message, that must have shown up in my energy field when Churchill reached out to me. What he said not only referred to the speech but pretty much described my explanation of what actually happens when one displays amazing resilience by either surviving a long, protracted battle or a particularly intense situation. I had concluded—by reflecting over my own life experiences—that if one can achieve mastery over the challenge at hand and continue to soldier through, one will always end up much better off on the other side than one did when the journey began. Here was Churchill’s reference to the conclusion I drew in my speech:
“I appreciate how you’ve woven my words into your resilience keynote, after your son died. It worked well. And you have one leg up on me, Sandy. You were able to not only advocate for the immediate reward for tenacity, but for the extraordinary end result and catapult effect it causes if we have the strength to hang on and fight through till the end. I never recognize that while I lived. You do. A great lesson for all and very true.
“Look at me, I could have backed down toward the end and have been content with whatever reputation I’d built and tried to end more in dignity. But I was a model warrior, meant to lead and be an example, regardless of the personal pain during that process. I knew I had to follow through. The result? History has been more than kind to me and even you, my pretty one, used me throughout your very meaningful resilience speech! Rewards abound!”
What I pointed out was merely the rubber band effect that can happen when one is truly resilient. Now, I’m not minimizing what many people face going through tough times, a divorce, the loss of a parent or even a spouse after many years. Nor am I brushing off the pain involved with the loss of a job or even one’s status; what I am suggesting is that the rubber band effect kicks in when a person presses on with determination and focus, grows within the process, and learns whatever they are meant to learn along the way. It is not merely to survive it, it is to survive and thrive. This is what I mean.
Let’s take the first. Anyone who has experienced the pain of owning a fast growing, undercapitalized business knows how tough that is. My experience, however, had a few magnifiers attached, which delayed mastering the situation. I started the business with a no-compete contract, $3,000 borrowed capital (hardly adequate for an eventual multi-million dollar concern) and had limited knowledge of the field I was entering (although I was accomplished in a couple facets of the field, I knew nothing about running a business, account management or elements of the creative side). I grew into a full-service advertising and public relations entity. Previously, I had set standards locally in media buying (both locally and nationally) and achieved dramatic success with my promotion and publicity efforts for clients. I’d thought I could stay segmented on my two areas of expertise but clients demanded more which meant I had to teach myself much of the business I knew nothing about. That pain of learning while I grew as sole owner and mastering my craft (to my standards) lasted 20-years but in the process, I developed protocols and ways of delivering results that allowed me to package those to become a national and international strategic positioning consultant to major corporations! I eventually made much more money in short periods of time than I ever did with my agency. I also achieved more recognition and rewards.
My two health/healing journeys I’ll collapse into one general description. Over both periods of time, I managed to recover from rheumatoid arthritis, leukemia (twice), hyperthyroidism, chronic allergies, psoriasis and even neutropenia (when one’s immune system fails)—all without any pharmaceuticals or conventional medical intervention. I recovered naturally. I used multiple treatments, remedies, and resources to achieve those ends. Not only robust health was a reward (without the pesky side-effects of drugs) but also aged more youthfully. Still, the rewards were even greater than that. In the process, I became enough of an expert on the process of holistic healing to publish the first holistic healing handbook in 2008. Finally, after mastering the quieting of my mind (to minimize pain), I was able to hear the whispers. That opening up led me to where I am today—someone who is connected to the “other side”.
The final traumatic event in my life was the death of my son, Jon. Jon had been living with me for two-years while he got back on his feet financially. He was gainfully employed in the commercial real estate field but faced a challenging life with addictions, resulting from two back surgeries. I was the one who found my son when he failed to go to work one morning. It seems he had gone out the night before to purchase oxycodone (he’d fallen off the wagon without my knowledge) and took pills laced with fentanyl that killed him instantly. As devastating as that was, I heard my son’s transition within hours and his death ended up linking us forever in a soul connection that is impossible to explain but I do my best in “Hi Momma, It’s Me”, my second book published in 2020. That book and Jon’s ongoing connection has opened the door to all the legendary souls who now come to visit me with their brilliant insight. I share those messages in my latest book SOULS OF LEGENDS SPEAK (November 2021) and will continue to do so in books to follow.
More than just making it through each bad situation, those situations catapulted me into another place where I could help others on an even greater scale. The rubber band effect.
So, the next time you face adversity at a level that brings you to your knees, remember these stories and know that your event has happened for a reason you can likely not fathom. Continue through the best way you can—being open to your own personal growth. Avoid feeling like a victim and try to still reach out and make a difference in other people’s lives—through your example or through your work. You’ll see, God has plenty of rewards waiting on the other end, too!