In an increasingly complex and uncertain world, organizations are hiring for resilience. And I doubt there’s anyone out there wishing they were less equipped to deal with adversity or less resilient in the face of change. So, how do we bounce back when life deals us challenging circumstances? Is there a way to build resilience without going through some kind of serious trauma? And what daily habits do busy professionals practice to develop the qualities of resilience?


Today, we’re joined by Suzanne Coonan, Principal and Executive Coach with Aerial Leadership, a consulting firm dedicated to helping successful professionals reach new heights and achieve their greatest potential, finding more meaning and balance in work and life. Suzanne is also a sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator with expertise in leadership and career development, presenting to hundreds of global business leaders at a number of Fortune 500 companies.


Suzanne begins by sharing her definition of resilience and explaining why it’s a crucial trait in our complex, uncertain world. She describes the characteristics of a resilient person, offering insight around how organizations are vetting leaders for the quality of resilience. Suzanne speaks to the intersection of resilience and change management, the important role of self-care in navigating uncertainty, and the top habits busy executives exercise in order to build resilience. Listen in for Suzanne’s advice around embracing change and learn how to foster resilience by tapping into what makes you feel ALIVE!



Themes explored in this week’s episode:

  • How Suzanne defines resilience and why it’s important in our complex, uncertain world
  • The top three characteristics of a resilient person
  • How organizations are vetting leaders for the quality of resilience
  • Suzanne’s insight on the intersection between resilience and change management
  • Suzanne’s approach to teaching resilience through control of the individual response
  • Suzanne’s top three strategies for building resilience
  • What a lack of resilience looks like in an organization
  • Suzanne’s personal experience with burnout manifesting as a rare autoimmune disease
  • The important role of self-care in navigating change and how to make it a habit
  • Why busy executives practice meditation and make time for movement and reflection
  • How to build resilience by tapping into what makes you feel ALIVE


Resources from this episode:


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Quotes from the episode:

“Resilience … is all about the ability to bounce back after adversity or change or challenging circumstances.”

“We are just being bombarded with all kinds of complexities, uncertainty and change at multiple levels.”

“How can we, when we are stretched, not only come back to our original shape and survive, but even thrive and come back even stronger?”

“This is the new norm: These times that we’re operating in are just going to get faster and more complex and more challenging. And we can choose to respond with either fear or disappointment or anger, OR we can choose to respond by accepting and embracing it and looking at it as an opportunity for growth and development.”

“If you can teach individuals and organizations how to be more resilient, they’ll be able to navigate through the change much more empowered and with tools and techniques that will help the individuals show up in a much more high-functioning, stable, engaged, productive manner—and that will, of course, radiate to their teams and the rest of the organization.”

“What can I control? How do I begin with me?”

“The leader makes the weather.”

“Emotions are contagious.”

“[Challenging circumstances] can be both difficult and beautiful at the same time. Part of it is understanding that and recognizing it and allowing that duality—both things—to exist.”

“Self-care is not selfish because that will give you the energy to be present for the people and the projects that matter most to you.”

“It’s all about progress, not perfection.”

“When we’re going through adversity or change, and we’re building resilience, we’re putting that past behind us … and moving forward with a strength and a clarity into a brand-new place. Sometimes we have to shed an old identity in order to elevate to the next level.”

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