Rising Through Resilience: Heather Vickery of Vickery and Co On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient During Turbulent Times
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Decide for yourself what you want each day. Take the time to think about how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish each day. Resiliency is strengthened when we take control over our mind and our actions. Set daily intentions, even if those intentions feel small or insignificant.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Vickery.
Heather Vickery helps people leverage their fears into intentional bravery. A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and supports others with the tools they need to live empowered, bold, joy-filled, and successful lives. She’s a best selling author and the host of The Brave Files Podcast.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I like to say I burned my life to the ground in order to rebuild it on my own terms. And I did. But it was terrifying. Don’t ever let anyone tell you fearlessness is the goal. I was so afraid and yet, I knew it was what I must do for myself and my family.
After a decade of marriage and four amazing children, I came out (yes, of the closet), closed a thriving business to start a new one, got a divorce and for the first time in my adult life, started living my truth. Embracing my own inner bravery was at once the hardest and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. And it’s also the single reason why I’m where I am today as a success coach, keynote speaker, best selling author, successful podcaster and outspoken community activist.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
There have been a lot of interesting stories from my career but the one I’d like to share is about learning to trust myself and truly scale my business. I started off my coaching career doing workshops, speaking at events and doing 1:1 coaching only. But I quickly discovered that trading time for money was a fast way to burn out and never reach my financial goals.
It was time to expand my business into something that was scalable. But how?
After engaging with a new coach for myself (I believe that all coaches need coaches) I realized that a group program that included coaching, mastermind, training, accountability and an incredible community would feel aligned with my work and that I could build it from within. What I mean when I say that is I had the bones of the new program. I knew who I wanted to serve and how I wanted to serve them. The rest I created collaboratively with my first beta group.
Since that first group I have worked closely with my team to listen to our clients needs and desires and reinvent when the time is right. Sometimes that means adding an element to the program. Other times it means removing an element.
I’ve risen the “scalable” wave for a few years now including through the pandemic, I’ve learned:
- Trust myself, I know what I’m doing
- Even in the times when I don’t know what I’m doing, I know how to get support and figure it out
- Others believed in me and I needed to see that to help me believe in myself more
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Brave is my Business!
I love saying this and it’s true.
I produce and host The Brave Files Podcast. Have a thriving (free) community called Brave on Purpose and my flagship coaching program is Intentionally Brave Entrepreneurs.
It’s my mission to revolutionize the concept of “every day bravery.” This is when we acknowledge and express that even our smallest actions can be difficult or scary and, by doing them, we are taking brave action.
And here’s why it matters: When we choose bravely, with intention and purpose, we choose bigger, win bigger and it’s contagious.
That’s why I created The BRAVE Method which is a creative, strategic approach to problem solving, designing, planning and creating a life and business that you love.
BRAVE stands for
Reassessment, Reframing, Resilience
Action and accountability
Expand and Empower
My company, Vickery and Co, stands out because we are incredibly transparent. I live and breathe my values and they are forward facing with my business as well. We are solidly built on human rights and social justice. All of my coaching, speaking and teaching engagements are centered on each individual owning their own space in the world — standing up and being who they are at their core.
We do this by helping them get honest about their fears, what’s not working and what they really, truly, want for themselves in this lifetime. We are all much healthier when we are honest about our feelings and emotions rather than building a life and/or a business we believe other’s think is valuable.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I have had many coaches in the course of my life and career. I believe deeply in working with coaches and mentors. Of all the support I’ve had along the way, I believe the most credit goes towards Aaron Anastasi. He was the first coach I hired and he helped me imagine (and build) a business and a life that felt 100% me. The skills and knowledge he shared with me have shaped me and continue to guide me now, many years later.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is simple act of continuing to show up, over and over again. Notice I said simple. Because it is simple, however, it’s not easy.
We’ve all survived 100% of the days we’ve experienced so far and that makes us resilient. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you’ve crushed it each day or you dragged yourself through it — you’re still here and doing the thing.
While I believe that many of us have the capacity to be resilient, those that will thrive the most partner their resiliency with knowledge and understanding of where they’ve been, where they currently are and where they want to go in the future. They face their thoughts, fears and emotions head on and make thoughtful, intentional decisions about what to do next. Even if that next thing is rest or stop doing something that’s no longer working. Perhaps our resilience is strongest when we give ourself a break.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
These are beautiful partners in a happy, healthy life. Resilience is often “we do the thing because we have no choice” while courage is about making an intentional choice to push forward and grow. It’s taking the “requirement” and placing intentional and thoughtful arms around it for a specific result.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
The most resilient person I know is my Mother. She had a most difficult childhood, has experienced several divorces and a lot of loss and yet she is the kindest, most loving human I know. My mother taught me to get up and fight for myself, on my own terms. She is tenacious, feisty and creative and I am so grateful she passed those traits down to me.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
My ex-husband used to tell me my business was a hobby. That I could never survive on my own. I’ll never forget when I got past that first few years, post divorce, with little child support. I had purchased my own home, a new car and kept three of my kids in private school completely on my own. Folks who are not natural entrepreneurs often struggle to understand how we can really make our businesses work, but for me, there was no choice. I wanted this life. I wanted this business and I was determined to figure out a way. And figure it out I did. I now have two best selling books, a top 1.5% global podcast and a roster full of thriving and wonderful clients.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I decided, at 38, after a decade of marriage and four kids to come out of the closet, get a divorce, close a thriving business and restart every aspect of my life. It was beyond terrifying but I simply reached a point where the alternative, to stay in my small, fear based life was unacceptable to me.
I essentially burned my life to the ground and rebuilt it, but this time with my eyes open, my heart open and on my own terms. I was finished following society’s rules of what was acceptable and expected.
This doesn’t mean that every day is fantastic because it’s not. But I can tell you this, even my worst days now are significantly better than my best days before.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I’ve lived in over 20 different places from the time I was very small until now at the age of 46. My parents divorced when I was not even three months old and it was, for the most part, me and my mom against the world. She sacrificed so much to give me everything. Watching her fight for what she wanted and needed and always find a way to give us more than enough taught me resiliency from the start.
I lost sight of this a little as I followed the path society paid out for me. Find a nice man, get married, have babies, be a good wife and mother. Where was I in this process? But I got back to it. It just took a few years.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Decide for yourself what you want each day. Take the time to think about how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish each day. Resiliency is strengthened when we take control over our mind and our actions. Set daily intentions, even if those intentions feel small or insignificant.
- Set boundaries. Boundaries are limits that define acceptable behavior and you get to decide what’s acceptable for you. When we take the time to set, communicate and follow through with clear boundaries we deepen communication, allow others to know what they can expect from us and what we expect from them. Boundaries are the ultimate form of guilt free freedom.
- Ask for support. Just because you can do it all doesn’t mean you should do it all. The strongest, most resilient people I know delegate and ask for support on a regular basis. You are only one human person. Give yourself a little grace and know that you’ll grow faster, happier and healthier when you ask for what you want and need.
- Celebrate those wins! Celebration is a bit of a lost art but once you embrace celebration of each day’s wins, big or small, you’ll start to find more and more things to celebrate. There are many wonderful ways to celebrate our wins. Some of my favorites are having a dance party, a piece of chocolate, a fist pump, a text to friends or ringing a bell. Tune into The Brave Files Podcast where I ask each week’s guest how they like to celebrate for even more fun ideas.
- Get grateful. Gratitude is the number one thing that is scientifically proven to increase happiness and overall wellbeing while decreasing anxiety, stress and depression. Something as simple as listing 3–5 things your grateful for and why each day can make a drastic change in your life and help you build resiliency skills by reminding you what’s good in and around your life. There are a lot of ways to record your gratitude. Use an app, your phone, a blank note book or a guided journal like Shift your Focus or Grow Grateful.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
My mission is to help people across the globe embrace their inner brave — To redefine what it means to be brave so they can feel empowered, in control and capable of building a life they love. When we choose bravely, on purpose and with intention, we choose bigger, win bigger and it’s contagious.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
The person I would most want to have a meal with right now would be Cameron Esposito.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!