Rising Through Resilience: Kimberly DuBrul On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient During Turbulent Times
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Start to keep track of what is good about you to instill this knowing that you can count on yourself. Begin by taking an hour somewhere you love to sit and make the list. Keep coming back to the list to add as new things occur to you. This list is one of the most challenging things for many of my clients. While we are used to recognizing what is NOT good about us, we are taught that thinking good things about ourselves is egotistical. It is the opposite. When you are grounded in what is good about you, you have the energy to get past difficulties much more quickly. When we are in a difficult situation or frame of mind it is challenging to think of what is good about anything, let alone ourselves! The list serves as a reminder and makes it easy to recall and regain yourself in those moments.
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 Kimberly DuBrul, PCC.
Kimberly DuBrul, PCC is a true believer in the power of coaching for her own life and the lives of those she has been privileged to work with for almost 20 years. She’s had the opportunity to co-create breakthroughs with her clients through one on one coaching, group coaching, speaking, teaching and events she holds throughout the year. Based in Vermont, USA, she works with people all over the world.
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 grew up in a small town in Vermont and left at 18 to attend Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont where I was full of dreams and goals. I obtained my associates degree in Fashion and Business,and instead of following my original plan, I received my real estate license at age 20 and delved into that industry.The real estate industry was big on personally and professionally developing yourself and I was all in. I never had the opportunity to be exposed to this work. It resonated with me right away and I ended up selling real estate for 19 years. Around the time I was in my late 20s, I was feeling burned out. I went to the bookstore to find inspiration as I always do, and a book literally jumped off the shelf at me: Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson. It helped me with my burnout, but even more importantly, I was exposed to the idea of becoming a coach. It stayed on my goals list, and I didn’t know what it meant, until my real estate trainer came out with a coaching program. I signed up to be coached by them and not long after became a coach for that company. I left there in 2008 to start my own coaching business and have been enjoying that ever since.
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?
The most interesting story to me is as a coach you must continue to grow and evolve to serve your clients at the highest level. I have learned so much from my clients and often in sessions will think to myself, this is for me too, learning and growing.
If I stop learning and growing, my clients will no longer need me. I have also learned that you do not have to have everything figured out in order to take steps forward. There are magical things that happen in coaching and they all start with taking one step.
A huge takeaway for me after all of these years is that regardless of what a client is coming to coaching to accomplish, when they have a good coach their self esteem, confidence, self belief, and courage all expand as well. There is something amazing about having another person be in your corner completely to empower you to take steps forward toward your goal, the business you want to create, the life you want to live. When someone holds that vision with you, it is transformational.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes my company stand out from other coaching companies is that it is just me and my unique background of education, credentials and experiences. Love of learning is one of my top strengths and I have amassed a lot of education through my own study and learning that I use myself and then may use with clients. For about seven years, I coached up to 45 clients a week at the beginning of my career. I had the opportunity to coach so many people and everyone is different, even if they have the same goals. That experience as a foundation has given me a lot of information, depth, and understanding to coaching clients to success.
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?
My fashion professor at Champlain College, Phyllis Emmons was the first person to make me feel important. She helped me to see myself as special and her belief in me opened my eyes. Shortly thereafter my first real estate “boss” Frank Cioffi took me under his wing. He later told me shaking his head: “I really didn’t think it was going to work.” He was talking about me being successful in real estate. I never knew it. All he showed me was support and belief and when it came time for me to move on to a bigger company, I was thinking that I was not ready for the number one company, but might go there in the future. He told me I had every ability to be at the number one company and should not think twice about it. His caring advice set me into a very bright future in which I went on to become one of the top real estate agents in the state. I have so much gratitude for them and many others who have believed in me and supported me over the course of my careers.
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?
First of all, I believe that resilience is something you develop, you are not necessarily born with it. What I see in my business is that resilient people have the same difficult things happen to them as we all do, but they are able to stop and pause. To me that is the number one thing I see resilient people do. They pause so that they can gather themselves and give themselves what they need in that moment.
From that place they are mindfully able to move forward. They are acting rather than reacting.
They may pause for a long or a short time. This is different for everyone and even from situation to situation.
I’ll go back to real estate again: I was young and learning and was not resilient at all! When a person would choose, for instance, to work with another agent over me, I was crushed. I could lose a good few weeks to being disappointed. Until I started to realize that I was allowing this way of being to dictate my success. I was losing ground fast.
I set a goal to limit my disappointment and being off track to a week, then three days, eventually I whittled down to an hour. Learning how to make sense of setbacks, looking for the true meaning of a situation, learning something from it, and consciously moving on is one of the best skills I have ever learned in my life, and it is not perfect! The idea here is progress, not perfection.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
When we have our set ways of being, we can easily fall back into them because they are comfortable. It takes courage to behave differently, make a different choice. Resilience is being willing and able to think in a different way. Courage allows you to put resilience into action. Letting difficult things go can take a lot of courage, when we come to grips with all that we are losing out on when we hang on to resentment, bitterness, unfairness, accidents, and other difficult situations that happen in our lives, we can start to see the freedom and what is possible when we begin to bounce back.
There is no one-size-fits-all here, the level of tragedy and hurt that we all experience is different for all of us. The same thing can happen to two different people and they both experience it in different ways. So patience and grace for yourself are also important to resilience.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Two people come easily to mind. One, close to home, my daughter went through some very challenging times during her high school years and late teens. I chose her because against all odds, she has faced difficulties and is thriving. She looks at what happened in her life as lessons and life experiences. In the midst of it, it seemed impossible that things would turn out the way they have. Due to her work on mindset and willingness to change her thinking she has become one of the most resilient people I know. (And I take no credit for this, it is all her!)
I also think of my friend Megan who was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. I saw resilience in her from the first moment she found out. Though I know there was nothing fun about what she went through, because of her resilience she made it look easy. She delighted in seeing the nurses, even bringing them a treat at the end of her treatment. She decided to take on running a half marathon this summer the day after she received her diagnosis. Her life did not stop, even on days she didn’t feel well, she kept on going and believing- resilience in action. I know it helped her to successfully get through and clear of cancer.
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?
I have made a career of this! I had people tell me I wouldn’t make it in real estate. I did it. I had people tell me I would have a hard time creating a successful living through my own coaching business. Despite starting it in 2008 when the whole financial world crashed, I did it and am still doing it. What I realize now is that when people are telling me I can not do something, it is their fears that are speaking. I have learned to tune out those messages and doubts from others. It is part of how I have become more resilient over the years. I know that those messages stopped me from doing things I can not even remember anymore! That is the past and now I have created a different story.
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?
My biggest setback was when I quit my coaching job and a very solid six-figure income to start my own business. It was June 2008. In August the stock market crashed and people were not spending on coaching, that was if they even knew what coaching was. That was the most challenging year of my life. I had saved money to support myself and that money went very quickly.
I made myself the unofficial spokesperson for the coaching industry by going to every event possible. I spoke to everyone who would listen and networked my butt off! A year later people were in a different mindset “we can’t afford to have a coach.” I was ready to serve. That was the hardest, most rewarding year of my life and greatly impacted my ability to coach positively.
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?
As a kid, I had a lot of dreams. I remember in my sophomore year I tried out for cheerleading. When it came down to the last spot, the coach made me and my cousin compete against each other for the spot. I worked so hard and did well, only to be told that because she is a year older, we are giving the spot to your cousin. It wasn’t a great thing to do to two cousins, nor was it at the end based on anything other than age. During that season I did not spend time thinking about the wrongness of it all, but I continued to work on my skills. The following season I made the squad and eventually became a member of a State Championship team and co-captain of the squad.
Over the years I realize I have had a lot of people who have stoked resentment in me and they were happy to commiserate in my upsets. I realize how unhealthy this is now. We think we are well-meaning, but it is a harmful way of being on the road to living a good life.
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.
- Start to keep track of what is good about you to instill this knowing that you can count on yourself. Begin by taking an hour somewhere you love to sit and make the list. Keep coming back to the list to add as new things occur to you. This list is one of the most challenging things for many of my clients. While we are used to recognizing what is NOT good about us, we are taught that thinking good things about ourselves is egotistical. It is the opposite. When you are grounded in what is good about you, you have the energy to get past difficulties much more quickly. When we are in a difficult situation or frame of mind it is challenging to think of what is good about anything, let alone ourselves! The list serves as a reminder and makes it easy to recall and regain yourself in those moments.
- Learn to pause and think, instead of reacting. Meditation can be very helpful for this, as well as breathing exercises. It is a practice. Meditation helps us to notice when you get off track and then hop back on track, without judgment of ourselves.Start with an app like Insight Timer which is free and offers many beginner meditations. I prefer the music, paying attention to my breath and noticing when I start thinking about something. At that point I bring myself back to my breath. That is meditating. I hear from people all of the time- “I can’t meditate, my mind is too busy.” The truth is- we are human and we have thinking minds. We live in the world. The whole “success” of meditation is the noticing you are thinking and bringing yourself back to the breath. That’s it. You may do it 100 times in 5 minutes! When clients take this on, they begin to feel more settle and clear in the rest of their lives.
- Create another practice- gratitude. Having this foundation affects your mental strength and ability to see things in different ways. Write out 3 gratitudes mornings or night- or both and you will see your mental toughness increase.
- Learn to stop commiserating with others about the unwelcomed happenings of their lives and help them to be more resilient. Listen and ask questions. Practicing this with others will help you to do the same for yourself.
- Start an experiment with yourself. Without judging yourself, notice with curiosity how long you are off track when something happens that throws your mindset off track. Take 30 days for your experiment. Once you have determined this, make your life a learning laboratory by working on shortening the time you are off track. The self-awareness you will cultivate in this “lab” will help you for life as you make those “off track” times shorter and shorter and with more mindfulness.
- A bonus idea- something I was taught years ago by a mentor is to read lots of biographies. Any you choose are likely to contain some illustration of resilience. Two I recommend among many- Ruthie Lindsey’s book Here I Am and Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger- both chock full of resilience moments. By reading and being inspired by others’ examples, you can start to see it as possible for you, too.
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. :-)
I would love to start a movement where instead of writing people off, they instead seek to understand others, to ask questions, and stop assuming we know what is going on and with others. In the world we are living in today everyone has some challenges happening in their life. When we remember this in our interactions with others, we now have an opportunity to contribute to others positively.
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, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
I have been a student of Coach Pete Carroll through his book and co-teachings with Dr. Michael Gervais on leadership, human performance, and more. The ideas they share about helping their individuals on the team to be their optimal selves, how it connects to the team being their best is the kind of thinking and strategy our world as a whole can use. One of my favorite teachings of his is how he deals with one of his players making a mistake. Instead of yelling and berating the player as many coaches do, he has coached his players to shake it off, and adopt a moving forward mindset so that they can perform with excellence on the very next play. Talk about shortening your off-track time! Talk about resilience in real-time. I’d love lunch with Coach Pete and/or Dr. Michael- they have both made a profound impact on me in my life.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I would appreciate anyone who wants to connect with me reaching out at www.kimberlydubrul.com. I send out a great weekly newsletter that I know will help you to improve your resilience, as well as helping you to become at your very best in all areas of your life.
You can also follow me on Instagram: @kimberlydubrul and you can connect with me on LinkedIn.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Thank you for this opportunity to share and to in part walk down memory lane to notice the times that people have contributed to me and where I have used resilience. This would be a great exercise for everyone!