Accept the Uncertainty:

Realize the longer we fight for what we want to see in life, the longer we push off the reality of what is before us.

Embrace the uncertainty inherent in life and be open to the large unknown.

Understand that acceptance of reality allows for a more grounded and mindful approach to navigating life’s uncertainties.

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 Amanda Chay, author of “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus”

Amanda Chay is an author, entrepreneur, and a lifelong health nut who has helped countless businesses and individuals prioritize their health, all while navigating her own challenging battle with lupus. Her unwavering commitment to empowering women with this condition shines through in “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus.” This book is a beacon of hope, guiding women toward taking charge of their lupus journey with practical, health-focused steps that place their well-being at the forefront.

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 the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, where I proudly keep my roots intact by saying ‘pop’ instead of soda and passionately cheer on the Bengals — even during decades when their record was less than stellar.

I’m a lifetime learner and a curious explorer. I find joy in the challenge of reinventing myself, although I acknowledge it’s darn hard. Reading a lot of books, traveling to my heart’s desire, loving my family the best I can, and a healthy dose of therapy have brought me to where I am today: A work in progress.

Throughout my career, I’ve worn numerous hats — a counselor, sales rep, boot camp instructor, national sales manager, physician liaison, author, and a variety of other roles like mom and wife. I’m willing to bet I’ll take on at least ten more roles in my life because I find immense joy in exploring all the possibilities in this great big world.

Yet, paradoxically, I’m all of these and none of them at the same time. Each new career and role has taught me deeper resilience, allowing me to transform, start anew, and achieve success.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Oh, I’ve got a good story to share with you! As a part of my yoga training, I taught free classes in the community. In my first community yoga class, I did what I could do to make it enjoyable. As the weeks passed, my confidence in myself and my yoga skills grew.

Fast forward two months and I finished this volunteer opportunity. At the last class, there was a woman waiting for me outside and she looked familiar. Her name was Rebecca. She was at my first yoga class but hadn’t returned since. Rebecca eagerly shared her story. During the class, she sensed something unusual in her body, particularly during the quiet moments when I encouraged focusing on breath and being present.

Thankfully, Rebecca acted on this intuition and went to her doctor. To her shock, she learned that her breast cancer had returned. Her heightened awareness, fostered during our yoga class, allowed her to tune into this subtle shift in her body. I don’t to be overly dramatic, but it feels like that one class changed her health trajectory.

Lesson 1: Taking time for quiet reflection and following your breath can yield great returns physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Lesson 2: Holy cow — yoga is so powerful!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I founded Wonderment, a stress reduction company, with the aim of enhancing employee well-being and simultaneously cultivating their stress management skills. During my tenure as the leader of a national sales team, I witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects of heavy stress on both sales representatives and productivity. Recognizing that adding more pressure wouldn’t yield better results, I realized that while we couldn’t always change the stressors we faced, we could alter our perspective.

This realization led me to delve into the less-discussed positive aspects of stress — how it can offer protective measures and serve as a powerful source of motivation. Eager to share this insight with employees and groups in the business world, I embarked on a mission to integrate these ideas into stress management practices.

One notable initiative was the implementation of these concepts in a medical education retreat designed for female physicians in Belize. While physicians play a critical role in managing health, they also bear a significant burden of patient responsibility with limited control over patient outcomes. Despite advising patients on health measures, physicians cannot enforce these actions. The retreat enabled these women to identify areas for deeper health practices, fostering a more intuitive and productive workflow in their professional lives.

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 owe a huge shout-out to Marcey Rader for being the guiding light in teaching me how to be a more supportive and better friend. When I launched my book, she was among the first to pen a detailed online review. Not only that, but she took the time to send me a video, breaking down what resonated with her in my book, even pointing out a couple of typos I’d missed (yikes!). Marcey didn’t stop there — she generously shared my book with her doctor and her extensive network. Believe it or not, she even purchased a copy for her neighbor whose car proudly sported a bumper sticker proclaiming, ‘Screw You Lupus!’ And no, she’s never actually met this neighbor. That’s the level of effort Marcey invested to lift me up and become a true cheerleader.

From this incredible experience, I’ve learned how to better champion my friends and co-workers when they achieve something significant and new, whether it’s a career milestone, a promotion, or anything else meaningful to them. Marcey showed me that not personally aligning with what they’re selling or doing doesn’t mean I can’t wholeheartedly show up and support them with a full heart.

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?

For me, resilience embodies the courage to rebound, adapt, and thrive in the face of stress. I envision it as a rubber band — flexible and capable of snapping back to its original form after being stretched. It’s that internal voice saying, ‘Hey, let’s try this again.’ Resilience means leveraging life’s stresses to foster courage, connection, and personal growth. Additionally, there’s a passive facet to resilience, where reflection and self-healing play crucial roles.

Resilient people are more willing to take risks and embrace failures, actively seeking meaning in challenging situations, and maintain a steadfast belief in their ability to shape their own destiny.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different from resilience?

Oh, what a deep question!

Courage and resilience, though intertwined in facing difficult challenges, are noticeable in distinct ways. Courage is taking action in the face of fear, while resilience is the ability to bounce back life’s trials.

Remarkably, resilience doesn’t always need courage. I experienced resilience when I trained for a triathlon, diligently practicing even when I was bored of biking and when my muscles were so sore from all my efforts. My commitment to the triathlon event was made and I committed to this without the need for explicit courage.

Yet there are instances where resilience is indeed courageous. Courageous acts don’t always embody resilience. Saving someone from drowning is courageous, while living through such an experience oneself is an act of resilience.

Consider a woman who leaves her marriage due to infidelity, this can be seen as a courageous decision. However, if she learns to trust again, that embodies resilience. Taking the brave steps into another relationship, then, involve both courage and resilience.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

For me, defining resilience is easy — just think of Cindy Grande. I first met her during my sophomore year of college. At the time, she was a single mother who was putting herself through college, raising a toddler with special needs, and caring for her sick mother. Throughout the years that I’ve known her, Cindy faced tragedy frequently, yet her positive outlook remained unwavering. Unfortunately, her life ended far too early from a battle with cancer.

Despite the challenges she endured, I never heard bitterness in Cindy’s voice. She adamantly refused to be a victim and was certain that everything good was coming her way. And it did because Cindy crafted the life she deserved — a loving husband, three wonderful children, and both the home and career of her dreams.

Her lessons on fortitude and resilience she shared are weaved into my very bones. I miss her dearly.

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?

When I made the decision to write ‘The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus,’ many thought I was a bit crazy, and they weren’t entirely wrong — I wasn’t exactly a seasoned writer. The prospect of becoming an author was entirely new, and I had no clue about the ins and outs of book writing. Friends kindly suggested research, book coaches, or writing programs.

However, I resisted those suggestions. My passion for the subject matter — women struggling with lupus — ran deep. Simultaneously, I hesitated to delve into the ‘how-to’ of book writing, fearing that it might lead me to create something that resembled every other book out there. That approach just wasn’t for me.

What happened was sheer determination as I sat down and wrote — never asking for suggestions or allowing myself to take a long break for fear of losing momentum. A challenging 16-months later, I completed the book. It stands as one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors I’ve undertaken, akin to a year of deep therapy mixed in with times of intense lupus illness and crying fits of frustration. Through this, I now have mad respect for authors!

Did you have a time in your life when you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

When I was officially diagnosed with lupus, it was a dark, lonely time for me. I knew no one with this autoimmune disease and my loved ones were supportive, but also were uncertain on how to help me. Having an incurable, chronic disease tore at my heart and altered both my daily activity and the future that I envisioned for myself.

In survival mode, my main focus was on my health. It wasn’t until I joined a Lupus Foundation of America advocacy trip to Capitol Hill that I looked around and saw others suffering like me. This experience sparked a change in me, and I discovered a passion for helping. No longer just surviving, I started giving my time and resources, knowing I could make a positive impact. Even if it was just listening to people’s lupus stories, I wanted to help them feel heard and understood.

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?

Playing sports throughout my childhood and into adulthood helped me become more resilient. I was a pip-squeak growing up and not always the top athlete. Despite these challenges, I kept trying. While it wasn’t easy, I stuck with sports because it felt good to be competitive and be a part of a team. It was a way for me to see how far I could push my body and mind.

Through sports, I learned important lessons in friendship, perseverance, and fortitude. I faced some setbacks, like failing the 7th-grade written test to be a cheerleader and spending most of my junior year on the soccer team bench. I won’t pretend that I love failing or dealing with life changes, but I’ve learned to appreciate these moments as opportunities to stretch, improve, and demand more from both life and myself.

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.

1. Grow Your Strengths:

  • Focus on enhancing your strengths rather than dwelling on weaknesses.
  • When you work on areas that you’re not good at, you draw focus and attention away from the areas you excel in.
  • Recognize that investing energy in areas where you excel leads to greater personal growth.
  • For example, if math isn’t your forte, redirect that energy into honing your listening skills.

2. Craft a Sense of Purpose:

  • When life gets tough, a deep sense of purpose will keep you on the right path.
  • Understand that your purpose doesn’t have to be grand (like removing Styrofoam from the earth); it can be as simple as being a good neighbor or the best cat owner you can be.
  • Be aware that your sense of purpose will need to be updated often based on your life experiences.

3. Share the Care:

  • Simply put: care creates deeper resilience.
  • Small acts, such as complimenting a stranger or showing kindness in a crowded store, contribute positively to your well-being.
  • Recognize that caring for others not only lowers stress but also fosters a more positive outlook.

4. Understand Suffering Happens:

  • Acknowledge that suffering is a part of life and pain can be a powerful teacher.
  • Understand that the different paths in life all involve struggles, and it’s essential to choose struggles aligned with your values.
  • For instance, the quest for a healthy diet may be challenging, but so is the path of poor eating with its associated consequences.
  • Pick that path that we truly want because they all involve a type of struggle.

5. Accept the Uncertainty:

  • Realize the longer we fight for what we want to see in life, the longer we push off the reality of what is before us.
  • Embrace the uncertainty inherent in life and be open to the large unknown.
  • Understand that acceptance of reality allows for a more grounded and mindful approach to navigating life’s uncertainties.

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. 🙂

Why thanks and what a good question! While crazy ideas (like having an external meter attached to your body where everyone can see if you’re doing well or not) comes to mind, I’d love to inspire a movement of helping others. What if our government offered a small tax break for those who volunteer for a set number of hours each year?

While the saying “it’s better to give than receive” is familiar to us all, the concept extends further. Scientifically, it’s proven that being of service is not only beneficial for the recipients but also for the givers. This means a ripple effect of good emanates both from those who lend a helping hand and those who receive it. Imagine the impact we could create by fostering a culture of giving and receiving, not just as individuals but as a compassionate society.

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 🙂

Absolutely, I’m excited to share! Imagine sitting down to a delightful brunch with none other than Brene Brown. Picture her with a cup of coffee while I enjoy a soothing hot tea. Now, why Brene? She’s the perfect combo of down-to-earth vibes, brutal honesty, a great sense of humor, and a penchant for cussing. What a mix!

For me, Brene has this incredible talent for translating deep research and data into something that’s easily digestible from her unique perspective. The fact that she’s open about her own mistakes and failures only adds to her lovable charm. It’s the kind of brunch date that promises not just good food but also rich, meaningful conversation with a dash of humor.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My book, “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Lupus” can be purchased on Amazon-please and thank you.

I can be found on Instagram at @amandaechay, on my website at, and I also have a YouTube channel that talks about the journey of lupus.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.