Envision A Life You Love — Studies show that those who spend time visualizing what they want have a higher chance of achieving it. By visualizing a future that you wish to experience, you create a magnet that will help pull you through difficult times and towards what you desire.
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 Andrea Blindt.
Andrea Blindt is a Registered Nurse, Holistic Health Practitioner, Life and Mindset Coach, best-selling Author and Speaker. She uses her personal healing journey to bring wisdom and hope to her patients. She understands that each person is unique, much like the root cause of the obstacles they encounter. After successfully healing from the inside-out, Andrea inspires others to reclaim their power, advocate for what is in their best interest, and learn the tools needed to be able to make decisions for themselves that are in alignment with their beliefs.
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?
Thank you for opening with that question. When I was 15-years-old, I was adopted, which for an older kid is a rare and fortunate experience that brought on so many feelings. However, that is a story for another time. I share this with you because being adopted put me on this journey of wanting to help people, which led to my dream job working as a pediatric oncology nurse at a top children’s hospital. My feelings transformed from helplessness and not being enough into ones of purpose and tremendous worth. I felt like I could accomplish anything.
During my time working in oncology, I received a grant that allowed me to research end of life care, alternative healing modalities, and nutrition. At that time, I had no idea how much this knowledge would impact my life. I was eager to integrate what I had learned into my nursing practice, but quickly discovered there were limitations in the healthcare system that prevented me from being fully transparent with my patients. The familiar feelings that I’d experienced as an adopted child resurfaced, and instead of getting stuck in helplessness, I chose to make decisions that were better aligned with my values and beliefs.
I went from working as a nurse in what I believed was my dream job into the emotional world of fertility nursing. As a fertility nurse, I empowered my patients as they made decisions that supported their goals, relationships and values during their fertility cycle. At the time, I was navigating my own fertility challenges. I endured multiple surgeries, two miscarriages, and after a complicated round of IVF, I had become pregnant with twins. My patients felt connected to me. I was more than just a nurse; I was a friend that they could relate to, and my successful pregnancy gave them hope.
Unfortunately, my pregnancy was just as turbulent as my journey to conceiving. Due to multiple complications and a disastrous series of events, my twins were delivered prematurely and died 5 short days later. This loss reminded me of all my traumas and plunged me into a temporary spiral that was incredibly painful to go through. I spent time contemplating the meaning of life and suffering, and then I evaluated what my future would look like if I chose to overcome this hardship. I had the power to decide whether I would allow myself to remain buried under the darkness my suffering brought, or to rise, push through the pain, and choose to heal, for myself, my patients and the children I knew I would one day have.
I chose to RISE! It was not as easy as I envisioned. I experienced more suffering on my journey to joy. I wallowed in depression and almost gave up, but my resilience allowed me to experience a life I love today. I accepted that life is full of storms, and sometimes those storms are unavoidable. Instead of giving adversity the power to limit me, I learned how to lean in and transform through the power that I gained because of it.
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?
Absolutely. I want to give you a little back history before sharing the most interesting story from my career so that you are able to see the full picture. After my first set of twins died, I focused on healing my mind and body, which allowed me to carry four more children into the world. A daughter and son conceived through IVF, and a surprise natural conception with boy-girl twins. My pregnancy was turbulent with my second set of twins, and they were born early. They spent 106 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, struggling with multiple health complications prior to being able to join our family at home.
I felt frustrated at the doctors when they told me my son ‘“should be admitted to the hospital to fade away,”’ that there was no cure for what he had, and that he would never live a life free of pain and suffering. Hopelessness threatened to consume me momentarily and then I realized that everything I had learned as a nurse through my medical training and life experiences had led me to this very moment. I clung to the belief that purpose could grow through pain, and that my love and knowledge were enough to find a way. That day I respectfully stopped doing what doctors told us to do and started doing what I knew to be right for our son.
This was a pivotal point in my career as I learned how to advocate for myself and my son, while also planting tiny seeds of belief in our minds that allowed more possibilities to grow than the beliefs doctors had given us. I was unstoppable and committed to finding the resources and tools needed to change the outcome of his life. I enrolled in multiple courses where I studied alternative medicine and learned how to uncover the root cause of illness in the body so that it could be supported. Healing my son was one of the most powerful experiences in my career due to the wisdom that I gained on this journey. I can now better support my patients in ways that honor them and bring hope into their diagnoses.
Through this challenge I learned that while it’s easy to feel hopeless, unworthy and incapable of living the life you want because of someone else’s beliefs regarding your circumstances, you have the power to decide what you believe. I also learned that love is a powerful motivator, especially when it comes to helping someone you care deeply for. The last thing I learned is that even when your back is against the wall, you are still capable of moving forward and finding a way to do whatever you have to do to help the people you love.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Every experience since I was 15-years-old until now led me to believe that I am worthy, loved, and capable. So, if I’m able to believe that for myself, then when working with people, it’s easy for me to see that in them as well. I was able to cultivate these beliefs in my own life because someone first believed them for me. That’s a unique gift I have the ability to share with my patients today. I allow my healing journey to inspire those new beliefs in my patients as they learn how to grow them inside themselves.
I take my patients from hopeless and frustrated today to free and hopeful tomorrow, by offering a safe space for them to be seen, heard, and valued. I believe each person is unique, much like the root cause of the challenges they are facing, and their health is worth fighting for. I have learned that when things are complicated and results are slow to appear, it’s easier to quit. I want my patients to be successful, so I work intimately with them as they implement their new protocol into their lives, while also ensuring they are achieving the results they desire. I spend a lot of time empowering my patients, teaching them how to listen to their body in order to make decisions that best support their health goals. I really make healing an inside job.
One of the biggest things that makes my company stand out is my desire for people to not need my services. People laugh at me when I tell them “I don’t want long term clients;” I would rather have lasting friendships that are a result of my patients not needing my services anymore, than a practice full of patients who are reliant on me. That’s a hard thing to imagine in any business, but it’s a huge goal of mine. I believe everyone is capable of living a life they love, which includes having a healthy body and mind. By providing knowledge, resources and empowerment, my patients are able to create lasting lifestyle changes that don’t require them to rely on medications or medical care daily. They leave my care confident in their ability to make decisions regarding their health. Many of my patients have become dear friends of mine, and I feel immense joy as I watch them care for themselves and their families.
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 am grateful to all the angels in my life that showed up exactly when I needed them, offering me grace, compassion and community. There is one person though that truly transformed my life, my husband Ryan. I met him when I was a single mom to a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old infant. I was in the middle of a painful divorce after my first marriage crumbled under the weight of our twins’ deaths and our conflicting values. When I met Ryan, I believed the only love I needed in my life was the love I had for my children, and that falling in love again would only bring me down and prevent me from living the life I desired. But Ryan noticed something in me that I didn’t know I needed for myself. He came alongside me right where I was in life and taught me what unconditional love, acceptance, partnership, and connection looked like. His love created a safe space for me to grow, grieve, and explore my feelings at my own pace. He encouraged me, sat beside me and showed up for me even in the really icky hard times. He never placed his beliefs upon me or required me to change; instead, he partnered with me. His actions taught me that he was for me, not against me, and daily he reminded me that I was enough, worthy, valued and beautiful from the inside out. Ryan showed up for me in a way no one had before, and instead of falling in love and missing out on living the life I wanted, we rose in love and are experiencing a life I never imagined possible before Ryan came into my life. He is truly one of my most cherished gifts.
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- the ability to withstand challenges in life that have the power to destroy you, by leaning in to who you have chosen to be regardless of what’s happening around you. In order to fully illustrate this idea, I would like to share a story with you about my son. He was with his dad for a routine custody visit when this event unfolds. He was two years old.
Imagine seeing your precious son connected to tubes and wires that pushed air into his lungs and antibiotics through his bloodstream, not knowing what his future would look like.
My son fell into his father’s pool and silently drowned, all alone, without any protection. It only takes a few minutes of drowning before unconsciousness occurs, causing the heart rate to slow and eventually stop. No one knew how long he was in the water, and when he was found, he didn’t have a pulse, his body was ashen. He was dead. It took 6 minutes of CPR for him to be resuscitated. Firefighters moved him into an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital where I was alerted of the catastrophic event. As the news filled my ears I fell to my knees. I had overcome childhood abuse, infertility, the deaths of my first two children, a divorce and now my son was fighting for his life in the hospital. There were so many unknowns in that moment, things I had no control over, and I felt powerless. Understanding that I couldn’t change the past or control the future, I focused on what I could control. I acknowledged who I was, who I wanted to be, and the behaviors and values that were required for me to remain that person. I knew that in order to survive this tragedy, regardless of the outcome, I would need my thoughts and actions to align with the woman I wanted to be.
I prayed for my mouth, my heart and my mind to be filled with gratitude as I drove to the hospital that day. I prayed to only see the good in this situation, because in that moment I was MAD! I wanted to throw my fists into my ex-husband’s chest and pound on it while yelling at him. I was angry that he didn’t protect our son. He is a firefighter and knows first-hand how critical pool safety is. This accident should have been prevented. I knew that yelling at him wouldn’t change our son’s outcome, so I inhaled and focused on the woman I know I am. I walked into the hospital room with grace and gratitude. I focused on my son and his road to recovery, not yet knowing the extent of his injuries or the long-term challenges he would face after going minutes without air. I focused on goodness and the miracle of his precious life. I clung to the woman I am, and I led with love. Because I believe we are all capable of living a life we desire, and it starts with deciding who we are and how we show up regardless of what is happening around us.
So, to me, resilience is more than a definition. It’s a decision, a feeling, and a continuous process of reevaluating how we are choosing to show up in life so that we can continue to grow into the person we wish to become. It’s a deep knowing that, regardless of what happens around us, we can always find strength, proof of miracles, and meaning when we look within for the answers.
Some traits resilient people exhibit:
- They know their reason for showing up — This clarity supports them in overcoming any obstacle or challenge they face because they know why they are here and what they are moving towards in life.
- They believe they are capable of creating a life they love, and their actions support them in reaching their goals — They change what they can, modify the things that can’t be changed but can be adjusted, and eliminate anything that is preventing them from reaching their dreams.
- They are accountable for how they show up in the world — This looks like deciding if they are going to be a victim or victor.
- They don’t get stuck on things they can’t control — They shift their focus onto the things they can control and move in that direction.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
I like to imagine courage and resilience as identical twins. Both are birthed in the face of adversity and they each have unique roles. From the outside, you might not be able to tell them apart, but as you deepen your connection with them, you are able to clearly identify who is who.
Picture an amazing car parked in your driveway, packed and ready for an adventure. Courage turns the car on, and resiliency moves it forward. They rely on each other in order to be successful. Resilience trusts that courage will be there to start the car anytime it needs to be started, while courage trusts that resilience can weather any terrain as it moves towards the destination.
- Courage is situational and can be tapped into anytime.
- Resilience lives within you and is sustained through you.
- Courage shows up anytime we need an extra push in starting again or taking the next step.
- Resilience runs through your veins and moves you forward, regardless of what is happening around you.
- You can be resilient in everything you do, but you don’t need courage to do everything.
- It takes courage to ask for help, but resilience to accept it.
- Courage shows up when things are uncertain in the world, and resilience anchors you to the present as you create meaning out of otherwise obsolete situations.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Victor Frankel immediately moves through my mind when I think of resilience. His ability to adapt and create meaning while being a prisoner in a concentration camp illustrates what it is to truly embody resilience. Frankel was a brilliant psychologist, author and teacher who survived the uncertainties of the holocaust by accepting the reality he was in, while holding on to the vision he had of himself in the future. He imagined himself teaching a large group of people about how to manage the traumas associated with war. With this vision in mind, Frankel showed up each day with eyes ready to see the lessons available to him so that he could share them with others. Many of his fellow prisoners focused on the feelings of hopelessness, despair, and powerlessness. They spent time coordinating and searching for an escape, and Frankel could have easily joined them. Instead, he chose to focus on what he could control, which was his ability to show up each day with meaning, regardless of what was happening around him, with a willingness to receive. Despite unimaginable suffering and an unknown future, Frankel focused on hope instead of despair, and he led through his actions. His resilience shined comfort and hope into the darkness during that difficult time, and it still does today.
It’s that same resilience I want my patients to embody anytime they are faced with a challenge in life, because sometimes in life it feels like there is no future. Just like when I received that call about my son’s drowning with so many uncontrollable outcomes. By focusing on the things I had the power to control (which was how I chose to respond, think, and see the gifts in that moment), I was able to support the vision I had for my future instead of getting trapped in helplessness. That’s a resource I want my patients to have in their toolshed. The ability to acknowledge that when things aren’t working out well, and hopelessness starts to seep in, that they have the power to choose who they are, who they want to become and what beliefs and actions best support them in becoming that person.
My hope is that, regardless of what they have been told as truth, that they would have the courage to challenge it, honor their beliefs, values and dreams, and move towards creating the life desire.
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?
None of us are immune to other people imparting their beliefs on us. Throughout my life, I accepted the beliefs of my parents, society and my medical providers, unknowingly allowing them to shape the way I viewed my future or the possibilities available to me. Those beliefs limited me and kept me locked in hopelessness. It was only when I began to question those beliefs, explore possibilities available to me, and reclaim my power that my entire life shifted. When I was 18-years-old, I had major abdominal surgery to remove a tumor on my ovary. When I woke up, my doctor told me I had stage 4 endometriosis, adhesions, and severely scarred fallopian tubes. Doctors told me it would be hard for me to have children, and that I would need fertility treatments. I accepted that belief, and unknowingly allowed it to play out in my life as an adult while actively trying to conceive. I knew more than anything I wanted to be a mother, and so with the beliefs of others ingrained in my body, I moved through fertility treatments in order to help me reach my goal. After enduring two miscarriages, a complicated IVF cycle and the subsequent delivery and deaths of my twins five days after they were born, the beliefs of others crept back in. They threatened to break me, to steal the hope I had of becoming a mother, and to limit my power.
My desire to become a mother was stronger than the setbacks I’d faced, and as I held that image in my mind, I was able to challenge the beliefs that told me I couldn’t. I searched for providers who were willing to support me on my journey and I looked for proof of miracles in my daily life. I created a vision board with images and quotes that supported my dreams, and I focused on what I wanted to create. I didn’t accept no as the final answer, and because of that, I have four beautiful children who are alive and full of abundant joy and energy today.
My desire is that anyone reading this would know how capable they are of creating a life they love. You have the power to challenge beliefs that don’t support you, to lean into the resources that will, and to make decisions that are in alignment with your goals.
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 felt like I was on top of the world working as a nurse in pediatric oncology. I’d created deep, meaningful relationships with my patients that honored them on their health journey and brought tremendous fulfillment into my life. My patients trusted in my ability to provide the highest level of care available and the information necessary for them to make informed medical decisions. I was their nurse, friend, sounding board, cheerleader and advocate. I showed up each day with a willingness to learn and serve the patients I had the privilege of working with. I was curious about the alternative healing modalities other countries were successfully using, so I applied for a research grant that allowed me to study it further. I learned that patients were supporting their bodies in nontoxic, affordable, and easy-to-implement ways that were having major impacts on their long-term outcomes.
I eagerly presented my research studies to the medical providers I worked with, believing that together we had the power to create massive change. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I was met with resistance, as the doctors told me it took too much time and effort to create change, and that you can’t make money on nature. After my initial shock wore off, I thought about their words. I imagined the big red button that says, “change is hard” sitting before me, screaming at me to run in the other direction, but there was a tugging in my stomach that I couldn’t quite decipher at the time. I loved my job and the patients I served so I continued to show up, provide excellent nursing care, and nourish the connections I had with my patients. I had meaning, but my purpose had changed. Instead of feeling fulfilled at work, I started feeling like a fraud. I began questioning everything I knew about the way we approached a cancer diagnosis and the treatment options we presented patients with. I listened as doctors recommended toxic chemicals, invasive surgeries, and social isolation, while avoiding the importance of adequate nutrition, detoxification, and limiting environmental toxins in treating cancer. I felt frustrated and powerless, as I withheld knowledge that could potentially help my patients. I had a hard time looking my patients in the eyes and promising hope, while knowingly administering toxic chemicals into their bloodstream. I knew chemotherapy had the ability to kill both good and bad cells, and that it came with many risks. But patients were willing to look past the risks and endure the pain in order to achieve wellness. I acknowledged that I was not honoring myself or the patients I served by hiding my knowledge about alternative healing modalities, nutrition and total body wellness. So, I chose to step out of the darkness and into the light, embracing my values and trusting in my ability to create meaning again.
Initially I was scared, my family was concerned, and society couldn’t comprehend my decision to leave a stable job. Many would rather stay in a job they hate than risk leaving it for something else. We are stuck in this idea that life is supposed to happen a certain way, and if you don’t do it that way, you are setting yourself up for failure. But what if you are failing to succeed by limiting yourself? Who are you becoming by modifying your beliefs and dismissing your values? What if patients didn’t need to suffer in order to heal? What if patients had the ability to support their body, mind, and soul in ways that honored them without being judged or ridiculed? What if patients had the ability to combine chemotherapy and alternative medicine in order to support their body in healing? What if patients were given resources and knowledge available to make informed decisions that support them individually? I pondered the answers to these questions as visions of my dream job took shape.
Today I have a successful healthcare practice that focuses on preventative healthcare and proactive health management. My values are at the center of my business, and I lead with integrity, transparency, knowledge, and passion. I greet my patients daily with a desire to learn and a heart to serve. I believe each patient is unique and that the care provided should be specific to them. I trust in the body’s innate ability to heal, and I know that when we know better, we can do better. I was able to create meaning again in my nursing practice without compromising my values, and I hope that inspires you to do the same in your life.
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?
That’s a big question and in order to fully answer it, I need to speak to the little girl version of me, who didn’t have the support she needed in her childhood to navigate adversity on her own. That little girl felt unworthy and powerless until someone saw potential in her and offered her a second chance. For years, I believed that was where my resilience came from. But today I can see that every experience I navigated, from the time I was born to where I sit talking to you now, contributed to the resiliency I have today. Resilience grew through me each time I chose to rise in the midst of suffering. It grew as I learned how to lean into faith. As I began to honor myself, my resilience carried me through storms that came to destroy me.
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.
Resiliency is a choice, a strong desire to create a life you love living. It’s the belief that things can get better and that we have the power to decide how we want to show up in the middle of adversity or in the aftermath of it.
I believe we are all capable of becoming more resilient and it starts with G.R.A.C.E.
G: Gratitude — Show gratitude towards yourself and others, regardless of what is happening around you. When we focus on gratitude, we are more able to see proof of goodness in all situations. This is easy to do and infectious.
Ex: You can do this by writing a letter, sending a text message, or calling to show your appreciation.
R: Releasing Control — You can’t control everything in life, but you can control how you show up, despite what’s happening around you. Decide what you can control, surrender anything you can’t, and reframe everything else.
Ex: After my son drowned, I felt powerless not knowing how to keep my children safe when they were outside of my care. Instead of remaining locked in this feeling, I asked myself what I could do. I could teach my children how to make decisions that helped keep them safe. I could teach them how to call 911, and I could teach them how to use their brave voices to ask for help.
A: Ask For Help — Asking for help and delegating tasks increases your ability to navigate challenging times. Prioritize what needs to be accomplished and delegate anything that doesn’t need to be completed by you specifically. This creates space for self-care, community and healthy boundary setting. This is even more essential during challenging times.
Ex: I’ve had many patients tell me they didn’t have time in their schedules to take their vitamins, play with their kids, or to meet friends for coffee. It’s so easy to make ourselves an afterthought in life, but by delegating tasks, we are able to accomplish more and spend time doing things that nourish our lives.
C: Celebrate Achievements (Big & Small) — It’s important to celebrate achievements, especially as we focus on our next goals. It is easy to forget how far we have come, especially when we are in the middle of a difficult season or have our sights set on the end goal. By acknowledging and celebrating the small achievements, we create a domino effect for hope and resilience to be built.
Ex: This might look like celebrating your pants fitting more comfortably instead of focusing on what the scale shows. In my life, celebrating the small achievements was cheering for our son when he vomited 9x a day instead of 10. Those little wins become big wins when we continue to see them.
E: Envision A Life You Love — Studies show that those who spend time visualizing what they want have a higher chance of achieving it. By visualizing a future that you wish to experience, you create a magnet that will help pull you through difficult times and towards what you desire.
Ex: I like to grab magazines, pictures and quotes that resonate with me and place them on a large picture frame. I hang my masterpiece in a place where I can see it multiple times daily, and I take the time to look at what I would like to create in my life. This is a fun way to focus on the things that make you feel good instead of the ones that don’t.
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 create a program that illustrates the connection between emotional and physical health. I would make sure all schools, libraries, and medical professionals have access to it and are comfortable sharing it. When people understand how their emotional health impacts their physical health, they increase the likelihood of expressing emotions in a safe way that promotes overall health as well as their hope for the future. My vision is to empower people to make healing an inside job again.
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 🙂
This makes me giddy imagining the possibility of having a meal with someone I admire. I would love to share a meal with the actors and writers from “This is Us.” I know it’s a TV show, but it’s so impactful. They clearly have life experience and knowledge that shaped the way they write and perform each scene. I’ve never been so affected by a show before and can relate to every episode in a way that moves me to tears. It’s powerful and exudes resilience. @thisisusofficial
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Email: [email protected]
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to share my journey and wisdom with you and your readers. Thank you for creating this space.