Forgive yourself for whatever “mistakes” you believe you made that have contributed to your present circumstances. Self-judgment saps your energy and kills creativity. I’ve had to do a lot of self-forgiveness over the enormous debt I wracked up while creating the Millionaire Marriage Club. Helga would say, “You’re so bad with money. You’ll never get ahead. Look what a mess you made. Everyone is viewing you as the loser in the family.” Over and over again I’d place my hand on my heart and repeat this mantra, “I forgive myself for judging myself as irresponsible. The truth is I’ve always been doing the best I knew how to do. And, I’m paying back those to whom I owe money. It’s forgivable to make mistakes! The lessons I’ve learned will serve me well in the future.”

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 Nancy Landrum.

Nancy Landrum spent the past twenty-five years teaching communication and conflict management skills that transformed their troubled marriage into the love they wanted. Nancy holds a Masters Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Consciousness, Health and Healing. She’s authored eight books on healthy relationships, featured on national radio, national marriage conferences and enjoys a successful private coaching practice.

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?

Going way back, I was three when I knew I wanted a more loving marriage than it seemed my parents had. When I learned to read, I knew I would write books to help others have more loving relationships. What I didn’t know is that it would take forty plus years for me to learn how to create and sustain a loving marriage!

My late husband Jim and I were both widowed. We had five children between us. We were woefully unprepared for the unique challenges of stepfamily dynamics. What began as a small squabble morphed into almost daily fights over our differences in parenting. Within a few years we knew we needed help and began searching diligently for someone to help us figure out how to stop the pain we were inflicting on ourselves and our children. We finally found a coach who taught us the basics of respectful communication. Soon the fighting stopped and shortly after that we worked out the solution to our issue. We enjoyed seventeen more loving years together before Jim died in 2005.

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 pivotal story that actually led to the career fulfillment I dreamed of as a child was the day Jim and I sat down to talk about our hot issue using the new skills our coach had taught us. We stumbled our way through the issue that in the past had escalated into terrible fights, but, this time, we were doing our best to speak respectfully. It was like trying to speak in a foreign language, but we made it through 45 minutes without it turning into a fight. A first! As we stood, Jim held his arms open to me and said, “That felt so respectful. Let’s always do our best to always treat each other with respect.” We had to work at it, but we never had another fight and the elements of what I teach and write about were experienced in that exchange.

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

What I’m told by clients is unique about my business is that I’ve lived everything I teach. I have a multitude of personal examples to illustrate every concept I’m asking that they learn and apply to their own relationship. I’ve been angry the way they are angry. I’ve acted in ways I was ashamed of and had regrets and made apologies. I was in so much pain that I wanted to die. But,, I also was willing to assume responsibility for changing my own behaviors in order to turn our relationship around. I understand how hard it is to change lifetime habits. I also know first-hand that you cannot expect a healthier, more loving marriage if you are unwilling to change your contribution to it!

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?

May I share about two persons?

Jackie Barille was the coach who patiently and skillfully worked with Jim and me for about six months. She listened while we complained about each other and then taught us good anger management skills. She was compassionate and wise and amazingly skillful at helping us navigate our way through tremendous conflict to the consistently loving marriage we both wanted. Because we did it, I know anyone who’s willing to do what we did can achieve the marriage of their dreams, as well.

I must also include Jim Landrum. He not only hung in there with me through some stressful years, but was willing to be responsible for changing himself. I can’t give him enough credit for the personal work he did to help save our marriage. Beyond that, he believed in me. He encouraged me to return to school for my masters degree. He believed I could write a book and teach classes. He urged me to charge more for my coaching because he knew I was worth it. I would not be the woman I am or have the career I have without his lavish love and bedrock belief in me!

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?

Perhaps first of all a person demonstrates resilience simply by persevering. There are some seasons of life that just must be waited out until they change. I was only twenty-three years old when my first husband unexpectedly died. I had two baby boys. I did not have good coping skills and wasn’t prepared for this traumatic event. All I could do was put one foot in front of the other, day after day, wading through the depression and grief, until a few years later I began to enjoy my life and my boys again. I hope that someone in that circumstance today would reach out for professional help, join a grief group, be more pro-active in looking for support. But I only knew how to just stay alive one day at a time. About a year after his death, my boys and I moved to a different home. As we pulled away from the home their dad and I had bought, I noticed, for the first time, that all the grass was dead. In that first year of shock my highest priority was just surviving…changing the next diaper, fixing the next bowl of oatmeal. Sometimes resilience is paring life down to the have-to’s and letting go of the rest. Watering the yard wasn’t a priority.

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

There is no doubt that it takes courage to wake up to another day of stress , trauma, or disaster and simply do whatever you can to address what is in front of you. Sometimes it is all you can do to spend the day on the sofa watching reruns of your favorite show. Even that takes the courage to believe that it’s OK to recharge your batteries by being a couch potato for a day! Then there is the courage it takes to call a creditor to ask for a reduction in terms, or to fill out a grocery list and eliminate everything that isn’t life-sustaining, or to pick up supplies from the local food bank, or to ask a relative for a loan. What about the times when grief is so thick that you can’t breathe, let alone imagine surviving such a loss. Tough times require mountains of courage so that eventually someone can admire you for being resilient!

In my mind courage and resilience are so intertwined it’s impossible to separate them. A few years ago I painted an 11”x14” poster that said in big letters and bright colors, “COURAGE!” It still hangs in my office.

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

I think of my parents. When newlyweds, my dad was self-employed a bee-keeper and my mom was working an entry level job as a secretary. He came home from tending his bees one day to tell his bride, “The bees were poisoned. They’re all dead and the honey crop is worthless.” On the same day she told him, “I’m pregnant.” They struggled for several years before a farming business he founded with his brothers began to be successful. It became so successful that they donated 30% of their profits every year to charity. They were persons of strong faith, honesty, integrity, and generosity.

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?

The most powerful person that tells me something is impossible is the negative voice in my head! I call my negative voice Helga. She’s big and tough and reminds me of a prison guard. (My apologies to anyone named Helga!) When I had the inspiration to create an online relationship skills course, Helga said, “You’re too old to learn all this technology. You’ll never figure out how to publish the course and make it available to the public. No one will buy it. Don’t waste your time!” But, I made friends with the support staff of Tech Smith. They taught me what I needed to know about their recording program. I hired designers from to design a logo and a professional looking power point deck. One day when Helga was relentlessly hounding me with her negative pronouncements, I got up from my desk, began stomping around my home yelling at her, “Shut up! Leave me alone! I will not quit. I will finish this even if no one ever buys it or it’s no good! Just shut up!” Helga in my head quieted down and never again has she bombarded me with the level of negativity that she did over that project. It took a year, but I finished it. The Millionaire Marriage Club launched in 2017 and has successfully taught marriage skills to dozens of couples so far. I believe it is destined for an even bigger audience.

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?

There have been a few…all of them painful and now behind me. But the one I’m thinking of occurred during the year I was creating the online skills program I just told you about. I was so sure that there would be an instant, huge market for the program that I went into debt for living and technical expenses. I soon learned that creating the program required one set of new skills. Selling the program required a different set of skills. In spite of my best efforts, I couldn’t sell enough courses to repay the $80,000 in debt that I’d accumulated. I had to let my credit rating tank and turn over the debts to a company that negotiated settlements for me. There were times when I couldn’t buy a tank of gas. I gave up coffee and paper towels because they were not necessary to sustain life. I borrowed money from my sisters to pay essential bills. It’s taken five years, but just recently I made the last payment to settle that debt. Meanwhile my coaching business has been growing. It’s been quite a while since I worried about having enough money to buy groceries or gas. This past year opportunities to share my story and my work began multiplying including this interview. My deepest desire is to put the tools that create successful relationships in the hands of millions of persons rather than a few that I coach. It seems to be happening!

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?

Although my parents were good people with fine qualities that I hope I share with them, for some reason I didn’t feel loved. I understand now that they came from an era where the goal was financial survival. They made sure I and my sisters were clothed and fed. They taught us good manners, but they didn’t know how to nurture a sense of value in me. I believed I was there to behave and make them look good. As an adult, I realized they truly loved me to the limit of their own experience, but I craved the feeling of being loved. Looking back, I believe I was suffering from childhood depression. Perhaps I began developing resilience by surviving my emotionally bleak childhood. That experience created in me a perpetual hunger for growth. I wanted to answer the question, “How do I stop feeling so much pain? When will I be old enough to start my own family where there will be love?” I am very fortunate that I didn’t fall for the first guy that paid attention to me. Although my first husband was as ignorant about how to create a loving marriage as I was, he was good, honest, faithful and committed to me. After trying to change him for a few years, I finally became willing to make a few simple changes in myself that profoundly improved our relationship. The last eighteen months we were together before he died were the best times of our short marriage.

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. Forgive yourself for whatever “mistakes” you believe you made that have contributed to your present circumstances. Self-judgment saps your energy and kills creativity. I’ve had to do a lot of self-forgiveness over the enormous debt I wracked up while creating the Millionaire Marriage Club. Helga would say, “You’re so bad with money. You’ll never get ahead. Look what a mess you made. Everyone is viewing you as the loser in the family.” Over and over again I’d place my hand on my heart and repeat this mantra, “I forgive myself for judging myself as irresponsible. The truth is I’ve always been doing the best I knew how to do. And, I’m paying back those to whom I owe money. It’s forgivable to make mistakes! The lessons I’ve learned will serve me well in the future.”
  2. Spend your energy where it gives you a good return. For me, doing something creative refills my depleted energy. I once bought a $.79 package of sweet pea flower seeds that, a few weeks later, yielded a 30 foot long, 8 foot high bonanza of gorgeous colors. Just the sight of them nourished my soul. Giving multiple bouquets away to friends and family made me feel rich! One summer I bought cheap, marked down furniture pieces at the thrift store and painted them outrageous, fiesta-like colors. Brushing those colors on dilapidated chairs and tables cheered me up. They sold online. Others who were hurting were cheered by their bright colors. I’ve learned that indulging in a creative pursuit feeds my store of energy. Then I can spend that energy on my business. It’s not wasted time. Even though Helga often thinks I should “go back to work,” the more creative I’ve been, the more energy I’ve had to deal with the tough issues.
  3. Notice who drains your energy and who feeds your energy. Limit or avoid people who drain your energy by their negativity or lack of belief in you. Spend most of your time with those who are encouraging and believe you can successfully put the hard times behind you! Along the same line, feed your brain with thoughts and beliefs that are uplifting. For one two year stretch when the debt was hanging heavy on my shoulders, I listened to the audio versions of Tosha Silver’s books, “Outrageous Openness” and “It’s Not Your Money!” Her teachings about the abundance of the Universe and its desire to bless me was nourishment for my soul. I often went to bed with these recordings and played them over and over when I couldn’t sleep.
  4. At one point a couple of years ago I felt guided to give my business over completely to God. That was a decision I struggled with for quite a while. I am passionate about my dream of helping to heal as many hurting relationships as possible. Ultimately, I handed it over saying, “If I must be content with only a few clients at a time, then help me be at peace and be grateful for the ones I reach. If You want more couples to be reached with these life-changing skills, then You will have to bring it about. I can’t do anymore or afford more on my own.” Sometimes the only thing left to do is surrender to a higher Wisdom than your own. Two weeks later I was contacted by someone from Transformation Radio asking if I’d like to be interviewed by Dr. Pat. Yes! We’ve made 8 or 9 shows together. She is enthusiastic about the skills I teach and so encouraging to me. A coincidence? I think not. By the way, you can hear the interviews on my website.
  5. I’ve survived the loss of two husbands and one adult son. Such losses are enormous…life-changing. Grief certainly requires the courage to go on, but not at whatever pace others think you should! Grief takes time and great deal of physical, emotional and mental energy. It’s important to follow your wounded heart by grieving in whatever way you need to. Be angry! Cry! Make a memory book. Be with a friend who will let you talk about your loved one. Eventually give yourself permission to laugh again. The intensity of grief will eventually ease, but for me, it’s never gone away. I recently had to have my companion dog of fifteen years euthanized. I held him in the vet’s office and sobbed. I understood that this fresh grief was reaching down deep and touching all the other losses.

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 dream of a world where everyone…EVERYONE…learns and practices the skills of respectful communication. What healing would take place if business owners treated their employees and customers with honesty and respect? What could happen world-wide if our politicians learned and practiced respectful communication? What if generals were taught how to facilitate solutions to issues that met both party’s needs? Realistically, what I actually have the power to influence is that every marriage I work with gives the partners a union where they feel seen, heard and valued, and provide a happy, loving place in which to rear well-adjusted, well-loved children. The thought gives me goose-bumps!

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 🙂

I’m laughing because doesn’t every author want to meet Oprah Winfrey? And be interviewed on Super Soul Sunday? Truthfully, I believe my message is perfectly aligned with hers. Oprah, do you hear me? (smile)

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Website: My Facebook page is Nancy Landrum Author Coach

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.