Resilience to me is simply not giving up and standing back up every time you fall as my granny says. Each person gets to define resilience for themselves, but I say a trait or characteristic is going to be one that rides the waves and floats even though there is no boat.

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 Daijah Barnes.

Daijah Barnes of Mirror Management is a renowned Author, Educator, Personal Development Coach, and Parent. Daijah has always chosen to be black and positively golden despite being a broke and broken teen mom. Daijah loves creating words that connect. She also enjoys creating memories, raising her family, learning, traveling, and speaking. If you can’t find her in the kitchen or being a creative, feel free to be updated at

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?

First, I’d like to thank you for investing your time at this moment and allowing me to serve your readers. I grew up in a city called Rochester, which turned into murder capital, I’m sure poverty had something to do with it, but there was more than likely a few fates for young women: Pregnant struggling dropout or you stayed focused and left, which we have the greatness that has left the town but some still residing. I’m the oldest of 8 and assisted my mother as if I was a parent, so her resilience rubbed off on me; she was a single parent, and she dated and got help with those things eventually, but the former dating is what shaped my experiences. I followed her footsteps and became that single mom, but I was the first in my family to graduate high school pregnant, with scholarships, 4.0 average, and of course sleepy, haha. I moved out at 17 years old and moved my children’s father in, and we were young, dumb, and broke, as Khalid would say. I like to reference songs sometimes, but yes, that was us, attempting to be adults as teens who didn’t know much and wasn’t’ ready to walk into adulthood. My father wasn’t the best model either, like my stepfather’s model, but it felt out of place because he seemed too perfect. My grandmother: my father’s mother would always say no matter how many times you fall, get back up, and she had this voicemail that said smiles are free, so be generous and give a smile. That is how I responded to most things optimistically and with a smile because I knew I would get back up again if I fell. I ended up separating from their father because, like many fathers, I knew: physical abuse and his attempt to ruin my life at any chance he got. We reunited, and a year after reuniting, he was sent to prison for manslaughter, and I was alone. My need to feel needed drove me into a similar situation, this time verbally, lacking appreciation, and I welcomed a baby with the guy. I set goals, and despite feeling like I was repeating a cycle, I completed college, and my children were there, and I began speaking to motivate people and inspire them. Still, then I went home and felt useless because I had no companion. Somehow again! Yes, I ended up in a similar situation, except this guy was savvy in his works and knew mentally how to control. After some beach meditation, praying, and tears, I made an appeal to God, and one hour after I arrived at my destination, the truth was revealed, and I set myself free, but that wasn’t the obviously because I’m still here and bare a child with him as well, but it was the end of my insecurities and feeling the need to be needed

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 from my career so far is working with a client not knowing her background and then finding out they were in a current secretive relationship with my former partner. We worked so well together, and I was so upset once I found out it was him, but his behavior has always spoken for itself. We couldn’t work together anymore once I found out, and for me, I was proud that I didn’t allow emotions to take the lead and be reactive instead of responsive. I acknowledge what I felt, though, and that’s why I always say, “If It Aint One Thing To Grow Through, Its Another”

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

Authenticity. What you see is what you get. People love professional doers, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m independent, so when groups of women come together to begin their healing, it’s like a breath of fresh air; their children now have a different version to look up to that will only continue to excel.

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 mom is resilient. She goes after whatever she set to be done doesn’t stop until it’s done, and I’m grateful that I have that as a model. I have had tremendous support from Dress For Success to YMCAS and so many more people who have invested in my journey that I’ll be naming for hours if I do try to name everyone. My children, since being a teen mom have always been an inspiration to fight, rest, and come back harder each time. They’re looking up to me, and so are my seven siblings, whether they say it or not.

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 to me is simply not giving up and standing back up every time you fall as my granny says. Each person gets to define resilience for themselves, but I say a trait or characteristic is going to be one that rides the waves and floats even though there is no boat.

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

Courage is just doing whatever is set out even if there’s fear, but resilience is yes, I’m doing this, and I’m scared, but I have to get back up no matter what.

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

A few people come to mind. One of my grandmothers is a recovered drug addict, and you have to be resilient to leave the addiction. Many people may not know, but sugar is a drug that is addicting that a lot of us are struggling to leave, but with resilience, anything is possible. My aunt comes to mind she the matriarch of our family, and she endured so much in less than ninety years, from adoption, family problems, and hundreds of people depending on her emotionally at the minimum. She is really resilient: I can only imagine the suffering she has endured, but she never complains.

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 Remember a rumor in my family about my teenage motherhood, thinking I was grown, disrespectful, and wasn’t going to graduate high school and so forth? Although it hurt, I had something to prove, so I needed to be the first to graduate high school and set an example in that format, but that rumor didn’t travel too far.

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 youngest child’s father was similar to me in a way, but his own person. I created an image of him in my mind that he didn’t live up to, and I had to come to the realization that I was going to be a single mom because of his choices and lack, and he’d cause emotional scars to my other children. I never noticed how they were affected by the separation, and at that point, I thought I wouldn’t date again or be happy. I was growing through something. Thankfully that is not true, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, and during that time of turbulence, my Loaf of bread theory was created. I’m grateful for the experience, but I know now specific red flags that are not acceptable.

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?

Lack of essential items were resiliency builders for me, I would work for people doing yard work, and when I turned 13, I got a job at the first black-owned radio station in my hometown. It was a stipend, but it helped with school clothes for me and my siblings and more.

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. Take seven breaths as soon as you wake up: Pray or bring yourself in remembrance of 7 things you’re grateful for

2. “I love you and forgive you” in the mirror and stare for 10 seconds ( I have my clients do this)

3. Journal, while sipping tea, Chamomile is my favorite; it relaxes you

4. Stretch or workout to get your body flowing; my clients dance to their favorite song everyday

5. Remember Everyone is learning, and compassion given will be given

6. I am Love.Opportunities.Awareness.Forgiveness

7. Water before solving a problem (what’s not suppose to stay imagine flushing it out with water)

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. 🙂

There are so many movements, but I’d say any movement that says this one size fits all will solve the problems.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

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.