Finding your purpose is easy. I teach on this a lot. I remember after high school looking high and low for my purpose. Thinking about it trying to figure it out. The key is to pay attention to the things that make you happy.
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 Danielle Robinson
Danielle is a New Jersey woman with a southern charm, her vibe is warm and her message is Excellence. She is founded XL With Danielle with a passion for people to see them excel and become the best version of themselves.
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 Authority Magazine for allowing me to share my story.
I’m a former military brat that’s traveled the world (England to Hawaii) since birth. This amazing experience of meeting people from all different walks of life showed me, we truly are ALL the same. We all want to be accepted, loved and have fulfilment. We struggle with the same life problems and we all have kid like dreams we want to fulfil. XL With Danielle is my passion fulfilled to help propel my clients to excellence by achieving their dreams.
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 Universe is always speaking to us. Before I embraced my assignment to step out of my comfort zone, and into my purpose of helping people in a big way I worked for a corporate job. I HATED it. I loathed getting up everyday going to a job for 8 hours of my life where there was absolutely no upward mobility or satisfaction. I liken it to Burger King (I’ve worked for them too). In fast food there’s limited positions; fries, burgers, cashier, manager. That’s it. I felt like a part of me was dying everyday for 8 hours. I applied to every job on Indeed and Craigslist. I had no response, little to no call backs. I felt frustrated and hopeless, until I made a shift. I started thinking maybe it’s not that I can’t leave, but maybe something is keeping me here. I decided to go back to school to complete my degree (something that always nagged me) . Soon doors began to open for me, my thinking changed, my attitude towards work changed. Suddenly I was happy, eventually school was over and doors began to open for me to move forward into my excellence.
One of the biggest lessons I learned through this experience is that the Universe will speak. So when doors and opportunities refuse to budge take a breath, step back and reassess. I believe that when we are on the right track things with come together organically. You shouldn’t have to constantly force the situation (love, job, friends, work etc). If triangle block doesn’t fit in the square cut hole, it might be the wrong fit. Stop, Sit and assess.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
XL with Danielle isn’t just a company it’s an extension of myself. I’m not just working when I’m speaking on stage, working with group or one on one. I don’t believe in meeting by chance, there’s always someone that needs a boost, to be encouraged, a laugh or smile. So often when I feel the urge I stop and engage. You would be surprised how many people just need a small kind word from a stranger.
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 mentor Dr. Sarah Rene Langley has been a monumental figure in my life. She is such a kindred spirit. Her support of letting me whine and cry and give tough love when needed is always on point. She believed in my vision and poured into me. We had a chance meeting (again, there are no chances) and our relationship grew easily and quickly. There are so many moments where she has lived by example and shared with me her challenges that have only encouraged me that I was on the right track and “it’s not just 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?
Resilience is a refusal to break under extreme pressure. People that are resilient have character that has been developed through difficulties that help support you to stand through the storm. I believe people that are resilient aren’t people that cut corners they understand that there’s a process for the purpose of development.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
They are pretty similar but, when I think of courage I visualise a warrior going into battle. I look at courage as an action, movement forward into a challenge, a fear or opposition. Resilience I honestly think of a surfer caught in a slew of waves that keep rollin in. I’ve only done this once but, you can flip your surf board when the wave comes and flip over again after a few seconds after it has past. Resilience is holding on to your board and keep flipping, wave after wave until there’s a break. It’s the act of holding firm regardless of how tired you get or how big the waves are. Resilience takes more than courage it’s a practice that can becomes a muscle memory, once it’s planted there it never goes away.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing veterans that have experience a wide range of challenges with Multiple Sclerosis and Spinal Cord Injury. I see miracles and resilience all the time. I liken them to retired professional athletes. After you have made some of the world records of amazing feats how do you retire back to “normal” life. Resilience varies based on the person. For example to some resilience can be a simple task of folding laundry and feeling good about it. We celebrate every win!
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 person that’s told me on many occasions something was impossible has been me. Shocking? I am at war with that small but powerful inner voice. Recently for my birthday while on vacation I chose to jump off a 50’ cliff into the beautiful turquoise water of Pirates Cove in Turks and Caicos. I was petrified! I couldn’t do that. When I jumped I was conflicted in my body, my knees up worked up the nerve but my feet didn’t agree and it was an ugly side flop. OUCH! But no matter how ugly (and painful) it was I DID IT and lived to tell you about it! I believe every time we do something inspite of fear we take power away from that voice. My secret to that voice is a small whisper. “Do it anyway”.
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?
In my 20’s I was in an abusive relationship for 6 years. It was a very toxic emotionally and psychologically, it caused division between me and my family. I couldn’t see it, I thought they were just against him, they didn’t know him like I did. People tried to counsel me but I could’t hear them. What I will say for anyone that know’s or has a loved one in this situation, unless they are in physical danger don’t force it. Let them know how you feel, remind them every now and then but don’t beat them over the head. They will leave at some point, but on their own terms. Once they make the decision they will leave for good. One day it clicked for me, I was tired of the pressure and I walked away and I never went back. It took support of my family to get through the separation, it got a little scary I had to file a restraining order but I knew my family had my back and they were very supportive. It was a process, I went through therapy, I moved for a fresh start and began putting my life together day by day. 10 years later I advocate for healthy relationships communication and active listening.
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?
Simplistically resiliency comes through struggle. I grew up moving every 3 years to a new state or country. While fun, it was difficult to get up and leave friends, try to make new ones during those awkward childhood phases. I was teased, buillied, and put in special ed. I felt like the ugly duckling that just couldn’t find the right pond. There was a period I in turn became a bully to someone else, I regret that period to this day. What I realised many years later listening to peer accounts and stories no one felt “like they belonged”. We all were going through the same thing, but thought we were the only ones. We were all alone together.
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.
- Let go of the wheel (it wasn’t in drive anyway). I recall a difficult time in my life where I had mounds of responsibilities, bills, and no way to fill or pay them. I found peace that to this day I work to tap back into. I completely let go of trying to force the triangle and square blocks because I couldn’t “make” it happen. I meditated did what work I could and was still until a clear path formalised. I could not have put it together myself. I would have only stressed myself out, instead I was calm and without hesitation KNEW it was going to come together.
- Create your Tool Box. This is whatever makes you feel better; songs, yoga, activities, power posing whatever helps your feel better or centered. (You will need this throughout life)
- No one really has all the answers. We are figuring this life thing out together.
- Whatever you’re going through someone has written a book about what your struggling with (find it).
- Finding your purpose is easy. I teach on this a lot. I remember after high school looking high and low for my purpose. Thinking about it trying to figure it out. The key is to pay attention to the things that make you happy.
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. 🙂
My movement is Excellence. Excellence is being authentically, unapologetically and absolutely yourself. I feel that we often times believe and measure our best with a comparison to someone or something. I don’t believe that’s true. I believe we are at our complete best when we tap into ourselves. Everyone’s excellence is different and cannot be measured. Only you can gauge if you are at your best.
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 🙂
Wow that’s a toughy! So many have made such a tremendous impact on my life. My ultimate brunch would have to be with Jill Bolte Taylor. She’s a brain scientist that documented her physical and spiritual experience of having a stroke and the aftermath in her book ‘My stroke of Insight.’ I read her book preparing for work in healthcare and some of points became pillars of my daily practice. “You are responsible for your ENERGY you bring into a room” & “I’m in here, come find me.” I never knew that my having a gentle energy was a strength. Powerful book.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!