Be optimistic. I know the pandemic made it harder to look on the bright side, but I feel you can find a silver lining in just about anything.
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 Elizabeth Koraca.
Elizabeth Koraca is a Career Strategist and she is also the host of The Speaking Up Podcast which is ranked in the top 3% of all podcasts globally. She helps business professionals improve their image, messaging, and personal branding. She coaches and trains executives to reach their full potential by using a proven step-by-step program to sharpen presentation, interview, and communication skills. Representative clients include professionals at Google, Square, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, and many prominent New York-based hedge funds.
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?
Elizabeth Koraca is a former Reuters TV anchor who, after she gave a presentation to the class, was told by her high school English teacher, “don’t quit your day job.” Elizabeth is an executive coach and career strategist and host of the Speaking Up Podcast who trains, coaches and strategizes to help people boost job performance, excel in their careers and find their voices as a leader. What sets Elizabeth apart is her ability to take what she learned as a TV news anchor to help her clients succeed.
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?
During my career I’ve realized, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Whatever it is you’re working on, when you focus on perfection, you set yourself up for failure. If you’re putting your best into it, then you’ll have something to be proud of. I’ve heard that, “done is better than perfect” and I agree — if something is done, you can go back and tweak it; if you haven’t taken the leap or the risk, you have nothing to improve on.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My clients find me very relatable. When I give a presentation strategy, my clients say I make them feel very comfortable because I share personal stories of my challenges and how I got better.
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?
Bobbi Rebell fellow TV anchor at Reuters and when I arrived, she took me under her wing and showed me the ropes. TV news is competitive, but instead of competing with one another, she became one of my biggest cheerleaders.
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?
Someone who is resilient is someone who keeps going and perseveres even in the face of adversity. They bend, but they don’t break.
I find that resilient people don’t take no for an answer, they rise above the no. They ask for help.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
When I think of courage, I think more about speaking up. Courage powers you forward and gives you the strength of purpose to speak your mind and get what you want or speak out for what you feel is right.
Resilience is being able to bend with the winds of change and to adapt and not give up. Both are ideal traits and are great soft skills to hone.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I believe Nelson Mandala embodies resilience. Even when the cards seemed stacked against him — and they were — he still maintained his poise and his resilience.
Even though he spent many years in jail he never gave up. He moved past his adversity and forgave those who were against him.
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 wanted to be a television anchor everyone told me I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t have the experience, I had a Canadian accent (laughs) When everyone said no, I knew I had to prove to myself (and them) that I could realize my dreams. My determination and resilience in the face of the naysayers kept me going.
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 journalism career when I got laid off… that was a major setback. During the layoff, I searched for a new job and landed one at Reuters, the gold standard in news. The layoff was a blessing in disguise even if I didn’t see it that way at the time.
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?
This is kind of a funny story now but when I was in high school it crushed my spirit. I had to give a presentation as part of a high school class and afterward my English teacher told me, “don’t quit your day job.” That was crushing but it moved me forward and propelled me to achieve the dreams I’d set for myself. I didn’t let that comment keep me back.
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.
There are so many ways to become more resilient. I tell my coaching clients that resilience is a muscle that can be honed. Here are my best strategies for becoming more resilient:
- Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you project that to the world and build that belief in others?
- Find your sense of purpose. If you know what your goals and missions are you will stay on that path and bounce back from setbacks.
- Find a network of friends, family and colleagues and strengthen those bonds. Those closest to you are your biggest cheerleaders.
- Know that there will be forks in the road. If you embrace change and are able to adapt that will help you.
- Be optimistic. I know the pandemic made it harder to look on the bright side, but I feel you can find a silver lining in just about anything.
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. 🙂
Don’t look back unless you can learn from a mistake. Don’t let yourself get so stuck in a bad experience that you won’t let yourself bounce back. Find ways to be resilient. Truly, Covid, I believe is helping people see that they are resilient, even if they didn’t think they were.
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 :-
Oprah. She is such a thought leader. Growing up I watched her on television. It was a time that me and my mom spent together and it was such a great memory. Oprah brought topics to the table I hadn’t imagined and watching it with my mom gave us deeper shared experiences. Oprah influenced my coaching career because of some of the guests she had on her show. TD Jakes, Cheryl Richardson and Martha Beck were a few of her guests who opened my eyes to becoming a coach.
Oprah influences me to this day.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
On my website: https://www.elizabethkoraca.com/
On Instagram: https://www.elizabethkoraca.com/
On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethkoraca/
You can hear my podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-speaking-up-podcast/id1580960891
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!