Take time to reflect on life events we know as catalyst moments. Know that the more you use those resilience muscles, the more they will develop. You may not realise it at the time, but those moments that test your resilience are gold in terms of life lessons.

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 Gail Eaton-Briggs.

In her work as an accomplished business coach, mentor, trainer and public speaker, Gail Eaton-Briggs is passionate about guiding her clients’ personal and professional growth through the framework of her book, Conscious Grit: from stuck to unstoppable.

She started Everywhen Solutions in 2019, using her expertise in facilitation, leadership, people development, communication and mentoring to develop bespoke solutions for her clients. In 2023, Everywhen Solutions was nominated as a finalist in the Australian Small Business Awards.

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?

I grew up in Tasmania, the island state of Australia, with my parents and two younger brothers.

I was conditioned as a child of the ’60s and ’70s: find a partner, work hard, play fair, get on with others and everything will be OK. Live within your means and don’t be a show-off! My well-meaning, loving and supportive parents modelled that and encouraged me — gently and not so gently — to follow that path. It was the path of their parents and their path. That’s what they knew.

We all have a vision of how life will be and mine was standard for the times. I wanted a career in teaching, but I was discouraged from pursuing it. Instead, I was encouraged to get married. So, Peter and I married before I turned 19.

And then, stuff happened. I call this stuff an “unexpected crap hand”. Before the age of 22, I had no idea that life could deal me one. Until November 11 1981, I thought failed relationships, pets getting run over and grandparents dying were as bad as life got. I knew there was suffering, but that all happened to other people.

On that day, my then-husband suffered a serious cerebral hemorrhage that left him with life-changing impairments to his executive functioning and personality.

Juggling being both mum, dad and the breadwinner, I studied and carved out a career in local and state government in the areas of early education and care, child safety and vocational education and training. Over the next 30 years, I developed a reputation for being a very effective senior executive and Authorised Celebrant.

I’ve reflected on the events of my life, including challenges, opportunities and learnings, and developed the Model of Conscious Grit. My book, Conscious Grit: from stuck to unstoppable, has helped countless people get unstuck and achieve their goals — just what I wanted it to do.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

I’ve been given so many opportunities over the course of my career. When vacancies became available, I was often approached by my superiors and encouraged to apply. I’m driven by wanting to make a difference, so in my early years, I found it difficult to take up new opportunities because I felt that I hadn’t accomplished everything I needed to in my existing role.

When I spoke about this with a wise mentor, he said, “Gail, you will never have finished the job. That’s a fact. If you’re waiting to wrap up a role in a neat little parcel with a ribbon, you’ll never move on. Be realistic — do what you can, make a difference while you’re there and take the next opportunity.” And so, I did exactly that, over and over again. I ended up having the most fantastic career across the children’s services, vocational education and training and child safety sectors, experiencing an upwards trajectory in very interesting and rewarding roles for many years.

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

I am the company. I am the brand. I live and breathe Everywhen Solutions. When my clients book or contract me for a service, they get my personal attention. Given that I’m a sole operator, I’m able to be flexible and I love to deliver bespoke services that meet my clients’ needs. I’m responsive, I pick up the phone and I go the extra mile.

Towards the end of 2021, M enrolled in the Conscious Grit Model 30-Day Challenge. She had been feeling stuck in her professional life. M knew she wanted to do something different, but she couldn’t see a clear path.

M completed the challenge, focusing on using big C Courage. In her coaching session, we talked through how she could apply a range of tools to her situation.

M booked another coaching session five weeks later. By that time, so many things had changed. M had:

  • Applied for a role she really wanted
  • Confidently undergone the job interview
  • Landed the job she’d aspired to for years
  • Accepted the role
  • Actively laid foundations for the future by taking practical steps around another passion
  • A new lease on life and was full of energy and smiles

M hasn’t booked any further sessions. In her words: “Gail, I’m not stuck anymore.”

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?

There are many people who helped me along the way, but I’ll focus on two people who encouraged me to participate in a leadership program many years ago. The first is the then CEO of TAFE Tasmania who recognised something in me that I didn’t know myself at the time. He nominated me for the program and I declined (can you believe it?!), but he persisted and I finally said yes!

The second person is the facilitator of that program. During our one-on-one coaching sessions, she pushed me to set a 10-year goal and it was the most powerful thing for me. My goal was to become a celebrant when I retired — about 20 years from that time. But once my goal was on the whiteboard, I knew I had to set the wheels in motion to achieve it. I started the process and became a celebrant in 2007. It has been life-changing for me — it has built my confidence, my public-speaking skills and my ability to connect with a diversity of couples.

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

Both courage and resilience require inner strength and mental fortitude. They both involve facing challenges, adversity or fear with a positive mindset and finding the strength to persevere.

Resilience is sometimes referred to as “bouncing back”. But in bouncing back, we often don’t return to our original state. Knowing that, we might be frightened to do what is necessary to bounce back. I believe resilience is driven by courage.

In my book, Conscious Grit, I refer to big C and little C courage. Little C courage drives persistence, tenacity, resilience and determination. When we also wrap a growth mindset, goal-setting and planning around these, we find that our little C courage becomes big C Courage — and that’s when the magic happens. We make progress, our resilience develops and we gain confidence that we can bounce back when we face challenges.

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

In my work as a funeral celebrant, I hear some amazing stories of resilience. Many of the people whose lives I help celebrate lived through World War II, the Great Depression, technological revolutions and so much more. They often grew up in families of eight to 12 children in tiny homes, walked to school and back, and did farm work before and after school.

A more contemporary example is Turia Pitt. In 2011, she suffered severe burns during a bushfire and this left her with life-changing injuries. She has had endless treatments and suffered so much pain, but she has demonstrated incredible strength, embracing an active lifestyle and using her story to inspire others.

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 was a senior manager overseeing services for children and families. One of the buildings that was used extensively needed a substantial renovation that would take three to four months. The coordinator of the service had decided it should close for this period as there was no alternative location. I knew this would have a negative impact on the children and families using the building, so I set about finding an alternative location. I was successful in relocating the entire service without affecting the children or families.

My secret recipe for making this happen was to use my networks and relationships. There was no obvious solution, but after reaching out, asking questions and taking the time to explore even the most unlikely arrangements, I found the solution in partnership with others. Curiosity, determination and tenacity were the keys to my success. I used my courage to implement a direction that wasn’t supported by the other manager.

Did you have a time in your life when you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

This has happened many times in my life, but a salient example is when I made the decision to walk away from a very senior role because the values clash I was experiencing daily was having a detrimental impact on my health. I dug deep to figure out what I really wanted to achieve in my career and I realised it was to make a visible difference. I packaged up my skills and knowledge into several offerings and threw them out to the universe. My motivation was to see “what stuck”.

What stuck formed the foundations of Everywhen Solutions — people development solutions and celebrant services. That was in late 2019.

As soon as I got my business off the ground, COVID struck. Some of the projects that clients were going to invest in stalled and I had time on my hands. Instead of panicking, I put my energy into writing the book I’d always wanted to write. It has now become a key platform for my business activities around people development solutions.

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?

The earliest time I can remember cultivating my resilience is documented in Conscious Grit: from stuck to unstoppable. When I was 22, my husband suffered a brain aneurysm and our first child was born 11 days later. My husband suffered ongoing cognitive, physical and emotional issues as a result of his illness, so I became mum and dad to our son and carer to my husband.

When my own daughter got to the age of 22, it suddenly struck me — I was just a baby when I went through that and I was incredibly resilient. Looking back now, I think my resilience was inspired by the love I had for our baby and my determination that he would get everything he needed — even if I had to do 90 percent of the giving on behalf of both of us.

I look back at that terrible time and the very difficult years that followed with both sadness for my husband and gratitude for the incredible gift of the lessons learnt — even though I didn’t realise it at the time.

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.

In my book, Conscious Grit: from stuck to unstoppable, I share this story.

There is a wishing well in my garden. It was made by my dad some years ago. It is about a metre tall, has a peaked roof and a round well. It was forgotten for many years and languished behind a shed next to a small fuchsia. Now that small fuchsia has become big and is flourishing; its flowers and foliage are beautiful in its flowering season. I grew it from a cutting from a plant that was in my grandmother’s backyard. I took the cutting in about 1988, and she would have planted it 20 years before that. It’s old, and it has adapted to its circumstances, seasons and suburbs, and various levels of care and attention.

Earlier this year, I noticed that in its attempt to grow and find as much sun as possible, some of its branches had pushed through the roof of the wishing well. Some would see the roof as a barrier. But not this plant. This story reflects many things you need to do when faced with a challenge.

  1. Keep growing — be open to continuing to learn and improve; no knowledge is a load to carry.
  2. We don’t all do well in all environments. If you feel that the environment you are currently in is not ‘right’ for you, commit to moving on and finding the right space for you.
  3. Make sure your mindset is in growth mode. That is, be open to learning from the challenges. Avoid the temptation to say, “It’s just too hard, so I’ll stay put,” or “It’s no use trying.”
  4. Figure out what you need and find a way to get it. Is it professional support, a mentor, a new social group or to divest yourself of the ‘emotional vampires’ that might be in your life?
  5. Take time to reflect on life events we know as catalyst moments. Know that the more you use those resilience muscles, the more they will develop. You may not realise it at the time, but those moments that test your resilience are gold in terms of life lessons.

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. 🙂

We need to value our children. A 2016 survey of 1000 people over the age of 18 found that almost half the respondents (48 percent) believe it’s more challenging to be a child today than in the past. Only 16 percent believe that Australia is a safer society to grow up in today than in the past. The top five most commonly chosen words to describe children were spoilt, fortunate, lazy, selfish and vulnerable.

Wouldn’t it be better if it were safer now to grow up in Australia and it was no more challenging to be a child today than in the past? Wouldn’t we have a richer platform for decision-making, leadership and harmonious communities in the future if the five most commonly chosen words used to describe children were kind, clever, adaptable, fair and collaborative?

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 🙂

It has to be researcher, author and speaker Brené Brown. I would love to test my Model of Conscious Grit with her. I know she would look at it through the frame of vulnerability and I’d welcome her insights with the aim of making any tweaks to strengthen the model.

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.