Build a List — We tend to have short memories when times get hard. I coach people on the idea of building lists of things you have overcome in your life as well as things that you have accomplished (even when you thought you couldn’t). It’s a very useful thing to be able to tap into a collection of these items when things get more difficult. These lists serve to remind us of all of the things we have accomplished and overcome in our lives thus showing proof of our resilience. We can use these lists to either build confidence in our ability to overcome obstacles or remind us how we overcame certain obstacles in the past so we can use these handy tools once again.
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 Jose Caraballo, LCSW.
Jose Caraballo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Florida. He works as a psychotherapist and is the creator of www.myenrichedlife.com. A website dedicated to helping people live out more fulfilled and enriched lives, which provides free community forums and online events related to personal development.
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?
Sure, I had an amazing experience in the year 2013 that forever changed my outlook on life. Much of what I do nowadays is in direct relation to that event and the gratitude I have for being given a second chance at life with a fresh new outlook. I have since dedicated myself to living my enriched life and helping others do the same.
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?
I have learned many lessons from my clients over the years. I have been blessed to be trusted enough to see inside people’s lives and figure out how we can make it better. I would have to say that one of the best lessons I have learned over the years is that sometimes you just have to take things one day at a time, one moment at a time. Life can get very difficult sometimes and it’s okay to step back, slow down and figure out what your next move is. Sometimes survival is the goal and it’s okay to focus your energy there first.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes my company stand out is the fact that I am helping people not only based on my education and credentials but from having been there myself. I have been through the struggle of trying to make things work out in my life, I have doubted, lacked belief and second-guessed myself until I was finally able to reach my breaking point in 2013 where I had my ultimate change experience. Most of the things I coach and teach came about after having had this experience. I wrote it down, made sense of it, and now I share it with anyone looking to make major improvements in their own lives. We have created a community of like-minded people who are serious about change and about living out more fulfilled lives.
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?
Everyone I have ever had exchanges with has been my teacher in one form or another. If I had to choose someone it would have to be my wife. She has been able to supply me with much needed support and belief in my abilities that has allowed me to build the courage to move in the direction of my dreams. She can see clearly what I desire even when I am not sure.
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?
I would define resilience as continuing to move forward despite having faced many difficulties. Someone who does not lose momentum even when faced with difficult major obstacles.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage is being able to face scary or intimidating issues up-front. Resilience is having experienced something that would have taken most people out and continuing despite having sustained injuries.
I believe that resilience takes courage but I do not believe that being courageous necessarily means you are resilient.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Single mothers in general but specifically my mother! She is the first person that comes to mind when speaking of resilient people. I chose her because I have had a front row seat in witnessing what she has had to deal with and overcome. Not to mention the stories I have heard about her from before I was around. She has an amazing ability to not lose focus no matter what is going on around her or what may be happening to her.
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 had the fortune (or misfortune) of growing up with many toxic people who mostly spoke in terms of what people could not accomplish. I lived many years being told that I could not accomplish, complete or achieve that which I desired.
At some point, I broke away from these toxic, limiting relationships and went off on my own to figure out whether or not I could actually accomplish what I wanted. I was able to complete graduate school (a first in my family), become a psychotherapist, and live a life that I have always wanted. I was able to find my peace, happiness, and a deep sense of fulfillment.
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 sister passed away a couple of years ago. We had been very close for a very long time and were rekindling our tumultuous relationship after not having spoken for a few years.
When she passed, I went into a deep depression and figured that anything I was accomplishing really didn’t matter.
There were two instances I can remember that allowed me to come back stronger than ever. I had stopped sharing my advice on social media for a few months when someone I did not know reached out to me to ask me if I was okay because I had been posting a few times per day and then stopped abruptly. She explained how impactful my advice had been to her and how she looked forward to reading my posts on a daily basis. I had no real idea that I was actually helping anyone at that time, I was just posting because I thought that the world needed more positive messaging. After seeing that I actually was making a difference in some people’s lives, I jumped back in and have not stopped since.
The second instance was when speaking to my therapist. She told me that I could use the experience of having lost my sister to improve as a clinician and as a person. She showed me that there are very few experiences in life from which you cannot glean a life lesson. Losing my sister, besides leaving me with a great pain, actually provided me with insight as to the importance of life and the importance of human connection. I have set out to help people understand that they are not alone and that they do matter.
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?
I have cultivated resilience throughout my life by having no other choice. I always thought to myself, “what’s the alternative?” I can either learn from this, pick up the pieces and continue or I can call it quits. If I call it quits, where do I go from there? Nothingness? That is not a language that I speak. I continue because I deserve it, my life deserves it and the world deserves it.
I didn’t know it at the time but each obstacle, large or small, once it is overcome can and does provide us with training in resilience. I have been through my share of heartbreak, loss, defeat and struggles and they have all added to my resilience in one way or another.
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.
- Build a List — We tend to have short memories when times get hard. I coach people on the idea of building lists of things you have overcome in your life as well as things that you have accomplished (even when you thought you couldn’t). It’s a very useful thing to be able to tap into a collection of these items when things get more difficult. These lists serve to remind us of all of the things we have accomplished and overcome in our lives thus showing proof of our resilience. We can use these lists to either build confidence in our ability to overcome obstacles or remind us how we overcame certain obstacles in the past so we can use these handy tools once again.
- Self-Care — Just like many athletes need to be in top shape in order to get through a season of games, we should also be in top shape to get through this game called life. Whether you use therapy, coaching, long baths, vacations, exercise or all of the above to get yourself in shape for the big game. You owe it to yourself to put the odds in your favor and be as ready as you can be to handle daily life in this day and age.
- Build a Support System — Having a good support system filled with trusting, loving individuals who truly want to see the best for you is an invaluable tool for building resilience. Having the right support system in place can alleviate the loneliness many times associated with difficult times, it can remind us that we are not alone and we are not the only ones who may be going through things (this actually helps many times). I have to stress the importance of the members of your support system being loving trusting individuals. There is nothing more difficult than reaching out to someone for support only to have them make the conversation about themselves.
- Have Faith — Whether it be faith in some form of higher power, in the universe or something else. Having faith is a powerful tool in building and maintaining resilience. It brings with it the ability to tap into a deeper well of resilience than you may originally thought you had. It also allows you to create the ultimate resilience team in order to get over seemingly impossible life events. The human spirit is stronger and more resilient than you can imagine and having a direct line to your belief system can help you tap into that power.
- Push Through — I think this is a supremely underutilized skill for many. We often hear of people stating that they can’t take it anymore, all the while taking it day in and day out. We are much more powerful creatures that we tend to give ourselves credit for. Pushing through is the ultimate training in resilience. I don’t think there is a better tool for building resilience. Of course, this doesn’t mean purposefully putting yourself in a difficult situation in order to build resilience. The inevitable ups and downs of life will bring plenty of opportunities to build resilience. Next time you find yourself in a difficult spot, think “dig deeper”. In the meantime, see number 2 above and hopefully you’ll be ready when the time comes.
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. 🙂
Live out your deepest dreams and desires and see where that takes you. I find that many people don’t chase their dreams because they fear failure. This also takes much of the fun out of finding out what your life can be. Failure or not, it’s a worthwhile journey to go for it.
I will end this with the motto for My Enriched Life, which is LOVE-INSPIRE-HEAL
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 would have to respond with many people from the self-help arena such as Brian Tracy, Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield. They all had a hand in setting the groundwork for what I do today. Their messages over the years have given more guidance than I can even say.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My website is www.myenrichedlife.com and I am on many social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!