You need to be your own light in a dark room. When you’re building a business, you’re going to have times when you have no one around you who’s there to support you, and you need to believe in yourself. That was the most important thing I was able to do, to realize that if you believe you can create something important on your own, you can create that light and do it for yourself.

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 Kathleen Black.

Kathleen Black is one of the world’s leading holistic performance coaches. Kathleen was awarded with the Iconic Leaders Creating a Better World for All. She is a two-time bestselling author and lives in Oshawa, Canada with her two independent, free-spirited children, Ethan and Ella.

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?

Beginning my career as a RE/MAX Real Estate Agent and working my way to being recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in the worlds largest Real Estate Board, The Toronto Real Estate Board, many would agree that this level of success is the pinnacle achievement amongst their peers; but for me it was only the beginning.

Identifying the need, I set out to work on further developing the systems and platform of educational programs and coaching methods to which I attributed my own professional and personal success.

With the launch of Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting (KBCC) in 2015 and building upon my 10+ years of Team and Agent development and guidance, I changed my focus to investing in the success of others. I believe in powering up people with the clarity and confidence they need, to build their business where it is capable of going. Thousands of teams and leaders (80% of which are top 1% producers) have attributed their growth and success to integrity, honesty and results driven leadership directly or through one of my coaching programs.

I was selling real estate as a busy single mom of two children and I had done a lot of content and systems development with a look to creating better work life balance. I had also gone through my own “phoenix rising from the ashes” moments, and know what it is to find calm in the chaos of walking out of the storms we find ourselves in.

Originally, in 2008, the team I worked with was creating a coaching company and I had a background in psychology, so it just seemed like a natural fit to try to become involved.

That coaching company found itself in some challenging territory in its early days and there were differing opinions within the ownership as to how it should be resolved.

This ultimately resulted in the departure of the director of coaching and I was given the opportunity to step into that role within 18 months of the company going live. I had been a coach for just under one year at that point.

It was really a chain of complicated events that led to a great opportunity for me.

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?

Every single time someone has tried to harm my career or damage my business, it has always led us into better opportunities.

When I thought I was going to lose my first coaching business, it actually led to opening a company working with higher caliber people, which further expanded my new business.

The interesting thing in my journey has been that at the beginning of my career as a coach, I never had the support of the ‘big’ Real Estate boards, or conferences and ironically, it drove me to create and hold my own events without relying on other people.

I choose to build my own stages, hosting my own events, to house our voice and results. This was a major investment and some might say a high risk. Events are expensive.

In the end it actually gave me an edge, because I didn’t have to rely on the support that other people were getting. Even though it was more difficult to get there, it made me and my company stronger in the end.

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

Our company stands out because we build strong businesses, in an industry that is often still relying on old methods and models, which are increasingly less and less effective.

We stand out because we actually track, and have a strategy that works to expand, where teams are making much more money than traditional brokerages and offering superior value, where team members are able to sell much more and have more free time.

I think in an industry where we have all male top thought leaders, we stand out in being a female led team, but also a team that is committed to efficiency, productivity, and profitability, without looking at it as if it’s a bad name. We are a holistic performance company. Powering up people, aligning them, building their confidence, will always be at our core. We are unique in that we invest in the people and the systematic strategy in tandem.

We bring a systematic, process driven approach which allows us to be more agile and to lean into technology changes, instead of fearing them.

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?

I don’t think there has ever been one person. A lot of my opportunities actually came from overcoming challenges, so some of the people who gave me some of the opportunities I had are also people who presented massive challenges for me and my career.

At the end of the day, it’s relying on great mentorship, there’s not only one person I can name.

There were definitely brokers who gave me great advice and now we’ve built programs in place that we’ve created together, like Paul Baron from The #1 Century 21 Brokerage for the country, C21 Leading Edge in Canada.

We have also valued the tremendous synergy of vision and support from Virginia Munden, Founder and CEO of BUZZ BUZZ MEDIA, a Media Agency that specializes in Events, Digital Coverage, Marketing & Promotions for the Canadian real estate & proptech industry.

I’m grateful for our team, I have an amazing group of people who support me and there’s no way I would be able to do what I do without them.

We have a collaborative leadership team who are very entrepreneurial, and who take ownership over what needs to happen. It’s very collaborative without a director style delegation, everyone owns their portion of the business. That is how we thrive.

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?

A large trait of resilient people is the audacity to rebel.

I was audacious enough to rebel against my family, friends, and projections of strangers onto me, and so are you. Pain can be excruciating. Some develop shame, guilt, sadness, remorse, self judgment, lack of love, and feelings of worthlessness. They then try to convince themselves that someone else was the cause of their agitation and the root of their pain. With this, they create a legacy rooted in the strongest of negative human emotions.

How many times in your life has somebody told you that you can’t do something?

For me, it far exceeds the amount of times I even wanted to do something.

If you’re anything like me, you have a little bit of rebellion in you, to give push back to the people who project their limiting beliefs onto you.

If I didn’t have this rebellion, combined with a commitment to growth and healing, I probably wouldn’t have done anything remarkable in my life, and I wouldn’t have been able to spend my time giving other people that edge that they need.

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

Without courage, we would be unable to take the risk to be resilient.

It is one thing to rebel against others,it is another thing to rebel against a diminished, outdated, muted version of ourselves, to clean away the pain and trauma of this life, to step into our power, connect to our core, and live the life we were born to lead, to persevere into our stronger, greater serving selves. The latter is true resilience. To serve for the highest good as the leader you are, despite what the world may have told you that you “could not” be. Resilience allows us to walk through storms with clarity. Our purpose becomes more powerful than the storm.

That is how they are similar. They rely on each other in order to work together. They are different because resilience is the ability to recover from an event, whereas courage is the ability to be confident enough to take the leap to be resilient.

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

When I think of resilience I think of all the women who have come before me. I think of stories like the Nightingale, depicting a comrade so strong, in World War 2, that they never even thought could be a woman.

I think of a woman so committed to a purpose greater than herself, that she hid downed pilots, only to drag them over the Pyrenees in the dead of winter. That she encouraged them on while they cried with frostbite, despite her own worn through soles of her boots, and little food.

I think of my Nanny, losing a husband so young after waiting for him to return from war. With 3 daughters at home, I watched her lead her household, run a small business, manage rental properties, give endless hours to volunteer work, and watch her grandchildren

I think of my grandmother sent to a “foster home” after her mother died. Just a young child herself, she was sent to a farm as a laborer, as was common then. She would only eat certain foods, a remnant of the restrictions of her childhood and youth. I watched her lose her son when he was only 41, and although she would cry every time his name was said, she was focused on her family and friends.

I have always watched women keep it all together, say less, complain less, despite so much on their plates.

There are so many women who epitomize resilience. I am the epitome of resilience, which is the greatest compliment to those who lead with such beautiful examples.

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 had the vision to create my business, a lot of people tried to hold me back, but I learned quickly from my experiences in life, that every time someone has told me I couldn’t do something, it has always led to something big that I could do.

For me I left home young, and people told me I couldn’t go to University if I was sleeping on a cot in my friends room, and I said: “I’m going to University.”

When I had my son and I was young, everyone said I wouldn’t finish University and I told them I would graduate.

And then someone said “What do you think you’re really capable of? All you’ve done is manage dental offices your entire life.” Then I got into Real Estate and built my business and got into coaching.

It was interesting when I got to another moment where someone said to me “You can’t do this on your own, you need us.”, when I went to build my coaching company. And one more time I said “Yes I can.”

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?

I have never done things the easy way. I had a tumultuous childhood that culminated in me leaving my home while still in high school. I self-funded my university education and completed it as a new mother.

I survived my childhood as a witness to my parents domestic abuse and became homeless at 15 after I survived her own physical and emotional abuse which landed me in a psychiatric ward for observation.

While these traumas would have crushed most people, I chose to not only survive, but thrive and grow stronger through it all.

My perseverance personally and professionally is why I have become known as “The Relentless One.”

My life story is documented in the documentary “The Relentless One” and shows the audience how she uses her past pain to fuel her future and incite others.

My journey has led me to teach others how to survive through their situations, feel safe and flourish in all aspects of life.

Which is what led me to be one of the world’s leading performance coaches for iconic brands, business and individuals.

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?

Some people are born entrepreneurs, and I would say I fit into that criteria. There are always early signs: The proverbial lemonade stand, an innate youthful rebelliousness, a way of seeing things differently, and an early discovery of the power to manifest.

I knew as an 8th grader that I could manifest whatever I envisioned. Every milestone I reach comes from an inspired flow state — a practice of inner work I leverage now as one of Canada’s leading Real Estate Coaches and Trainers, delivering my proven success techniques to Agents and Teams across North America.

I have never done things the easy way. I had a tumultuous childhood that culminated in me leaving my home while still in high school. I self-funded my university education and completed it as a new mother.

I saw a need for more women voices in female dominated industries, where there were predominately men being highlighted.

The more that we show and highlight women in these professions and positions, more women

will follow them to lead successful careers.

We can have a landslide of valuable women, but if we don’t learn to listen to and respect their voices as valuable, then is it going to matter in the end? Women leaders are only as valuable as the people they serve are open to hearing value from them and other different perspectives.

It is the dawn of the collective, the time for feminine energy to align in displaying a collaborative approach.

At the end of the day you have to be committed to getting there, and even though the

disparity is there, in most industries, the top 10 percent of performers or skill sets, the disparity is almost invisible.

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. You need to be your own light in a dark room. When you’re building a business, you’re going to have times when you have no one around you who’s there to support you, and you need to believe in yourself. That was the most important thing I was able to do, to realize that if you believe you can create something important on your own, you can create that light and do it for yourself.
  2. You Have to be so Good People Can’t Ignore You. Our benchmark is to be the best in the world at what we do. At the end of the day we have to be so good, and bring so much value to the market and let our results speak so strongly for themselves that they can’t ignore us. Setting the bar up so high will give you an edge, because most people aren’t confident enough to show up and be the best.
  3. Believe. From a spiritual standpoint, I believe I am meant to perform service to people in sales-based functions. I cannot afford, either spiritually or financially, to be distracted from my greater purpose. The trials and tribulations in the business along the way, I believe, serve only to remind me that I’m strong enough, and that my intentions are pure enough to overcome them, and that they existed to educate me and enrich our offering to our clients.
  4. Plant the seeds without expectation. In the tarot world, they call it the fool’s card. Many would suggest that if anybody knew what was going to be involved in overcoming all of the obstacles that stood in the way of our current place, that only a fool would knowingly choose the path I did. I made a conscious decision that whether it took 2, 5 or 10 years, that’s where I was going. Ironically, every time I have made the commitment the results typically materialize faster than hoped.
  5. You don’t have to justify your actions, as long as you have good, clear intentions and you’re doing what you feel is right for the whole business in the long-term, the people who stay in that business will be stronger.

Business can be difficult, you have to make decisions that will help the future of your business. People management can be really tricky. At the end of the day I really believe that if someone is not a good fit for the business, if you don’t see them being a part of the business in five years, or the impact of their presence in the business will not support your vision, then it’s also not a positive fit for that person.

It’s more important to focus on where you’re going than to stay in the mud of any challenges that might come up.

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. 🙂

Conscious living. I think people who are conscious about who they are, their values, and what they’re bringing to the world are typically better parents, better team members, better community supporters, better people.

I find the ability to ‘do good’ is just more naturally present for people with a conscious mindset. If I can help people raise their consciousness and see their abilities and power, they will ultimately serve the world through their greater purpose with ease. If I can have any influence on people leading themselves versus looking at others, that’s a win!

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 🙂

Glennon Doyle’s most recent book ‘Untamed’ has had a very deep impact on my thinking. I can honestly say that I have never read a book that I could relate to such an extent. I felt like I could have written that book. I have such an affinity for her values and the need for relentless leadership.

Her book demonstrates such a remarkable message to stand-up unapologetically and build what you’re meant to build.

Her book has been a treasure to me because it’s allowed me to feel less lonely. Some people say that alpha women don’t travel in packs, but I’m lucky to have an amazing leadership team and I would never get anything done without them.

It’s also inspiring to me that she works on the ground with charities to get average donations of $25. Glennon founded Together Rising as an expression of her belief that the surest way to lift a family or community is to lift one woman at a time — that when a woman rises, she brings her people up with her. Her charity initiatives are incredibly inspiring and life changing.

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.