Embrace change. Embracing change is so important. When you are flexible and embrace change along your journey it allows you to problem solve when you are forced to face a bump in the road. Your end goal in life will remain the same of course, but flexibility is what makes you stronger and resilient.

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 Lisamarie Monaco.

Lisamarie is a Business Owner, Mom, and Entrepreneur. Co-Founder of PinnacleQuote Life Insurance Specialists, and InsuranceForBurial.com. She is a family protector by bringing peace of mind during the most difficult time of people’s lives when they lose a loved one. A photographer, and someone who lives her life with passion daily.

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 am a small-town girl from Rocky Point, Long Island. I started my family very young. I was 17 when I had my first child. I finished high school and immediately following, worked in the medical field. I worked in a Level One Trauma Center, in the Emergency Room for 18 years of my life. I grew up quite differently than most of my classmates, which I believe has led me to where I am today. I also believe I learned the art of resiliency from a very young age from my upbringing and my experiences through the years.

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?

When I decided to become an Independent Life Insurance Agent and Business Owner, I failed my state exam the first time around. I could not believe it. The lesson from this was simply, don’t falter, take it again! I have families to protect, there was no time to dwell. I knew I needed to clear my mind, study harder and pass my exams on the second try. And that is exactly what I did!

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

I think our company stands out because we passionately care about what we do and why we do it. It is never about a sale for us. We educate our clients rather than sell them. We present our clients with the solution to their problems. We help them protect their families from the financial burdens when they pass away. Part of our story and why we do what we do is unique, we help families daily. We are Family Protectors. We offer people peace of mind and that is Priceless.

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?

Danny Ray, my husband, Nic West, Jeff Root, our friends and our company’s Brokerage General Managers at DigitalBGA, and of course one of my sales coaches, Brian Moody have all played a special part in my life to get me where I am today. If it were not for them, I would not be doing what I am doing today Nic, Jeff and Brian are first and foremost, good friends, and incredibly passionate about what they do and they are obsessed with my success just as much as I am.

When I first started my journey, I questioned myself. I took a few steps back and concentrated solely on building our website and stepped back for a short period of time from helping my clients on a personal level. I attended Nic and Jeff’s Digital Life Insurance Agent Mastermind in Las Vegas, Nevada a few years back and that is when I was completely blown away and inspired by all the GOATS in this industry. This included my husband, Danny Ray, who they invited to speak as well! He and every single agent there shared their life tips, tricks, mistakes along the way and that was my ah-ha moment where I realized who I was and why we do what we do daily. I tapped into my inner strength and stopped second-guessing myself.

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 define resiliency as overcoming any and all difficulties that we are faced with whether on a work/home life level. Traits of resilient people are keeping calm under pressure, staying focused and motivated, determined, compassionate, and tenacious are just a few.

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

Courage is similiar to resilience, in the fact that you will not be afraid to face any outside force. You keep calm and brave and just move through it. In addition, courage is also the ability to face anything in life head-on. Resilience is different because it is your mindset that is at the forefront. You have the ability to bounce back fast in the face of adversity.

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

So many people come to mind, I will have to say my youngest son comes to my mind first. He is now 19. He came into this world shortly after 9/11. Graduated high school during a pandemic. He was the youngest out of my four to watch his dad and I go through a messy divorce. His resiliency is beyond amazing to me. At age, 17 he was diagnosed with a medical condition that would have brought most kids his age down. He faced the fear of this medical condition head-on. He researched, he decided he would do whatever it takes to be the best version of himself and never let this distract him from his life goals. Since that diagnosis, he graduated from high school on time. He attends Oswego College, in New York. He is in his second year and works 2 jobs in between. He gets infusions every 7 weeks for his medical condition and he is living his best life and anything that comes his way, he uses it as stepping stones to greatness. He lives, breathes, and loves sports, he is studying to become a sports announcer. Whenever I need to be reminded about life, I call him. I am beyond proud.

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?

Many times people told me something was impossible. I never listen. I remember as far back as 1991. I was told I would not finish High School on time with my graduating class because I gave birth to my first son in 1990. Not only did I finish on time, but I also graduated with my graduating class on stage with my son watching me.

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 greatest setback in life was becoming pregnant in my junior year of high school. Everyone at that time thought I would be a statistic. Even then, my Principal of the school wanted me to quit school. I had refused. His negative feedback was what fueled me even more. I would thank him today for that. Fast forward to today, my oldest son is now 31 and a Navy Veteran. Not only did I bounce back stronger from that time in my life, but I am also who I am today because of that. I grew up with my son in a lot of ways, I did make mistakes along the way, but I had the courage to continue and never gave up or gave in.

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 believe I cultivated resiliency since age 16 when I became pregnant. I have always had to fight my way through life and work for everything I have today. I have bounced back from any outside force that was trying to bring me down. I have taught my children the same from a young age. Being resilient makes you stronger, determined and keeps you focused on your goals. So focused that any outside noise gets completely shut down.

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.

The 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient are:

Embrace change. Embracing change is so important. When you are flexible and embrace change along your journey it allows you to problem solve when you are forced to face a bump in the road. Your end goal in life will remain the same of course, but flexibility is what makes you stronger and resilient.

Start where you are. This means there will be days you are not productive. Resiliency is built based on where you are. So if yesterday you did not have a perfect day. Or your plans and focus were derailed, don’t stay there, and don’t allow this to bring you down. Allow this to be what it is. It’s just a MOMENT. And then refocus, and start where you are.

Self-care. Self-care is so important. If you don’t take care of yourself, mind, body, soul, and spirit, how will you build resiliency? Simply put — you don’t. So, self-care is key. Take time for yourself each day. Mornings, I find are the best. Do your favorite thing. Yoga, take a walk, read, meditate. Whatever that may be. This makes your whole being stronger on every level of life!

Affirmations. Affirmations are a great way to start your day. If you do not have them written already, stop what you are doing and make a list of positive affirmations. Resiliency is built upon a strong mind, strong perspective, and a very strong positive attitude. Go into each and every day and read your affirmations.

Stepping stones. I say it all the time. Resiliency is created upon the mistakes or the failures you have made along the way to get where you are. Those failures are our stepping stones to greatness. These are what make us stronger. Don’t falter into the abyss of sadness if you fail at something. Close your eyes envision stepping stones, leap from one to the other, each leap is your resiliency, your grit, your determination, ultimately your stepping stone to greatness!

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. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, this would be, “Share Your Story.” Your story is what will inspire others to create their successes. To make them stronger. To allow them to be the best version of themselves, learning from others is finding a sense of purpose, believing in yourself, and reminding you that you are not alone.

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 🙂

The one person in the world I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with would be Sebastian Maniscalco. Simply because one of my favorite things is laughter. Laughter is what builds upon resiliency. Something that is contagious. For brief moments no matter what is happening around us, laughter soothes the soul. I have been blessed to see Sebastian Maniscalco live 3 times in the last few years and he never disappoints. He is the King of Laughter and I relate to him in many ways from my upbringing.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I welcome our readers to reach out to me on Facebook, Lisamarie Monaco, or Lisamarie Monaco-Ray. On Instagram, LisaMonacoStudio. Our readers are also welcomed to email me, [email protected]

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.