Believe in yourself and focus on what you can control, like your attitude.

Identify your desired outcome, become passionate about it, and see how it can benefit others.

Develop a plan to achieve your goal, work through the action steps, and improve it as you discover new information.

Have faith and belief in yourself. Visualize yourself achieving the goal and its rewards. Keep moving forward, even if they are baby steps.

Build your confidence by celebrating your wins, no matter how small.

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 Michael Schnabel.

Michael Schnabel is the author of Daddy’s Girl, a memoir about the challenges and struggles of parenting through a medical crisis. A graduate of Northern State University, Michael developed his passion for writing and storytelling during his thirty-year career at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Michael lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with his wife, and when not spending time with family, you can find him tending to his 26-acre tree farm. Daddy’s Girl is his first book. For further information visit,

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?

My wife, Colleen, and I have worked with health professionals for over 30 years. Colleen is an RN, and me working in pharmaceuticals. But we didn’t know what to do when our twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Stephanie, had end-stage colon cancer and would likely die. In addition, Stephanie had just given birth to her premature son. Stephanie, her husband Mark, Colleen, and I fell into shock and disbelief. Stephanie could only think of her newborn growing up without his mother and that he would only know her from pictures.

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

Stephanie had an unusually aggressive colon cancer that was typically only seen in medical textbooks. But her story isn’t about the disease. It’s about how this young woman becomes a warrior, stares death in the face, and survives. Everyone asks her how she did it. Like most things in life, it was a learning process, but we had to learn quickly because we were making decisions that had life-or-death consequences.

We started by creating a support team to stand with Stephanie and committed to fighting beside her. Together we made surgical decisions for the following day. We used our medical background to network with physicians, hospitals, and a pharmaceutical company to help us make decisions and determine the next steps. Over time we identified the best medical, surgical, and research centers for Steph’s care.

We learned how our love for each other and faith in something greater than ourselves cemented the team. We found that God provided us with the best outcome when things became the darkest.

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

Love and faith fueled the team we formed to help our daughter and commit to saving her life. Is there a stronger love for someone than the love from a parent or spouse? We were parenting through this crisis, and like any parent, we would do anything to save her. We promised Steph she would never be alone and we would do everything in our power to find the best doctors and hospitals to save her life. We were with her at every appointment, sleeping in her hospital room and holding her up when she couldn’t stand alone. We searched for cutting-edge doctors who researched and specialized in her advanced disease. They needed to connect with a 27-year-old woman and adjust their regimen from the older frail patient algorithms. She was young and strong, so that they could be aggressive in dosing and length of chemotherapy.

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?

The newborn baby was a critical part of Steph’s team. His big brown eyes and unconditional love fueled her determination to survive. In addition, he provided an oasis for all of us to temporarily escape stress, anxiety, and fear. His smiles and coos brought joy into our lives.

I also believe that when people fight for something beyond themselves, it makes them more robust and less willing to give up. For example, my daughter not only fought for herself, but she was also fighting to survive and raise her newborn child.

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?

Resilience is consistently finding the strength to overcome fears and obstacles to achieve life’s goals.

Resilient people keep getting up no matter how often they get knocked down. They never give up, try new tactics, and find experts to help them achieve their goals. They acknowledge their emotions but focus their actions on things in their control. If they fight for something greater than themselves, they may be less likely to give up.

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

Courage helps us combat fear and obstacles. Resilience keeps us focused on the positive outcome and pushes us to try new ways to achieve it. Courage and resilience are synergistic as they drive us toward achieving our goals.

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

My daughter Stephanie is remarkably resilient. She gave birth to her first child, and two weeks later, she was diagnosed with cancer, giving her an 8% chance of living five years. Her biggest fear was that her son wouldn’t have a mother to raise him and would only know her through pictures. That fear motivated Stephanie to become a warrior, overcome the odds, and live to raise her child. She never gave up during her five-year ordeal of surgery, chemo, and fighting for her life. Her positive attitude and ability to keep getting up after getting knocked down were inspirational.

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?

92% of people diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer die, so saving my daughter’s life was nearly impossible. My daughter’s team consisted of her husband, Mark, my wife, Colleen, her newborn son, and myself. We made a pact to always be with her, fight by her side, and beat her cancer. Her responsibility was to keep fighting to raise her child. When you face fear alone, it may seem impossible to overcome, but if others stand next to you and commit to helping you, it boosts your hope, belief, and courage. When you face death, you must give everything you have to survive.

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?

When Stephanie received treatment, we had to rush her to the emergency room twice in two weeks due to complications from her chemotherapy. Both times the doctors said we barely caught it in time, and if we had waited a few hours longer, she would have died. These close calls were devastating for Steph and her team. What would happen next? What if we had waited to go to the ER? Then we looked at it from a different angle. We did get to the ER in time, and she survived. Instead of focusing on what happened, we realize she was treated in time to save her life. Changing our point of view renewed our faith that something greater than ourselves guided us to take action when we did.

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?

Writing Daddy’s Girl for my grandson to capture his mother’s essence if she died was challenging. I kept hearing that her story needed to be shared because it offered hope to others in crisis. The process of writing and editing took a lot of time and energy. Afterward, I found out that was the easy part. Writing queries, book proposals, finding a literary agent, and eventually, a publisher was new to me and difficult. I began looking for an agent and decided to keep trying until I contacted 25 agents; many didn’t even get back to me with a rejection letter. I was very disappointed. None of them wanted to represent a memoir from a non-celebrity. I was at a crossroads, wondering if I should keep trying. Two weeks later, I approached my twenty-sixth agent and found Maryann Karinch, the perfect person to represent my book. She convinced me to rewrite it one more time. It would have been easy to give up during this ten years process, but I followed my daughter’s example of not giving up. Daddy’s Girl is available for pre-order now, with publication in March 2023.

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. Believe in yourself and focus on what you can control, like your attitude.
  2. Identify your desired outcome, become passionate about it, and see how it can benefit others.
  3. Develop a plan to achieve your goal, work through the action steps, and improve it as you discover new information.
  4. Have faith and belief in yourself. Visualize yourself achieving the goal and its rewards. Keep moving forward, even if they are baby steps.
  5. Build your confidence by celebrating your wins, no matter how small.

My daughter’s story shares many examples of resilience. We had to save her life; there was never any other choice. Today she is doing well and sixteen years cancer free.

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. 🙂

There were so many people in our lives that helped us along my daughter’s journey. Friends, family, and others we did not even know made a difference in our lives. We didn’t do this alone but discovered our love and faith carried us through the most challenging times. I hope Stephanie’s story helps others boost the love and faith they have in their lives.

If each of us helps those around us who are in need, we could make a positive impact on that person’s life and our own. If everyone did this, it could impact the world.

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 Winfrey shares stories of hope. I believe she will be interested in sharing my daughter’s story. How does a young mother overcome an 8 percent chance of living to raise her newborn son? She becomes a warrior. Daddy’s Girl is about surviving against all odds and how three generations of a family respond to a crisis and form a team to overcome it. From finding the right medical professionals, discovering the importance of faith, and taking one day at a time, this story leaves a path of hope and inspiration.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please visit my website,

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.