Create a vision in your mind of what/how you would like this to be resolved. There are always solutions if you take a deep breath, accept, learn from this, and then take that information to rebuild in your mind what you want to happen. Instead of envisioning something fearful about this and then wallowing in that fear and what could happen, envision what could happen that is good instead. Envision how you would like this to play out for your best good. Choose to say “No” to this and decide how you will resolve this and then envision this scenario play out. This is so very powerful. I have used this repeatedly with remarkable success.

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 Patricia Heitz.

After surviving kidney cancer, in 2002, Patricia was determined to learn all there was on how we contribute to creating disease in our body. What she discovered is; it is always about our belief system.

She wrote her book “Daydreams Come True” A self-coaching workbook, to share with others her lessons learned, in how to be more resilient and create a life of thriving.

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 Teacher of Mindfulness, Reiki Master, Thrive Mentor, Empowerment Coach, and author. My book “Daydreams Come True” is a workbook to help discover what your belief system is, and how to transform it to support what you want instead of limiting, unconscious, self-sabotaging beliefs. I have spent the last 19 years, after being diagnosed with Kidney Cancer, studying how what we believe can either allow us to rise above, or limit us.

What you believe about who you are and your value in the world is the core of how to live life in resilience; to not just bounce back, but to face challenges head on with the confidence, that we can adjust, resolve, or transform whatever life throws at us.

In my study of the mind, and its connection to our body, I have found that we have all created false perceptions as a child that become the foundations of our beliefs as an adult. We decide, with our childlike brains, that an event, or situation means something about us. We then carry that belief into adulthood never revisiting, or questioning, why we believe what we do.

We believe we need to be a specific person based on what we need approval as. We go through life trying hard to be what we think we need to be. We struggle with trying to fit the proverbial round peg into the square hole. We think if we work harder, we can make it work. These self-defeating beliefs are always about lack of self — love. We never allow ourselves to be who we authentically are, and this creates fear, and anger because we are forcing ourselves to live a life, that we know deep inside, is not what we could be.

When we discover who we are, our gifts, and what we authentically can contribute to the world as we really are, is when our true happiness and freedom begins! This allows us to live more at ease, and more comfortable to face life challenges instead of becoming victim to them.

Having discovered my own self-sabotaging beliefs, and healing them, I have learned how to overcome, transform, and forgive from a childhood of abuse, suicide attempt at 14 and lingering effects of growing up in a volatile alcoholic household. I have discovered who I authentically am, what gifts I can celebrate about myself, and how using these gifts (which we all have), allows me to live life every day thriving, no matter what is going on around me.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career?

There have been so many wonderful, interesting stories of how/when those I have coached have had major “aha” moments about what they thought was true about themselves, or their lives. To watch the proverbial light bulb, go off and realize, what they thought about themselves is not true, is the most interesting and rewarding part of my career. The other interesting take away is that so many people do not want to look at who they really are. They are afraid of what they will see. The first thing I tell people when I start working with them is to get ready to receive….allow yourself to have/be what you want.

Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take away’ you learned from that?

My first take always about discovering beliefs can be false information, was in my own journey. Learning that I had value, gifts to share, and everything I did not think I was good at, had in many cases become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The first take away for me and for most people I coach is to question everything you think you believe about yourself. So much of it is not true.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

Because my system works. When you deconstruct your belief system to find its falsehoods, and then reconstruct new beliefs based on the truth of who you are and your value to the world, the empowering energy you feel can overpower whatever challenges come your way.

Can you share a story?

I was working with a woman who had a son in his early 20’s with addiction issues. He was living in a rehab center and when they talked on the phone, it always ended badly. He was very upset that he had to be there. When I started working with her and got her to question her belief(s) about who she was as a mother, and who she thought her son believed he was, I saw multiple light bulbs go off. She understood what her false beliefs were and most likely what her son believed about himself. When she came back the next week, she told me their weekly call was the best it had been in months. She said it was the first time her son had told her he loved her at the end of the call since he had been there. She discovered that what she believed she needed to be as a mother was false. When she went back to discovering her authentic self, and who she could be as a mother, she realized, she could help her son so much more.

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?

I would define resilience as the ability to deflect, and logically respond, and manage any situation or event that can challenge us.

What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Characteristics of resilient people are: Self-Confident, Emotionally Intelligent, and Self-aware.

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

Courage is the belief that you CAN BE resilient. Courage is when you are not sure how you will figure things out, but you believe in who you are enough to know, that you WILL find a manageable solution. Having Courage allows you to live a life of resilience.

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

The person who comes to mind when discussing resilience is Nelson Mandela. Can you imagine being sent to prison because of the color of your skin, and living in isolation and devastation for 27 years, and then able to become to a global hero for his resilience? I find that perseverance and confidence in his authentic truth to be very inspiring.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway?

Well, it wasn’t so much someone told me something was impossible, but someone reminded me, if I went through with something, I would be all alone and on my own. I’ve never been a person motivated by someone’s idea of impossible. I just have always done what I think I needed to do to survive.

Can you share the story with us?

When I became a single mother at 31, I didn’t have any support. My family and the father made it clear, I would be on my own. That, in and of itself, was a heartbreak for me, but I just knew somehow, I needed to bring my daughter into the world. It was very challenging the first few years. I struggled with poverty, depression, and low self-esteem, but I just took it day by day and tried to make it through each day. I might have stayed in that place longer if it had not been for a friend I had not been in touch with for a while. Out of the blue one day she called me to check in and I told her I had just come back from applying for food stamps as I was struggling to make ends meet with myself and my daughter, who at that time was about 3 years old. My friend, Susan, was outraged. She told me this was not who I was, and that she has known me as a smart businesswoman, successful salesperson and there was no way she was going to allow me to live out of integrity with who I was. She called me the next day with a lead for a sales job selling radio marketing, and I laughed. What did I know about radio? Absolutely nothing! She owned her own advertising agency, and she said she would teach me enough to get the job and I could learn as I went; that it wasn’t that hard. I rejected that idea immediately, but she kept pursuing me about this. She called me EVERYDAY to see if I had called for an interview. Finally, after a week of her bugging me, I said “If I call, will you leave me alone?” She said she would. So, I called. Now I had a bigger problem….what would I do on an interview for a job I knew nothing about. Susan coached me about what to say, and much to my surprise I got the job! Of course, at first, it was very difficult, especially since I didn’t believe I could really do this, but I recognized that this was a gift of survival, that I just had to figure out how to do, as my daughter’s livelihood was on the line. Eventually, I got the hang of it, and started doing well. Then, a new child support bill was introduced about mandatory minimums. Another swingle mother friend of mine told me about it, so although I knew it would be a big fight and drama with my daughters father, I knew I wanted to give my child a life where we had a home we owned with a yard, and the safety of consistency in this home instead of having to move every year when I couldn’t afford the raised rent or utilities. A little less than 3 years later, I had enough to put a down payment on a small house for myself and my daughter. This is when I realized facing your biggest fear of another failure was the proof of my resiliency and ability to rise above and overcome the challenges that were in front of me. The day I closed on my house, was my proudest moment.

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?

Well, besides the story above, there was my story of surviving kidney cancer. In 2002 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Of course, I was devastated as I had no symptoms at all. The other factor I was dealing with was that my father-in-law had died from kidney cancer only 10 months prior to my diagnosis. My intuition told me this had to be more than a co-incidence. I kept asking my higher power everyday “Help me see what I need to see and know what I need to know about this disease.” When I was home recuperating from the removal of my right kidney and waiting for the biopsy of the surrounding tissue to determine if the cancer had spread outside of my kidney, a friend had given me the book “You can heal your life” By Louise Hay. When I read the part where she asks, “Why do you need to have this?” I knew immediately…the answer came to me like a lightning bolt! I had already been storing so much anger and rage through my experience of growing up in al alcoholic home. I realized, I had to utilize this negative energy into Kidney cancer to punish myself for looking forward to the receiving of the inheritance I knew we would be receiving upon my father in laws death. I needed a larger home for my growing family, but we were not in a financial situation to do this, so I kept thinking when my father-in-law died, we would inherit enough to purchase a larger home, but every time I had that thought, I would chastise myself. How could I look forward to someone’s death so I could get money? I must be a terrible person. This kept going on over a few years while my father-in-law was sick. After my father-in-law died, I had my husband to a home builder within a month to build a new house in a new development. We had only moved into that house 2 weeks when I was diagnosed. I was stunned, when I realized, I could contribute to disease in my body because I hated myself! I started thinking “What could I do with my life if I loved myself?” This is when I started studying every mind, body connection book or audio I could find. I needed to understand how we as humans can do this. What I discovered was it was all about what I believed about myself. I started questioning my beliefs and if they were true. Of course, I realized, they were not. This is when I decided to make my new career about helping others correct and upgrade their belief system to live a life of thrive, as I have learned to do. This disease diagnosis was the beginning of a completely new life for me. Back then, when I was diagnosed, my doctor told me we would have to be vigilant for the rest of my life with kidney cancer. They don’t know if any cancer cells traveled through my kidney and are lying dormant. He said, I could have a re-occurrence of cancer at any time. Every year of going back for checkups always held that dread of something else being found. However, now I can say after 19 years of checkups. my doctor has told me, he feels comfortable using the word “Cure.” That was when I knew I had healed the wounds that had contributed to my disease, and I know I will never have cancer in my body again.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

I have had many stories where I had to learn resiliency. The most intense experience was when I was 14 years old. This is a story I wrote a few years ago after my grade school reunion:

I remember thinking about it….I remember wondering what it would be like to leave. I remember wondering if I would go to hell for doing this. After all, the nun said it was a sin. I remember thinking I didn’t want to burn in hell. Multiple times a week, when I was in a place, I didn’t want to be…having to babysit my youngest siblings who were 6 that June, while I was 14. Taking them for a walk to the corner store for popsicles, while my friends were at the park, hanging out, laughing, and having fun. My younger brothers able to go out, play baseball and be with their friends. I was told it was my duty as the oldest of 5 children to help with the younger ones when my father had to work 2 jobs and my mother had to work a night job. Feeling detached from the social circle, but more than that, feeling so different and freakish at almost 6 feet at 14 years old. Maybe I didn’t belong there anyway. After all, I was tall, skinny, and ugly and they were pretty. They had boys paying attention to them. No one looked or talked to me like that.

I remember the night of the “event” never talked about in my family. I put my siblings to bed and went to sit out on the front porch. It was an early June night, and it was warm, and it felt nice to sit on the steps and feel the breeze and look at the sky. Then the unthinkable happened….My friend Mary, who lived down the street had a boyfriend, Gary. He was walking up the street after leaving Mary’s house and he saw me sitting on the stoop. With unbelievable eyes, I watched as he stopped at the bottom of the stairs, climbed up to the step I was sitting on and sat down next to me! He was so friendly and started talking to me. To ME! ME who was tall, skinny, ugly, and so different! At first, I wasn’t sure what to do. I had never actually had a conversation with a boy! His kind demeanor helped me to feel a slight calm enough to respond back. We chatted for what seemed like awhile and time slipped by. Maybe I wasn’t so ugly and different. Even though Gary was my friend Mary’s boyfriend, it was ok to talk with him. I knew he wasn’t interested in me like that, but the fact that a boy wanted to actually have a conversation with me was just astonishing to me.

Then what would be referred to as “that time” in my family, started to unfurl. As we were talking, my mother pulled up in front of the house. I didn’t really think anything of it. As my mother climbed the stoop to land in front of where we were sitting, she starting yelling at Gary “Who are you? What are you doing here? Then she started yelling at me “What are you doing with a boy at the house when you are supposed to be babysitting?” Then she did the most humiliating thing I could ever think of….She told Gary to leave. He left and I was in a pool of tears. What would he think of me now? He was just starting to think I was nice, normal and someone he wanted to talk to and now……

As my mother instructed me to get in the house and get to bed, she finished off the last piece of my dignity. She said, “Wait until your father hears about this….you will get the strap!” I almost gasped with the thought of this! All I could remember was when we were little and had done something bad, we would have to pull down our pants, bend over the hamper and be whipped with his belt on the bare behind. It wasn’t the thought of the pain of the belt, but of the thought, that at 14, I would have to pull down my pants in front of MY FATHER!!!

The thought of this was more than I could bear. My sobbing was uncontrollable. I went into the medicine cabinet and found the tranquilizers I knew my father had brought home from his workplace, a pharmaceutical company. I didn’t want my mother to see me taking any, so I took the whole bottle into my bedroom with me and got into bed. I then proceeded to chew as many of them as I could get into my mouth and hope I would fall into the darkness I craved as soon as possible.

I don’t remember anything after that until a few days later. I remember that I could barely talk; my speech was slurred and now I was so embarrassed that it hadn’t worked.

When I was conscious enough to have a conversation, my mother told me that the people at the hospital had told her this was a cry for help, and she asked me “Is that true?” I just wanted to pretend this never happened, so I said no. That was the end of the conversation about the whole incident except for weeks later when she told me she had been talking to another mother who told her not to allow me to use this to just get my way. So, my mother made sure to tell me, not to think this in any way would be used to get the better of any situation. At the time I just said yes, but later in life I found it so shocking that she would make sure to leave me with this thought.

I remember my friends came to visit me over that week or so that I was home, and no one ever discussed “the event”. It was just not discussed.

My mother quit her evening job and I was relieved from having to babysit my siblings.

I remember feeling so embarrassed when I went back to school but decided I would do what everyone else was doing; pretend it never happened. I finished 8th grade that year and went on to high school and fortunately for me, found some confidence and expanded friends.

Within 5 months, we moved to a new neighborhood. I was told it was because they needed to give me my own bedroom as I shared both a bed and a room with my younger sister.

It was never discussed with me again, except when my mother got angry at me, she would say “What we did for you to get you out of that neighborhood because everyone was talking about you and you’re so unappreciative”

Fortunately for me, when I started high school, I started it with a feeling, that I got a do-over. I was able to meet new, supportive, loving friends that helped me recognize I had value, and I could leave this experience behind me.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient?

  1. Awareness/Mindfulness: When you feel victimized, trapped, or in a situation where you don’t see a way out; stop, question what you believe about this. Then ask yourself why you believe you have to allow this to crush or weigh you down. What has happened in the past when you have had to deal with challenges. How did it play out? Were you able to rise above it; survive it? Find strength in the things you have already risen above as proof that you can rise above this too. This has become particularly important technique for me that I learned after my kidney cancer experience, but also in the 19 years since that has happened, I have discovered so many underlying beliefs that held me back and kept me from looking at what the problem IS and not how it is about me.
  2. The Big Picture: Are you the only one this is happening to? Not. Find support and camaraderie in reaching out to others who have been experiencing something similar. There is great support in discussing with others how they are dealing with a similar challenge. When I was a single mother, I found great support in a single mother’s support group I joined. It really helped me put into perspective where I was with my situation, and that I was not alone.
  3. Acceptance: Allowing what is to be what it is. So many times, we cry, stomp or in some way suffer through hat is in front of us. As we know from the Law of Attraction, what we resists, persists. There is also Newton’s third law that what we push on, pushes back just as hard. Therefore, acceptance is the road to allowing…allowing what is to play out, knowing this too shall pass. By allowing and not getting bogged down by the emotional blocks that are created in suffering, we can be resilient in moving forward. This is not how I did the world before my kidney cancer diagnosis. I, like so many others, would cry, suffer, complain, etc. but I realized all that did was make it worse. Once I learned to accept what was happening, calmly and logically think about what I could do and what I could not do and accept it as that, I found great peace, and was able to resolve so many issues that would probably have grown into greater problems had I not just accepted it.
  4. What is the Lesson? What do I need to learn about this event? Why is this happening? Is there something I need to learn from this? This is especially important when similar situations keep occurring over and over again. Take the Lesson, move on wiser and more aware. I utilized this when I was overcoming kidney cancer. I realized what I needed to learn from my cancer experience and utilized it to rebuild my life in a much better way.
  5. Envision: Create a vision in your mind of what/how you would like this to be resolved. There are always solutions if you take a deep breath, accept, learn from this, and then take that information to rebuild in your mind what you want to happen. Instead of envisioning something fearful about this and then wallowing in that fear and what could happen, envision what could happen that is good instead. Envision how you would like this to play out for your best good. Choose to say “No” to this and decide how you will resolve this and then envision this scenario play out. This is so very powerful. I have used this repeatedly with remarkable success.

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?

That movement would be questioning one’s belief every time something happens that we perceive to be against us. Asking ourselves if this is true? If we all did that, imagine how we could all collaborate on what is the best for all of us.

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?

There is not just one person I would love to have a private breakfast with… a group of single mothers. To me, single mothers who are able to juggle their lives to create a better life for their child or children are the most unheralded heroes out there. If each of us followed the daily routine of grit and resilience that so many of these women do, we would all live a life of thriving.

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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.