Some would be satisfied to accomplish what I’ve achieved with the struggles I have to face. Yet I am still determined to reach higher levels of success. I want to speak in front of large groups about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I want to teach others about the power of positive thinking, and most of all I want to help others who struggle will an illness, disease, disorder, or disability. My mission is to make a difference. I want to help improve the lives of millions.

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 Stacey Chillemi.

Stacey Chillemi is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, speaker & coach. She is the founder of The Complete Herbal Guide, and she has empowered hundreds of thousands of people from countries worldwide through her books, websites, e-courses, educational videos, and live speaking events.

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?

Life was grand as a toddler, going on weekend trips with my parents, playing with my friends, and listening to grandma as she shared one inspiring story after another about the good old days. What more could a child ask for than the love and comfort of her family?

Surprising life quickly took a turn for the worst and that pathway I was destined to journey became rocky as traumatic obstacles crossed my life path and took me on a different journey. A journey, one no child should have to experience.


At the age of five, I had contracted a sore throat and an ear infection. My mother brought me to the doctor’s that evening, and the pediatrician put me on penicillin and told my mother to have me rest. No one thought much of it at the time.

I rested in bed and I was on penicillin for about ten days. On the tenth night when she put me to bed, my lips were more red than usual. The next morning at about 8:00 A.M., my mother woke up because she heard unusual noises coming from my room that sounded like I was choking on my saliva. She walked into my bedroom to find me in my bed turning blue and having a grand mal seizure. This was the first time I ever experienced a seizure.

During the seizure, I fell to the floor, my eyes rolled to the left and my whole body began to shake. My teeth began to chatter, and I started to foam at the mouth and choke on my saliva my skin color began to turn bluish because of the lack of oxygen I was enduring.

My mother ran to the phone to call the ambulance and had me rushed to the hospital. They brought me to the emergency room and hurried me to the isolation ward. They had no idea if any type of serious or contagious illness brought on the seizure.

They administered many tests to try to diagnose the cause of the grand mal seizure. The doctors finally concluded that the grand mal seizure came from a virus. This was not an ordinary virus. It was a virus known as encephalitis.

The doctors had told my parents that the bacteria from the ear infection had traveled to my brain and that the virus was still in my brain. They were told that the viral encephalitis had to leave my brain naturally on its own. I was in an induced coma for four days. After the 2nd day, my parents were told that if I survive, I would probably have severe brain damage or I could become paralyzed and paraplegic.

My parents were devastated, but they never gave up hope. On the fourth day, while I was in a coma, my father lay by my bedside and began praying to a saint in Greece. As he prayed he was visualizing the statue in front of his old church. In Greece, water would roll down this saint’s eyes. As my father raised his head and opened his eyes, he looked directly at me to find a teardrop rolling down my face. Immediately after I woke up. They tested me right away. I had no brain damage, but the infection had traveled to my brain and caused scar tissue damage, which left me with Epilepsy. For years, I endured endless seizures.

My seizures finally became under control after years of tests, trial groups, and trying every antiseizure medication known to man. My epileptologist gave me permission to drive a car, feeling that my safety was no longer in jeopardy or likely to endanger someone’s life while driving. I was so excited.

At eighteen, I was issued a license that right of passage so important for a young person striving for independence and autonomy. Since I have Epilepsy, I was even more excited to get my license since I always felt different from the other kids and that I had something to prove. Now, the gap was closing and I was just like all the other teenagers, one of the gangs, the cool girl in school with a license.

Picking my friends up and driving to the mall quickly became a ritual. We shopped until we dropped and enjoyed every precious moment. We helped each other pick clothes, buying like crazy until our wallets were empty. The morning after a shopping spree you would find us at each other’s house, helping each other get into the new pants that we purposely bought two sizes smaller.

One of us would get on the bed, and the other two would help pull up the pants. I can still hear Marie yelling at me to stop breathing and hold in my stomach!

No new purchase was sacred; we swapped our new clothes and could make three new outfits look like ten. As our closets grew, so did our friendships. We bonded, shopping being the experience that brought us closer. No matter how different we each were in personality, we all had a love for shopping in common.

At nineteen, life changed, as you would expect, it should for a young woman about to become an adult. Only my change wasn’t typical.

While I was driving with my boyfriend (who is now my husband) on a winding, country road in New Jersey, I suddenly went into a seizure. My muscles tightened, my arms curved to the left and my foot went all the way down on the gas pedal.

Our future together flashed before us as the car headed straight toward a telephone pole. Fighting me for the wheel was worse than fighting a boxer or wrestler. I had no control and while in the throes of the seizure, I had the strength of a couple of bouncers.

Finally, my boyfriend got control over the car, steering it safely away from the pole and bringing it to a stop.

By then my seizure had passed and a new era in my life began. An angel was watching over us and spared our lives that day, but my license was revoked and my days at the mall became fewer and more difficult to arrange.

I never expected that not being able to drive whenever I desired would have such an impact on my life, but it did. I became a prisoner in my own home, no longer able to hop into the car and go to the mall, to Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee, or Blockbusters for a video. I was at the mercy of other people’s schedules.


Not one to ask for people’s help, my isolation became chronic. I felt very alone. I was a strong, independent person and I wanted to take care of myself. I wanted to be a successful woman working in New York, shopping her heart out after work then going to the bar to have enjoyed an evening martini with friends. But that idea wasn’t realistic; my dreams didn’t seem to have a chance.

My confidence was shaken, my self-esteem at an all-time low. How was I going to be a success? I had Epilepsy. Where was my life going? What was my purpose? I was depressed, hiding from the world, and feeling hopeless inside. Afraid to tell others how I felt, I was trapped.


As time passed, I was accepted to Stockton University and with all odds against me, I was determined to succeed. I was put on this earth for a reason, and I was bound to succeed no matter how difficult the ride was going to be.

I remember like it was yesterday, I was in class and an aura came, I had a seizure and I woke up in a classroom in dead silence with all eyes focused on me. Even the guy I couldn’t stand had a face of remorse and sympathy. It was the worst feeling in the world. Then my professor, in a relaxed and friendly voice, asked me if I was OK and I said, “yes” and then my professor broke the ice by saying, “My roommate in college had epilepsy and he did just fine.” No worries class. I must have taken every class he taught because he made me feel safe in his classroom.

Eventually, I graduated and then landed a job with a big corporation. I worked there for a while until one day I fell to the floor and had a seizure. One of the big corporate employees walked over to me and kept going. Thirty minutes later his associate released me from my position.

Was I ever going to reach the level of success I always dreamed of achieving? Every time I took 2 steps forward I felt like my Epilepsy knocked me back another three steps.

By then I was getting ready to marry the longtime love that I met after high school. I got married and helped my in-laws with the business they were starting. During this time after 3 years of writing, I finished the book I started in college, “Epilepsy You’re Not Alone.”

Letters from all over the US and Canada poured in and people thanked me for writing this book. One person even told me that they were on the verge of suicide, but they saw my book at Barnes and Noble and they read it, followed my advice and guidance and they gained purpose back in their life and the will to live.

It was then that I realized how powerful words can be and how a simple book could make a dramatic change in someone’s life.

It was then that I decided I want to be a writer, an advocate, and a life coach. I wanted to help others like so many others had reached out to help me in my lowest and hardest times of life.

The Epilepsy Foundation invited me to Washington DC where I spoke in front of Congress about job discrimination. Afterward, I met Congressman Rush Holt who shook my hand, congratulated me on my courage and perseverance, and shed a tear as he told me about heartwarming moments watching his sister grow up with Epilepsy.

During my years of writing in the health field and over 15 years behind my belt, I began writing for a herbalist. I used many things I learned and applied them to my own life. Amazingly, my seizures decreased, eventually stopped and fifteen years later I was able to drive again.

I was intrigued with herbals, vitamins, food for medicine, and natural life (alternative medicine). I researched for over two years and collected valuable information and completed my book, The Complete Herbal Guide: A Natural Approach to Healing the Body and Maintaining Optimal Health Using Herbal Supplements, Vitamins, Minerals, Fruits, Vegetables, and Alternative Medicine.

I started with a blog of 400, then created a website of 10,000 monthly visitors to a redesigned website that brings an insane amount of monthly visitors.

Some would be satisfied to accomplish what I’ve achieved with the struggles I have to face. Yet I am still determined to reach higher levels of success. I want to speak in front of large groups about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I want to teach others about the power of positive thinking, and most of all I want to help others who struggle will an illness, disease, disorder, or disability. My mission is to make a difference. I want to help improve the lives of millions.

I realize no matter what age you are or what illness you are suffering from you can transform your life and create the life you always wanted for yourself. A life filled with happiness, inner peace, good health, and positivity.

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

One of my career’s most interesting and life-changing moments was when I woke up one morning, got my cup of coffee, and began reading my emails.

As I opened the open one email, I was stunned, and my jaw dropped as I continued to read it. Someone had read one of my best-selling books, “Epilepsy You’re Not Alone.” They told me they were on the verge of suicide. They couldn’t deal with living with their illness anymore.

They were in Barnes and Noble, and they saw my book and decided to buy it. The person told me that the book saved their life. It gave them the will and motivation to want to live.

They told me they were following the regimens in my book, and now they are living happy life. At that moment, I realized that the wisdom of words could be such a powerful tool and, when used correctly, make a difference in this world and in people’s lives.

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

My company and the services I provide stand out because I teach people how to attain the impossible.

When I am on stage doing a speaking event, especially on the topic of empowerment, people focus on me and absorb my words of wisdom. I teach people how to release the power within them. I show them that change is possible and the life they dreamed of having is attainable.

Usually, people come over and hug me afterward because I provided them with the motivation and inspiration they needed to make that first step.

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?

So many people came out of the woodwork to help me get to the level of success I now have.

However, the one person I am grateful for is my husband, who has been in my life since nineteen.

Throughout my ups and downs, he always was there for me. He always supported me and gave me the encouragement to move forward and try to reach for the stars.

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?

To me, resilience comes from within “our inner strength.” It is the ability to believe in yourself and the courage to make your goals, realistic dreams, and desires a part of your reality. It is also the ability to overcome the obstacles and challenges we face, and I explain how to do this in my book Empower Yourself: Don’t Let Your Conditions Empower you.

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

Courage and strength are similar because they are powerful characteristics one must have to succeed. However, they are different because you need strength to have courage.

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

Martin Luther King Jr. because he did not fear speaking his mind. He was an empowered individual with a purpose in life. He fought for a cause, and that was to end racism. He gave African Americans the courage to fight for their equality. He was a mentor to millions who believed in the possibilities of change.

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?

People told me that I could not be a success because I had Epilepsy. But, I did not listen to their negative input. I am proud to say that I am a 20 times best-selling author, speaker, coach, and podcaster, and I am proud to say that I am seizure–free.

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?

There was a point in my life when my seizures were not controlled. I was asked to stop driving. I did not drive for 15 years.

I felt imprisoned in my own home. I did not give up. I created my own online business and wrote several successful books.

Many became best-sellers. I refused to give up. I empowered myself by releasing the power within me. I focused on the positive and developed strength, courage, wisdom, and hope. I overcame the impossible and became a success in my field.

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?

Having Epilepsy was like riding a roller coaster. I was not going to let it stop me from accomplishing my dreams. I did whatever it took to accomplish the goals I set out for myself.

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.


Ask yourself what makes you feel like you cannot reach the point in life you want to reach. Write any thoughts that come to mind. Also, write down what self-confidence means to you


Everyone has unique qualities and characteristics. We are all born differently for a reason. Therefore, do not compare yourself to others.


I will show you this in my book.


Write down in your journal what you will be able to do once you acquire the confidence you need


Remember, you are number one!

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. 🙂

Have gratitude. Most people don’t realize how lucky they have it until it’s taken away from them. Most times, the littlest things in life mean so much.

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 love to have breakfast or lunch with Toni Robins. I admire his speaking skills and his determination to reach his goals and become a success.

When he started, he rented a large room to speak in, and only a small amount appeared at his event. However, he did not get discouraged. He talks about how he spoke like there were 1000 people in the room, even though there was only a small amount.

I admired his perseverance, courage, strength, and will not to give up. I would love to meet him one day.

How can our readers further follow your work online?



🔔 Social Network Links

Care to learn more?

This is a perfect moment to become one of Stacey’s growing global community of friends by ordering your copy of her latest books.


“Empower Yourself and Not Let Your Conditions Empower You” gives you a comprehensive, evidence-based, insightful, motivational, and inspiring playbook for empowering yourself. —


The Positivity and Gratitude Journal is the perfect way to start practicing gratitude and building your daily happiness. —


A personal approach to how to cope with the disorder. —

Here are other articles I have published exploring the launch of this book:


Want a personalized copy of Stacey’s book? Stacey Chillemi helps readers personalize their gifts. (Get yours now.) please email me at [email protected]

Download (and free-to-share) resource guides for discussing Empower Yourself: Don’t Let Your Conditions Empower You


First is What are the ‘Keys to EMPOWERMENT?’ Stacey is sharing resources from the Discussion Guide for her new book — a page that lists 6 keys to help you on your road to EMPOWERMENT.

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.