This is the essence of resilience, and what Dallas-based litigation attorney Courtney Perez realized after years of slogging through stressful days. 

“I always thought resilience was something to be endured, like ‘taking the punches,’ she shared with a fellow group of senior women attorneys. 

Ouch. Resilience is not at all about taking punches!

This accomplished group had gathered as part of an annual leadership program for the Dallas Bar Association called WE LEAD where I have had the privilege of conducting resilience training for the past few years. 

“Resilience, for me, is about survival,” said Courtney, a partner at Carter Arnett PLLC. 

Heads nodded in agreement since the pressure and grind of the legal profession is something everyone in the room had experienced in excess. Still, the weight of Courtney’s words surprised me. She was a dynamic, intelligent, high-achieving professional who had earned the right to stay in the game—and be at the top of her game. The same could be said for all the other attorneys present, some of whom were quick to note the lack of female role models and mentors to guide them as they reached higher in their careers. 

The facts: nothing I said that day would reverse the staggering burnout in the industry and disproportionate number of women continuing to exit the profession at senior levels.  Such external circumstances were beyond our control. 

“But resilience,” I told the group, “comes from the inside. “It’s about forging the inner reserves to transcend challenges big and small, and to be able to do so with optimism.”

Having a resilient vision is the antidote to stress and burnout. It’s how you move from a place of overwhelm and stagnation to well-being and risk-taking. In order to stay at the top of the game, women attorneys must embrace and own their true resilience. 

Taking stock of challenges and frustrations is the first step toward becoming resilient. It’s a process that can’t be rushed because real resilience requires understanding along with action. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting you do nothing. Ignoring a situation leads to stuckness, not growth. It’s just that you can’t swing into action before you’ve figured out what a particular situation means to you on a deeper level.  

For starters, answer the following questions:

What is within your ability to change right now? 

How might your perspective be negatively altered by this challenge? 

What long-term value and benefits could come from addressing this challenge?  

Resilience is a learned skill. The more you practice it, the more confident and intentional your vision for the future.

It was a proud moment to hear how Courtney’s views on resilience shifted after the program. “What I learned today is that you don’t have to endure or suffer through challenges. If you change your perspective, you can actually enjoy the journey as you move through those challenges. I never thought of resilience in this way.”

What about you? In what ways can cultivating a resilient vision help you feel at the top of your game?