Resilience - When the Going Gets Tough

It’s amazing how much strength you can and do find when the chips are down.

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Resilience - When the Going Gets Tough

Posted by Clare Church on

“You have cancer” - The words no one wants to hear. But those are the words that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I am a mum of three young children, I can’t have cancer. I have a career I love, I can’t have cancer. I am relatively fit and healthy, I can’t have cancer. Hang on, am I going to die? All things that went through my mind more than once over the past few months. 

Here I am happily going along with life and BAM, how do you even start to process or recover from that news? 

I found myself at a mental crossroads. I could easily feel helpless, hopeless and sorry for myself or I could find the courage and resources I need to carry on, it was an easy choice for me, I “put on my positive pants”! 

 When you are met with any type of crisis life seems to take on a whole new meaning. 

Look at the major turning points in your life, was everything going smoothly when you had to change course or did something force your hand?

Things that previously faded into the background suddenly become more important, something that I thought was urgent and worthy of my attention somehow felt pointless. I straight away began the process of re-evaluating. 

For me it was about letting the people in my life that I love know that I love them. Making each interaction with someone count. 

I had to find that resilience, that coping mechanism, that extra strength to deal with something I never imagined I would. 

It’s amazing how much strength you can and do find when the chips are down. Especially if it’s a health crisis, this is happening in your body. 

Can you really influence this?

Of course you can. You can decide how you think and feel about what you are going through. What happens next for you? How can you feel in control of what is happening? 

I’m not saying you need to skip out of the consultant’s room full of the joys, thinking it’ll all be ok if you just think positive - I came out in floods of tears and still cry about it all now. But how can you influence the way you feel about it? How can you get your body and mind in the best physical shape to deal with this crisis? 

My way was to be more aware of what I was putting into my body, how I was nourishing myself, who I was surrounding myself with. I thought a lot about what I needed to be in order so that I could fully focus on the task ahead. (I’m a control freak who runs a tight ship and I needed to know that ship was going to stay on course even without me at the helm, whilst I focused on me). 

All of this fed into recovering at the right pace, taking my time and putting everything on my body's schedule. I am lucky, the cancer I have was caught early so I knew to some degree time was on my side. I could plan ahead with the surgery, give myself the space to understand what was happening, take a step back and let it all sink in. 

But now the question becomes how to take what I have learnt with me to whatever comes next? Suddenly looking after my health, my fitness, my mind becomes a priority. What use am I to anyone if I don’t look after me? 

The amazing thing with resilience is that you take it forward. You have that with you whatever happens next. Of course another crisis will come along - that’s life - but knowing you have the resources to deal with it, could make the next one all the easier to navigate. 

I wanted to share my story - and this is really out of my comfort zone - to support others who might be dealing with a health crisis or know someone that is. This is also another platform for me to remind you to put you first.

I have cervical cancer. The only reason it was caught so early and I will survive is because I was on top of my smear tests. I have friends embarrassed to even talk about their smear tests - but these things are available to save our lives. My ask to those of you reading, is to book that appointment with the nurse, check your family and friends have up to date tests. You might just save a life! 

ANLP Addendum

Sadly, 2 months after writing this blog, Clare passed away suddenly due to complications caused by her medication. Clare wrote this with the intention of getting her message out as widely as possible, so we honour that intention by continuing to share this message.


Clare Church
Clare Church (guest post)

Clare was a Member of the ANLP Council of Generative Wisdom and a Member of the NLP Conference Volunteers.