It wasn’t until 2014 that I thought about the concept of resilience. A retired military officer mentioned the term while speaking about the challenges I have faced in recovery. It took some time to sink in before I started to look inwardly and conceptualize “resilience” on my own, and even longer until I began to speak about it.

So, what is it? It’s the ability to dig deep to tackle these challenges and overcome problems. All of us have this ability, even in our daily lives. More importantly, how do we have the power, strength and courage to overcome? It’s through a collection of experiences. I recently asked a group I was speaking with the following questions:

“Who has been shot at?” I couple of hands went up. I was a little bit shocked, but they were military veterans or police officers.

“Who has faced adversity in their life?” Everyone’s hands went up.

It’s that second question – the one about adversity –that helps us build resilience. It could be from a childhood illness or situation. Or those high school years that can be tough. Or serving in the military, raising a family, or working in the private sector. All of these experiences are different, but prepare us for other, greater challenges in the future. They make us tough, each in our own way. I am thankful for the experiences I had, good and bad, in my past, before my line of duty injury changed my life forever. They gave me courage to truly adapt and overcome.

We build and earn resilience throughout our life. We just need to dig deep and have others help us realize we have this strength.