We often see athletes in various sports get physically knocked down…a football quarterback is sacked by a defensive player who weighs 50 more pounds than he does…a basketball player stands in the path of an oncoming player to take a charge…a hockey player gets slammed into the sideboards at a high rate of speed by an opposing player and crumples to the ice.

More times than not, these players will get back up on their feet, shake off the collision they just endured, and continue to play the game. The television announcers will yak about how brave the player is to “take the hit” and to get back up again.

But what do the rest of us do when life knocks us down? I don’t think there’s any grey area here. I honestly think there are only two solutions to that question. You can stay down, whine about your circumstances, ask the proverbial “Why Me?” question, and continue down a negative path.

Or you can choose the path that Jenny Hopkins chose. To use every fiber of her being to fight back. To stop making excuses…to stop listening to people who don’t want to see you succeed…to stop the behavior that put you in the negative situation to begin with, and to climb out of that negative scenario one small positive step at a time.

Webster’s defines ‘Resilience’ as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” I don’t think Jenny would say her redemption has been easy, but her journey fits the description. My simple definition is simply having the fortitude to keep getting up – every single time you get slammed to the ground.

The negative thing about Resilience is that most of us wish that we never have to know what it is. Because that would mean that we haven’t faced any hardship. Hardship is uncomfortable, at best, and debilitating at worst. Unfortunately, I don’t know many people who have never faced a hardship or misfortune…no matter how big or how small it might’ve been.

For my younger readers, it could be not achieving an ‘A’ on the Math test that you studied really hard for, or not getting accepted into the college that was #1 on your list, or not making the team.

For older readers (including me) it can be losing a job, the death of a spouse, or the bank foreclosing on your house.

Just remember…the hardship doesn’t define you. How you respond to that hardship does. Are you going to stay down, or are you going to fight back?

Don’t Say, “I Can’t.”