Cultivating Resilience

Going from peak physical fitness to coming-to in a hospital bed is a remarkably difficult thing. Ask any athlete who has ever been debilitated for any amount of time and the answer will likely be the same: It is Hell, or as close to it as most people will ever come. Maybe athletes have the grit necessary to face challenges and navigate them as best they can. Or maybe, just like everyone else, they cultivate a deeper sense of self and a greater resilience from those challenges. However it played out, Trevor began to understand and approach his recovery using specific methods. He uses those same practices in business and life to this day.

Take it one day at a time: Some days will be better than others. You cannot avoid the fact that some are just plain going to hurt. Endure them with the understanding that with effort, and time, things will get better. Something a friend in the military once told him: Give it all you’ve got for today. You can always give up tomorrow. It is a psychological trick people use in the worst of circumstances: push on for today and if you want to buckle, there is always tomorrow. If you tell yourself this everyday, then you never give up.

Celebrate little victories: After the accident, Trevor celebrated taking a single step. He celebrated being able to brush his teeth. We often take the basic tasks and abilities of life for granted. He had to fight for them. From that, Trevor learned to celebrate the incremental improvements he made with each day. He knew that eventually, when they were all accumulated, they would lead to a major accomplishment. That fortitude allowed for him to regain mobility and forge a new path in life.

Never forget where you came from: Trevor hailed from inner-city Toronto and from the ice rinks of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Everyone knows the sport is brutal. Players are knocked down, bloodied and lose teeth, and they just keep getting back up. Theirs is a culture of toughness. You always get back up when you fall. There is no other option.

Always be grateful: A ray of sunshine, the chatter of birds in the morning, the sound of Toronto traffic, the way the sun reflects off of Lake Ontario, the moon on a clear night, the laughter of family and friends: Every single day is a gift. It is your job to celebrate it, to find the good and perfect moments – and to be thankful.