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#65 – Uncovering the Power of Resilience Through Real Stories with Emma J. Bell


In this inspiring episode, we sit down with Emma J. Bell, bestselling author, award-winning speaker, and renowned resilience expert, to explore the profound journey and insights from her work, “9 Secrets to Thriving”.

This summary will explore key topics discussed, including resilience strategies, the power of narrative, and self-care practices among others, underlined by Emma’s insights and research.

Emma has traversed the globe, logging over 35,000 miles to interview 50 extraordinary individuals who have overcome incredible challenges—from surviving terrorist attacks to adapting to life without limbs.

These stories not only form the backbone of her book but also reveal pivotal resilience strategies that anyone can use to not just survive, but thrive.

Join us as Emma shares her personal experiences, discusses the power of embracing discomfort, and reveals how simple shifts in thought and behaviour can lead to profound growth.

Whether you’re seeking to enhance your own resilience or inspire it in others, Emma’s insights are bound to empower and enlighten.

Emma shares the profound stories and lessons she has gleaned from these “Thrivers,” focusing particularly on one standout story—that of Kia Sher, whose tragic loss of her family due to a terrorist attack leads to an astonishing outlook on forgiveness and narrative control.

Key Topics:

  • Narrative Control and Forgiveness
  • Resilience Strategies and Psychological Markers
  • Self-Care as a Resilience Strategy
  • Support Systems and Authenticity
  • Inter-generational Differences in Resilience

Narrative Control and Forgiveness

Emma opens the podcast by sharing the impactful story of Kia Sher, who lost her husband and daughter in a terrorist attack.

Despite the immense pain, Kia chose a narrative of understanding rather than hatred, a decision that profoundly influenced Emma.

This story exemplifies the extraordinary power of narrative control—a theme that resonates deeply in the podcast. Emma emphasises that everyday irritations, like a challenging email, can be opportunities to choose our narratives carefully, fostering resilience strategies and personal growth.

This approach is not just about enduring but transforming adversity into a catalyst for personal development.

“There’s nothing to forgive. These terrorists were bound to do what they were going to do because they’ve been radicalised.” – Kia Sher

Resilience Strategies and Psychological Markers

Emma discusses the common resilience strategies used by the thrivers she studied. These strategies are not just about bouncing back but “bouncing forward,” a concept she describes as resilience intensified.

The research identified nine key psychological markers common among the thrivers, including self-care, support systems, and authenticity.

These markers help individuals not only survive but thrive through life’s challenges, turning traumatic experiences into opportunities for significant personal growth.

Self-Care as a Resilience Strategy

The importance of self-care is a prominent theme, highlighted as the foremost strategy among the resilience strategies.

Emma explains that self-care must go beyond the superficial; it involves deep, daily practices that ensure physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

This practice is crucial for enabling compassion towards oneself, which in turn allows for greater empathy towards others and enhances the ability to serve and support others effectively.

Support Systems and Authenticity

Support systems and authenticity play critical roles in resilience strategies. Emma highlights the value of having a “tribe” or support network that can offer not only emotional backing but also a sense of humour and perspective during tough times.

Authenticity, or being true to oneself, is emphasised as essential for building genuine connections and resilience. This authenticity helps in navigating personal and professional challenges more effectively.

Inter-generational Differences in Resilience

Emma touches on the noticeable differences in resilience strategies between generations, particularly between Generation X and Millennials. These differences, she notes, stem from varying upbringing styles and the advent of digital technologies.

Understanding these generational traits is crucial for leadership and mentorship, helping to bridge gaps and foster a more supportive and resilient workforce.


The podcast wraps up with Emma reiterating the importance of narrative control, resilience strategies, and proactive self-care.

Listeners are encouraged to adopt these strategies in their daily lives, embracing challenges as opportunities to grow and strengthen their resilience.

Emma’s research and personal anecdotes offer profound insights into how we can all aspire to not just survive but thrive in the face of adversity.

Listen to the full episode to uncover the 9 strategies to thrive instead of just surviving.

Listen now on Spotify | Apple Podcast | YouTube