The Pursuit of Happiness...10 Traits of Resilient People

The Kingdom of Resilience
is filled with beauty,
joy, success,
love and most of all,
the ability to bounce back!
Someone once told me I was the Queen of Resilience. I wear that crown proudly, because it represents all that I am, all that I've experienced, and the potential that I see for my future. My story is one of incredible love, and devastating heartbreak. It’s a story of deep loss, and unimaginable tragedy. And yet, it’s a story of victory and triumph. It's a very full life.

And it's all mine.

I could have chosen to not survive. I could have chosen to blame others, be mad at God, or be angry for the rest of my life. Instead, I chose life… my life… a happy life.

I used to wake up every morning with joy. But after my son died, the foggy bliss would quickly shift as my brain roused from sleep. It would hit me, and the bliss would dissolve quickly into waves of sadness. My inner voice told me that sorrow was my only option.

One morning I awoke to the sounds of my baby boy, Jackson, giggling. He was just a year old when I lost Garrett. He was laughing at the sun as it poured into the room and every time he looked at it, it made him sneeze, one sneeze after another. His giggling was infectious and I burst into laughter. The sound of my own laughter was almost unrecognizable to me. I hadn't heard it in so long. Funny, I couldn’t find a bit of sadness in that early morning moment, only joy.

On that day I had a mystical magical revelation. I realized happiness is a choice you get to make every day as the sun rises.

I was a "grieving parent," but suddenly that label was at war with my other designation... being the mother of a beautiful, laughing, happy baby boy.

That was the beginning of my "Queendom", reigning over my own happiness. Every morning I woke up with that choice. Happy or sad? It was choice. I chose happy most of the time. I say “most” because I know tears are important too. But the choice was mine.

Because my mission is to spread happiness, I did a lot of research and observing what makes some people resilient and others not. The difference is how you choose to reign over your life.

Here are the traits of those who dwell in the Kingdom of Resilience:

1. They are optimistic. They know that life is about the sum total of experiences that make a successful, resilient life. There's a difference between just feeling positive and being optimistic. Being optimistic are the feelings that the present moment is in an optimum state. The concept of optimism is that the past, present, and future all contribute to everything being perfect as it should be. Therefore, the failures are as important as the successes for awakening new ideas and re-thinking new pathways to success and happiness.

2. They look great most of the time.
How do you show up in the world? Your appearance is the first thing that people see. When we’re grocery shopping, at yoga class, or at work, we’re being seen and assessed by those around us. I’ve run into my clients more times than I can tell you at yoga or the grocery store. It doesn’t take much more effort to put on a nice pair of yoga pants and a cute work-out top. Same for the grocery store… just stop and put on a swipe of lipstick and check your hair before going in. Trust me, your next potential client, friend, or soul mate could be asking you to help pick out the sweetest peaches in the produce section. It happened to me!

3. They take steps to break the pattern of fear and worry in life.
You ask any successful person if they had fear going to their next level and they will tell you yes...but their passion made their fear work for them. In Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work,” he says Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance even when he was 75. In other words, fear doesn’t go away. It’s a battle that must be fought by dynamic people every day.

4. They post responsibly on Facebook and Twitter. Social networking is here to stay and it’s time we establish the ground rules. Remember this is one more reflection of who you are. Think before you post and always with intention. My goal on social networking is to establish my community. In addition to family and friends, my clients are on Facebook. I want them to know me and trust me. Treat Facebook like a neighborhood. Our front yards are always mowed and we enjoy sharing with our neighbors and friends, but what goes on inside the house is nobody’s business. Of course we can share our lives, our frustrations, and our joys, but just like our neighborhood, we have to all get along and some things are best kept in private. Please, think before you post. One more thing, my husband found me on Facebook! I believe in the power of connection!

5. They get out of the house and do something to break the pattern of feeling blue.
If you’re feeling down, visit a zoo, a pet shelter, the ocean, or a park. Even a trip to the grocery store will force you to get yourself out of the house and talking to people. Make a point of saying something nice to someone you encounter. It will make their day and in turn, the goodness they feel will bounce right back to you.

6. They have a playful, creative spirit that feeds their child heart. Many people believe they’re not creative, but everyone is. Just look back to your childhood. Did you build a sand castle at the beach? Did you finger paint on giant sheets of butcher paper? Did you make cabins with popsicle sticks? Did you mold animals with Play Doh? It didn’t matter how good you thought it was, or what others thought, you did it because it made you happy. Start by taking photos of flowers and the sunsets with your smart phone. Print and frame them. Try painting a glass vase with acrylic paint and when it’s dry, fill it with flowers! Start a blog or write a silly poem! Play an instrument, sing a song! Go to a ceramics studio and paint a bowl with cherries. Now your life is just a bowl of cherries! Remember...always keep your child heart.

7. They know that what they do for a living is one of the highest spiritual expressions of who they are.
I'm learning now, more than ever that our jobs are often the highest expression of our spirits. A huge responsibility! Think about it, we spend the majority of our lives working our jobs. Resilient people like what they do (most of the time). It’s also the reason resilient people are highly successful.

8. They've learned that resistance is a force of nature and fight hard to keep it out of the Kingdom of Resilience.
Author Steven Pressfield defines resistance as “ a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” Resistance can manifest itself in different spending too much time on Facebook when you have a writing deadline, or avoiding phone calls that might change your life. Anything that stops you from the best use of your time or prevents you from becoming your best self is resistance. Get your sword and armor and start fighting back.

9. They have a mindfulness daily practice.
Mounting evidence reveals that more and more highly successful people either meditate, pray, or have some sort of spiritual practice they do every day. It is proven to increase emotional well-being, improve focus, enhance creativity, lower stress, encourage better sleep habits, and revitalize health. Wouldn’t you trade 15 minutes of your day to guarantee success?

10. They know that nothing ever stays the same. Ever.
When you try to hold onto something, or someone, or keep everything the same, that’s the moment when change will happen. When you have a challenge, recognize it as a time to grow in faith and strength.

Here's your crown to print and cut out.
I will send you this
AND my FREE ebook:
Stepping Stones to a Resilient Life
Email me at the email below
and put "Crown" in the
 subject line
At first, I thought my journey in life had been defined by loss, but actually my story is about triumph. Resilience has helped me see what’s most important and has taught me that I am stronger and more successful than I ever imagined.

Once you’ve become enlightened, you can never go back and be unenlightened. Now, you’re transformed.

May I present you with your own Crown of Resilience? I’m pretty sure if you follow these steps and you proudly wear the crown, you, too, will bounce back from anything that comes your way and reign over a life well lived.

Best wishes and love,

Sandy Peckinpah writes and speaks on surviving loss and activating resilience. Her new award winning book entitled, "How to Survive the Worst that Can Happen" is a parent's step by step guide for healing after the loss of a child, based on her own experience of losing her 16 year old son. She also hosts a radio show in Northern CA on KRXA AM Talk Radio.

Visit to download my FREE ebook Stepping Stones to a Stepping Stones to a Resilient Life

Award Winning Book
How To Survive The Worst That Can Happen


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