Richard began studying resilience after 9/11 when he and his colleagues were called to the American Airlines Corporate Headquarters to help staff from corporate executives, pilots, flight attendants and airport terminal staff deal with the tragedies associated from American’s loss of 2 planes on that fateful day.
What he learned from those months of visits with employees at all levels is that our native biological response to intense stress is not to give up and complain about what we can’t do in our world but instead face up to our challenges and overcome them.
That is the central theme of resilience.
Richard also had the chance to apply his resilience learnings in his own life as he faced personal challenges that tested his own ability to address adversity.
Within a 5-year period two of his children were diagnosed with life threatening diseases. His son Ken developed AIDS related cancers and eventually succumbed to his illnesses and then his daughter Corinne developed breast cancer and dies just two years later. Walking through these challenges with his wife Sheila forced Richard to look at his own and his family’s approach to hardships and difficulties and to develop a mindset and actions that kept them moving on in their own lives.
Richard took these experiences along with his own experiences and was compelled to write the Resilience Advantage to share his insights and learnings.