Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachael Evans.
Rachael Evans is a world-leading visionary business disruptor, speaker, author and coach, dedicated to helping women step into their bravery and reclaim their feminine power. Specializing in the auto repair industry, Rachael transformed a struggling auto repair shop from ‘rags to riches’ which led to launching her multi-million dollar company teaching others to do the same. She is now a champion for female business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs looking to find harmony within their greatest roles as mothers, partners, and professionals while continuing to thrive through their successes.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Yes! I am a 44 year old entrepreneur and CEO, mother of 3 biological and 3 step children, wife to my darling husband Dean, and proud Australian. I started my first business when I was 18, selling party plan cosmetics, and I’ve since gone on to own and operate another 5 businesses. I’m now the CEO and founder of The Workshop Whisperer, which is business coaching specific to the auto repair industry, and I also work with 7 and 8 figure female entrepreneurs to find more harmony in their lives. I absolutely love learning, so you can usually find a trail of books all through my house open at various pages waiting for me to stop by and read another one. I love going on adventures with my husband to explore new places, and I also love my quiet time as I’m an introvert at heart.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
The moment that stands out to me the most in my career is where I really found myself at a crossroads. I was newly separated from my now ex-husband, and my coaching business, while it had been operating for a while, wasn’t quite in a place to produce a full time income that I could use to support myself and my 3 children. Upon leaving my marriage, I was immediately cut off from the family income I had helped to create, so I was in a real fight or flight situation.
“Should I hustle my butt off to bring in the business income I needed for us to survive, even though I was bone tired from the relentless bombardment that comes from a marriage ending? Or should I close the doors, and try to find a job again, even though I hadn’t been an employee for more than a decade?”
In the end it became a no brainer that I should continue to grow my business, and quickly. My marriage had already cost me so much personally, I didn’t want it to claim my vision and hopes for the future as well. It took 18 months or so, and many dark nights of the soul, but I grew my coaching business to the point where it not only provides for my children and I, but now provides for my new husband, my step children, and 12 other families through the people who work for us.
I learned that when your vision is clear, you are dedicated and disciplined. When you ask for help and then you implement, your goals can be achieved much faster than you think. Don’t let adversity stand in your way!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think our company stands out for several reasons.
The first is because I am really clear with my vision, and our entire team understands what this is, no matter what position they hold in the company. I recommend any visionary/business owner/CEO reads and implements Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold. Your team can’t execute on your dreams if they don’t understand what they are and why they are so important.
Another reason why our company stands out is because of the work/life harmony we promote for our entire team, our clients, and our whole industry. I started working a 4 Day Work Week (4DWW) back in 2016 as I wanted to have a day to myself during the week that wasn’t taken up with working, running the kids around, or attending sporting activities. We eventually rolled this out across our entire team, and we helped our clients implement it also.
We’ve actually become so good at helping businesses transition to a 4DWW that I have recently published a book about the various different models of the 4DWW so that anyone anywhere can implement a version of it into their business. It’s called “4 Day Work Week by Workshop Whisperer™ — An Auto Repair Shop Owners Guide To A Better Life”
A 4DWW allows our team to have a much better mix of work and play, especially for our team with small children, or those who like to get away a lot. Everyone gets a 3 day weekend, and the added day of rest has meant that sick leave is almost non-existent.
As a business owner, it’s really important to me that the people who work for us are able to enjoy a great life too.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There are many people I can thank for who I am and where I am today, like my Mum and Dad, my husband Dean, my own business coaches, etc. But the person I really need to thank is myself.
I do a little “Snoop Dog” into the mirror every now and again to remind myself that the person who had to do the work to be in this position was ultimately me. No one else did it for me. I see so many business owners ask for advice, and receive really good advice, but for whatever reason they don’t implement it, and then wonder why they aren’t where they want to be.
I’ve been knocked down many times, but I’ve always dusted myself off and continued on. I’m an eternal optimist, and I’ve been able to use that to my advantage many, many times..
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
To me, resilience is the ability to adapt to adverse situations, and to carry on in spite of them. Resilient people often display mental toughness and grit, and an unwavering determination to reach their desired goal.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
What I’ve learned from interviewing dozens and dozens of women on the topic of bravery, and how we might redefine it as women, is that courage is actually the precursor to bravery. Courage is needed in order to carry out a brave act or decision. Courage is summoned in those seconds before you do the brave thing. Often when you summon courage, you feel a physical reaction in your body, like goosebumps or butterflies in your stomach, and even nausea.
With that in mind, I think courage also happens before resilience is determined. Resilience and bravery are both decided to have occurred in retrospect. We look back to say that someone is brave or did something brave, just like we reflect to determine that someone is resilient. Courage comes before both. When you are being courageous, you are doing so in the moment.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I think of all survivors of violence and illness when I think of resilience. I think of the women who experience domestic violence and for whatever reason can’t find a way to leave their abuser. I think of survivors of war who find themselves living in a hell through no choice of their own. I think of those who are enduring life threatening illnesses every day, and battle hard to keep continuing to draw breath.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
I’ve been told something is impossible more times than I can count! Friends, family, and other business owners are often the worst here. I’m sure many business owners can relate to having shared a really exciting idea with people important to you, only to have those people tell you it probably won’t work, so you shouldn’t try.
I learned a long time ago that people around you will project their own fears onto you, so unless they have the result you want, don’t take their advice. I clearly remember when I first stepped into the coaching space in the auto aftermarket, my ex-husband had concerns that no one would take any notice of me because I was a woman. He was actually petrified I would embarrass him. Millions of dollars and a divorce later, I’ve proved that people will hire you if they think you can solve the problem they have. The gender of the person giving the advice is actually irrelevant.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I’ll mention my divorce here again, not because I live in the past (I’m actually a futurist!), but because it had so many defining moments. This was especially so where it applied to my relationship with my children who were 15, 11 and 7 at the time. I knew deep down inside that I wanted my kids to grow up witnessing an adult/parenting relationship that was born out of love and mutual respect, not one built on resentment and distrust, which is what they were actually witnessing. I knew that my kids would get a much better version of me if I didn’t have to struggle daily for equal rights in my home, and if I gave myself the chance to find real unconditional love. The same type of love I knew I was giving to them.
Making the decision to leave their father was the most difficult decision I have ever made. Emotionally, spiritually, and financially it was really hard, but we have never looked back. My children now get to see me make a meaningful contribution to the world without restrictions and see me in a relationship in which both people thrive with unconditional love.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I was that kid, and I’m actually that adult, who goes first. I say that thing, I ask that question, I walk through that door, and I stand in the spotlight with eyes upon me, first. I feel the fear, and I do it anyway. That is how I’ve learned to be resilient. To me, fear means go, so I summon my courage, and I do the thing or make the decision, even though it may draw negative comments or attention to me.
Since I was a little girl I’ve had a very strong sense of justice, and I’m very intune with my personal compass. So if I sense something must be said or done, I’ll listen to or feel what my body is saying, and if fear comes up, it usually means I’m meant to do it. Resilience is a teacher who often reminds me “we’ve done this before and it’s safe to proceed.”
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
I think we should consider these 5 things to become more resilient:
- Awareness. So many of us in our busy lives speed on through each day and don’t pay homage to the things we achieve or endure. In order to know you can handle something and be more resilient, you first need to know that something has occurred!
- Be kind to yourself. Sometimes we falter, but most often we fly.
- Be patient. It’s so cliche, but really, “all good things come to those who wait”. I’ll also add, “all good things come to those who do the work”. So while you wait, also be working to ensure you have your ducks in a row.
- Resolve. Strengthen your resolve and you’ll strengthen your resilience. You can self help here by reading, participating in, watching, or listening to one of the millions of pieces of self help content online or in the real world. Find out about the experiences of others who have been through what you are going through, learn from that, and grow.
- Believe in yourself first. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
This is an easy one for me! It’s my #brave movement.
Through my work helping other 7 and 8 figure female entrepreneurs to finally feel fulfilled in ALL that they do, I’ve recognised that it takes real bravery to stop operating as we have been with masculine dominant energy. By learning to come home to our true feminine selves, we can actually realise who we were really put here in this lifetime to be.
This often involves us being #brave in a whole new way, and not in a way that society necessarily rewards. There are no bravery medals on offer for the decisions we make and actions we take each day as women, yet they are some of the most impactful and influential decisions and actions in human history.
My #brave movement is highlighting this.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Hands down it would be Hillary Clinton. I could list 1000 reasons why! She is #brave and resilient all rolled into one.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!