Artwork for podcast Radical Resilience
How To Strengthen Your Resilience Muscle
Episode 1025th February 2022 • Radical Resilience • Blair Kaplan Venables
00:00:00 00:14:02

Share Episode


On February 18, 2022, Blair and Alana’s father, Leonard Kaplan, passed away. The Global Resilience Project was created because of his relationship with Blair. Over the years, Blair has mastered how to strengthen her resilience muscle and this episode will share those secrets.


This episode is dedicated to our dad. May his memory be a blessing.

You can read stories of resilience and share your story at:

Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised. 

About the Host:

Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. She brings fifteen years of experience to her clients which include global wellness, entertainment and lifestyle brands. As a pioneer in the industry, she has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards, launch their businesses and more. Yahoo! listed Blair as a top ten social media expert to watch in 2021. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, CBC Radio, Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. Blair is also the #1 bestselling author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur and co-host of the Dissecting Success podcast. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “The Resilience Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.

Learn more about Blair:

Submit your story:  

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the social media buttons on this page.

Do you have some feedback or questions about this episode? Leave a comment in the section below! 

Subscribe to the podcast

If you would like to get automatic updates of new podcast episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or on your favorite podcast app.


Leave us an Apple Podcasts review

Ratings and reviews from our listeners are extremely valuable to us and greatly appreciated. They help our podcast rank higher on Apple Podcasts, which exposes our show to more awesome listeners like you. If you have a minute, please leave an honest review.


Blair Kaplan Venables:

trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I lead Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real. Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. It's me Blair Kaplan, Venables. This week, we want to dedicate our episode to our dad, Leonard Kaplan, on February 18. At 6:48pm Winnipeg time, he peacefully passed away being surrounded by the people he loves. After a three year battle with COPD and lung cancer. He really showed us what true resilience is. And I've been with him the last few weeks getting to spend his last few days, hours minutes with him. And it's been a very beautiful experience. And so today's episode is actually been pre recorded. It is my signature talk about how to strengthen your resilience muscle. And if I think of the word resilient besides thinking of my mom, and obviously myself, because I have had to be very resilient. My father really showed me what resilience is. So this episode is dedicated to him. Dad, we love you.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Dear Blair, I want to take a moment to start this year if 2019 To write a brief letter of apology to you. In the mid 1980s, I became a drug addict, and as a result became an awful dad. I apologize for all of those times that I failed to arrive to pick you up for family time. Your mom dressed you up and you waited patiently at the door for me to arrive. But I never did. I repeated this awful, traumatic event over and over not realizing that you were too young to understand. I had no excuse for keeping you waiting and wondering why your dad never showed up. You were the most important person in my life. And those moments tore me apart emotionally. And I continued to numb myself with drugs to ease that pain. I humbly and with guilt and remorse. Ask for your forgiveness for the wrongs and bad choices that I made in your formative years. Love dad. My name is Blair Kaplan Venables. I'm a daughter of a man who lives with addiction. And this is my story about how I strengthened my resilience muscle. And that letter I read you I received January 1 2019. As I tell you my story, I want you to think about how would your life be different if you had the power to forgive the person that has hurt you the most. So I want to take you down memory lane. I was born in the 80s and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I was born into the Jewish community to a Jewish family. My grandparents are Jewish, my great grandparents are Jewish. You know, I went to synagogue and Hebrew school and Jewish summer camp. I had a really fun life. But behind the scenes, I didn't know that my father lives with addiction. He developed the addiction probably around the time I was born. And at the age of seven, my father and my mother divorced, my dad left the family. Now no one sat me down to have a conversation about me having two homes or my dad living elsewhere. Just all of a sudden things were different. One day I was a daddy's girl seeing songs with him going on adventures with him. And then the next day he wasn't around. Slowly things started disappearing, like our piano or art. And what I didn't know was that my dad lived with addiction. In the 80s, my dad became a certified gemologist and a diamond dealer. In fact, the 84 and 85 Stanley Cup rings had diamonds that were from my father. He was extremely successful. He could hear a song and learn to play it by ear. He knew how to fly a plane. He was a true entrepreneur. However, one day he decided that he wanted to try cocaine so he can work longer hours and make more money. And unfortunately, the party stopped and he didn't. He lives with addiction. He actually told me a story once about how he was getting me ready in the morning and he put me in the high chair and he gave me a juice box and he turned around and cut a line of it. cocaine, snorted the line of cocaine, looked at me and I had a straw on my nose. And that was the moment he realized that he had a problem and that he had to leave the family.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So he was in and out of my life, he would say, Blair, I'm going to come pick you up for family time, and he wouldn't show up. Blair, I'm going to give you a call, I would wait by the phone, he wouldn't call Blair. I'll be at your birthday party. And I'd be at the roller rink, and I would do a lap and I would sit by the door and wait for him and he wouldn't show up. This broke my heart. This caused me to grow up with trust issues. My dad was in and out of my life. I didn't understand that he had an addiction. No one talked to me about that. I thought my dad stopped loving me. I have issue, I had issues with relationships, I had issues with myself, I had issues with respect. I was always seeking for that approval and that love that I never felt from my father. Because of this, I developed an insanely large sense of independence. I've done a lot of traveling and you know, living around the world. And when I finished university, I graduated from the University of Winnipeg from the public relations program, I was working for a company called Lululemon. And luckily, Lululemon wanted me to move up in management. And part of that benefit was that they send their staff to the landmark forum, you may have heard of the landmark forum, I took this trip to the landmark forum, because they were flying me to Vancouver, British Columbia. And that meant I got to hang out with my best friend. I wasn't going because of landmark, you know, and the desire to go, I was going because I saw it as a free trip. But when I went to the landmark forum, I was actually given the tools that allowed me to forgive my dad. So at the age of 22, I decided to no longer be angry, I decided to forgive my dad, I decided to accept my dad, for whoever he was, I will never forget being in a grocery store aisle using my mother's calling card, you know, dialing all those numbers, calling my dad on a phone, he was in Winnipeg, apologizing and letting them know, I'd accept him for who he was. He was crying, and I was crying. And we continued that beautiful conversation four hours later that evening. And ever since that day, our relationship changed. And so things were different. I never thought he would be able to walk me down the aisle. And he did. I eventually moved to Vancouver, and he came to visit me a few times a year, even more than my mom and my sister. I never thought that life was possible. And at the end of 2018, we learned that my father was terminally ill. Now, as of today, he is still with us. But at the end of 2018, we were told he had a year and a half to two years left to live. And I had the rug pulled from beneath my feet. I could not believe that I was about to lose my father a second time, I felt robbed, I worked so hard to have him back in my life. And he was being taken away again. And just to lay some context, from that moment, I've deal I've had to deal with multiple traumas. And I'm just going to give you a high level list of what's happened between the end of 2018. And now, just so you understand how I've strengthened my resilience muscle and what I've gone through. I lost my grandfather. I was in a car accident and got a concussion. My husband had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. He's fine now. I had a miscarriage after being told I couldn't get pregnant and getting pregnant. Three weeks after the miscarriage, we lost my father in law to cancer after a very short battle. And then three months almost to the day later, we lost my mother suddenly to a very short battle with cancer. And there are some other things that have happened. My father, he is still with us today. But every time that I've suffered a blow, I had a choice, I can fall flat on my face, I can crumble or I can flex my resilience muscle. You see, I've been strengthening my resilience muscle for at least five years knowingly. And over the last three years since learning my father was terminal, I've really ramped it up. And I'm going to share with you those secrets on how I strengthen those resilience muscles. So let me just start by defining what resilience is. I used to think resilience was the ability to bounce back after a difficult time, but bounce back to what so I've redefined resilience and resilience is the ability to bounce forward from a difficult situation. Alright, ready for the secrets. One, practice gratitude. There's actually science that proves that if you practice gratitude, every single day at the same time, and you list three things you're grateful for from the past 24 hours, and you do that for at least 21 days.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

You start seeing the world in a more positive way. I watched a Shawn a core video over five years ago. I thought this seems really simple. I opened up my phone I set a daily alarm to 9pm called it the gratitude alarm and it goes off every single day. If I'm at a party when parties come back, but before when parties existed, it would go off, all of us would stop overdoing and list what we're grateful for family events, we do that if I'm alone, my husband and I text, we practice gratitude every single day. So if you zoned out for the rest of my talk, because you're busy setting a gratitude alarm, I am grateful for that. Number two, fueling your body. Since addiction is genetic, and addiction is progressive learning about my dad's terminal illness really scared me. So I decided that I was going to stop drinking, and I had my last drink New Year's Eve, December 2018. Right before I received that letter from my father, I'm also really careful about how I fuel my mind and my body, I do what I can to make sure I'm eating healthy. I mean, I like milk does and candy corn, so you're gonna see me snack on those too. But I do what I can to fuel my body, I try and do what I can to fuel my mind. If I am suffering from an anxiety or depressive state. I don't watch toxic TV, I try to uplift myself and do what fuels me. Three, sleep and rest. Sleep is one of the most important things in the world. And it's kind of hard because you have anxiety if you don't get enough sleep. And sometimes you don't get enough sleep if you have anxiety. So what changes can you make to ensure that you're getting an adequate amount of sleep, I like to get eight hours of sleep, I figure out what time I need to get up. And then what time I need to go to bed. And my plans revolve around that. Yes, I've left parties. I've left meetings, I've left dinners, I've said no to many invitations, because sleep is so important to me. And if I don't get the amount of sleep and I feel tired, I rest I have had naps and backs of cars and on floors. You name it. I've slept there, I'm a really good sleeper, but rest and sleep is so important. For get outside in 1980, or in the 1980s the concept of forest bathing was created. It is proven to lower blood pressure, booster immune function and lower our anxiety and stress. So what I do is I make sure that I get outside every single day, whether it's for 10 minutes or for two hours, I breathe in the fresh air, I hug a tree I say hello to Mother Nature, put your screen away and get outside. And number five, tell your story. Don't keep it bottled up inside. People exist like therapists, social workers, counselors, you can get a journal you can share it with your friends and family. Talk about what's going on talk about your story, you know you are not alone. In fact, our area there are areas where you can share your story publicly like the I am resilient project, which is the community I created. So you can share and read stories of resilience to help you move through your challenges. This exists because every story deserves to be told, I believe that you should get your story out in the world. And if you're interested in having your story shared, you can head to I am resilient dot info, submit your story and it'll be published online. In fact, we're publishing our first book in November so you can head to our website and sign up to be on the list. So what we did was, we put a call out and stories came in from around the world. I'm talking around the world almost every continent, and we were flooded with stories for people overcoming their challenges, and it's so inspirational to read those stories. Know that you're not alone and that you are resilient. So who are you ready to forgive?