When Life Knocks You Down, Remember These 6 Things About Bouncing Back

man and woman laughing together getty

When life knocks you down, how good are you at getting back up and trying again?

I believe the key to coming back from the big hits is resilience. And author, speaker, and resilience trainer Rodney Flowers is an expert at it.

RELATED: People With These 6 Personality Traits Have No Idea What Resilience Means


When life knocks you down, resilience is key to recovering.

Rodney Flowers has an inspiring story about the power of bouncing back, even when you aren't sure you can do it.

Rodney is living proof that when you focus on your capabilities instead of your limitations, you can overcome and accomplish anything. His story confirms that even if our darkest fears come true, they can lead to silver linings.

At the age of 15, Rodney was a rising star on his high-school football team with his sights set on the NFL. Then, in an instant, his entire life changed.

A career-ending injury in the first game of his sophomore year left him a quadriplegic with a 92-percent chance of remaining that way for the rest of his life.


After his diagnosis, Rodney remembers asking, “Why me? How can I live a productive life?”

He spent the next couple of years in deep sorrow. But over time, he started asking another question: "Why am I sad?"

Shifting identity and perspective in the face of tragedy.

The answer was that along with the injury, he lost his identity. His entire life revolved around football and that life was gone.

Once Rodney asked that first question, more came. How could he be impactful in the world? What could he do that was significant?

He knew he needed to shift his perspective, so he decided to beat the doctors’ odds. He realized that if he could challenge those odds and beat them, it would be bigger than his football career.


With his old identity gone, he was a clean slate. He had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He was free to create a new identity.

This became his purpose. 

A new purpose emerges.

Rodney’s goal was that he didn’t want to be taken care of his whole life. Walking was secondary.

But then he decided to go all in. He set goals to run, play sports again, write a book, speak, and help people overcome their own losses. The same way he devoted his life to football, he devoted his life to his new purpose.

It wasn’t easy. It took Rodney 18 years to get out of his wheelchair. But in the process, he finished school, went to college, and graduated with an MBA. Today, his mission is to be an example of what’s possible.


Rodney found the key to bouncing back — resilience. He believes if you focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do, you’ll be on the path to finding your resilience, too.

Here are 6 things you need to know about getting back up when life knocks you down.

1. Take time to recover.

Before anything else, take care of yourself. Rodney sees this as a fundamental activity.

Take a break and let yourself heal. While losing in life can be painful, it also gives us a chance to learn and grow. By taking time to heal, you can reassess what’s important to you before you move on.

RELATED: How To Accept & Cope With Uncomfortable Change (During Times Of Crisis)


2. Change your perception.

In order to think about your next steps, you need to adjust how you perceive the situation.

There will always be opposition and resistance in your life. We all have that in common. The difference is how you perceive and manage it.

Who are you going to be, despite the obstacles you face?


3. Recognize your limitations.

We all have limitations in life, some more than others. Don’t ignore your weaknesses — recognize them. Then, refuse to let them define you.

4. Focus on your strengths.

What are you good at? What do you love to do?

Your gifts and desires that motivate and renew your energy are your strengths. Shift your focus to your strengths, and you’ll be able to overcome your limitations.

5. Be real with yourself.

In this process, it’s important to remain authentic. Don’t ignore what you need to work on.

Once you know where you need to improve you can take action. This is resilience at its deepest level.


Get back to the real you. Not the one your family, friends, or work created. Strip it all away and find out who you are.

6. Practice mindfulness.

Your mind may seem full, but you’re rarely mindful.

Raise your awareness when it comes to what you think about. Then make an effort to focus on what builds you up. You can’t create a new vision if you’re looking at things the way you always have.

Rodney’s story is powerful. So is yours.

With the right tools, you can find resilience and bounce back, no matter what life brings your way.

RELATED: How To Turn Your Trauma Into Something Meaningful

Hilary DeCesare is the Founder and CEO of The ReLaunch Co. She’s appeared on ABC’s The Secret Millionaire and on major news outlets, such as CBS, ABC, Fox, Huffington Post, and Yahoo, and offers several ReLaunch courses and coaching. To connect with her directly or for media requests please email hello@therelaunchco.com.