Skip to content

Learning Resilience: From Neglect to Empowerment – EP. 123

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Resilience is a learned behavior. This is a story of hope and resilience. Author, coach, and Arctic expedition guide, Heather Thorkelson joins us to talk about growing up wealthy but severely neglected. This is a story about learned resilience and finding the strength you need from within. The Brave Files Podcast with Heather Vickery.

RESILIENCE • SELF-BELIEF • TENACITY

Heather Thorkelson

Top Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Resilience isn’t always something you are born with, but that’s ok. This is a learnable skill!
  • You’re not stuck. Your past, your weaknesses, and failures don’t define you.
  • You have everything you need to change your situation.
  • Do the things that you’re excited about! No one has to live a life designed by someone else.

Show Notes:

Life isn’t easy. 

This isn’t a statement many people would expect from someone born into privilege.  

Heather Thorkelson,  born into an upper-middle-class Canadian family, says her life's story is one that reminds us that children can be neglected regardless of socio-economic status. This is often overlooked or forgotten. If you’re one of these children, Heather wants you to know you can find a way out. You are strong! When you survive a traumatic childhood, you build powerful resilience.

Generally, when you hear of neglected children, you think of children in economically challenged communities, or perhaps children in families where addiction is prevalent. Neglect, however, is multifaceted. Heather reminds us that neglect can be physical, emotional, or relational and that she experienced all three.

Neglect can take many forms

At the age of 10, Heather Thorkelson’s parents got divorced and she (sadly) became completely estranged from her mother.  Her mother, who was a stay at home mom, didn’t have any resources and consequently lost custody of all her children to their sociopathic father.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Heather’s father moved her and her sisters to Costa Rica when she was 14. At this point, they were completely cut off from all extended family. And it didn't just stop there. Later, she was completely cut off from her sisters and even lifelong friends. Her loneliness was extreme and a devastatingly negative impact on her mental health.

As a kid, Heather was shy, highly introverted, and often sick with stomach aches. For anyone who has experienced neglect, abuse, or trauma – – you may already know that physical symptoms like a bellyache are often a manifestation of our emotional and mental pain. She suffered a lot of anxiety which lasted well into adulthood. 

Living in ‘survival mode’

Heather says she and her sisters were always in ‘survival mode.’ Especially around their father. The girls had to learn survival skills in order to endure their traumatic childhood.

In the end, Heather essentially raised herself because her father was an airline pilot who was mostly absent. She was alone in Costa Rica and even worse, she didn’t speak Spanish.

With the passing of years, Heather has realized she had no choice but to choose herself and to show up for herself. Nobody else was going to. But this wasn’t extremely apparent as a child.

Belonging nowhere

Eventually, Heather returned to Canada to attend university. Unfortunately, while there she went into a deep depression. Perhaps from some form of cultural shock. As it turned out, Heather didn’t fit anywhere. She was a foreigner in her own country and was unable to relate to others on campus. As a result, she only stayed at university for two years.

Once she decided to move on, Heather headed to Japan. The was a bold move considering she had no friends or family there, no place to stay and no job lined up! Somehow she managed to pick up a crappy job and continue to save some money. And, as she always had – – Heather survived and even began learning to thrive.

No longer a victim

At some point, Heather realized that she couldn’t change her past. She couldn’t change her father and she realized her only hope for surviving depending solely on herself! So she decided to no longer stay in victim mode. She would figure things out. She would do bold, scary things, and start living her own life on her own terms. Reassuring herself, day after day,  that she would be fine. 

Now, officially determined not to allow the mistakes or poor choices of her parents dictate and ruin her life! 

Good choice Heather!

Resilience is a learned behavior

After earning some financial stability, Heather decided to get out of her corporate job and try something different – – Coaching. She used her resilience skills to create the life and business of her dreams.

In time, Heather had a roster of clients from across the globe. She’s even added international retreats into the mix and has been helping established, high achieving entrepreneurs up-level their businesses and learn to be more resilient.

Her primary business, NO PLAN B, is a coaching and consulting business for incurable entrepreneurs like herself, those who can’t bear to work for others and are self-sufficient. 

Resilience is a learned behavior. This is a story of hope and resilience. Author, coach, and Arctic expedition guide, Heather Thorkelson joins us to talk about growing up wealthy but severely neglected. This is a story about learned resilience and finding the strength you need from within. The Brave Files Podcast with Heather Vickery.

A surprising turn of events

Eventually, after meeting the man who would become her husband via a Polar expedition, Heather built her second company, Twin Tracks ExpeditionsThe company is founded with her husband and his twin brother who are both polar expedition leaders. A polar expedition guide, herself, she and her partners take up to 12 people to the Arctic to go see all the cool stuff at the poles. 

In all honesty, Heather is a resilient risk-taker! She shares that the more you take risks, the more uncertainty you live with. However, there is bravery in the smallest acts and you can’t truly grow without taking risks. Resilience, which is a learned behavior, is a key factor in success and Heather is a master at picking her self up and pushing through life’s obstacles.

Her brand new book called “No Plan B”  will be out this fall. The book speaks directly to how one becomes an entrepreneur that makes real change in the world. And if you're an entrepreneur interested in an incredible meeting of the mind's retreat, keep your eye's peeled because Heather Thorkelson and our host, Heather Vickery, are planning something very big and exciting for 2022!!

Resilience is a learned behavior. This is a story of hope and resilience. Author, coach, and Arctic expedition guide, Heather Thorkelson joins us to talk about growing up wealthy but severely neglected. This is a story about learned resilience and finding the strength you need from within. The Brave Files Podcast with Heather Vickery.

 

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT!

Giving is Good:

As an entrepreneur herself, Heather knows the importance of funding in any business. As such, she supports Kiva, a non-profit that supports and empowers women with micro-loans so they can start their businesses and become financially free.

Kiva’s Mission

They do this by crowdfunding loans and unlocking capital for the underserved, improving the quality and cost of financial services, and addressing the underlying barriers to financial access around the world. Through Kiva’s work, students can pay for tuition, women can start businesses, farmers are able to invest in equipment and families can afford needed emergency care.

Resilience is a learned behavior. This is a story of hope and resilience. Author, coach, and Arctic expedition guide, Heather Thorkelson joins us to talk about growing up wealthy but severely neglected. This is a story about learned resilience and finding the strength you need from within. The Brave Files Podcast with Heather Vickery.
A FEW OTHER EPISODES WE THINK YOU'LL ENJOY
The Brave Files is supported by:
libro.fm audiobooks

By choosing Libro.fm over other audiobook services, you support a local bookstore of your choice—and invest in your local community. They offer over 150,000 audiobooks via their premium platform (which was built with love from scratch) and give you bookseller recommendations for great audiobooks.

Proceeds from audiobooks purchased through Libro.fm are shared with your local bookstore. Your community sees 25% more money when you shop locally rather than at a national chain. More of your tax dollars are also reinvested into your community and you help create more local jobs because local businesses, bookstores included, are better at creating higher-paying jobs within the community.

Buying local is also better for the environment because it means less packaging and less transportation. Plus, digital audiobooks have an even smaller carbon footprint.

Purchasing your audiobooks from Libro.fm helps you nurture your community’s uniqueness! Local bookstores curate their selection based on what they know their community members are interested in. When you buy from local booksellers, you are participating in the conversation that shapes your local culture.

Grab your Free Trial and FREE Audio Book Now!

For you, the listeners of The Brave Files podcast, Libro.fm is offering a free audiobook with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Give it a try now!

About Your Host:
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery
Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner and global leader with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment by helping them leverage their fear into intentional bravery. Heather says “When we choose bravely, on purpose, we choose bigger, have bigger successes and it’s contagious” A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, mindfulness, as well as countless systems, strategies, and boundaries. She’s the author of Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus and Grow Grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Kids and Families. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.
Receive the Brave Journey Newsletter?