browse my free resources!

The Secret to Resilience: Have Faith, Confront Reality

Admiral James Stockdale from the US Navy was shot down in Vietnam in 1965.

He then spent over 7 years as the most senior naval officer in the infamous Hanoi Hilton (the North Vietnamese prison for American Prisoners of War).

He was tortured repeatedly – including having his leg broken twice.

He also deliberately slit his own scalp with a razor to disfigure himself so he could avoid being paraded in public by his captors…

…and when they covered his head with a hat, he beat his own face with a stool until he was unrecognisable.

Stockdale photographed a few weeks before becoming a POW

He was finally freed in 1973 – and he and his wife published a book about their experiences both as a POW, and as the family waiting at home.

Some time after this, he met management guru Jim Collins, who had read this book and been appalled by the hardships that Stockdale had suffered.

Collins asked Stockdale about his time there, and who were the prisoners that coped least well.

Stockdale replied,

Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’

And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go.

And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.

This is a very important lesson.

You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

This is the Stockdale Paradox: you have to both have faith, and also to confront reality.

And those individuals (and organisations) that can genuinely do this, are the ones that will succeed.

This resonated with me very strongly.

When I was recovering from chronic fatigue, I played George Michael’s “Faith” every morning to remind myself to have faith that I could get better.

But at the same time, I never lost sight of the fact that my cure was totally in my hands:

if I didn’t do the consistent work to re-wire my brain, I would stay stuck with my Imposter,

Perfectionist, Superwoman thoughts – and stuck ill.

So, have faith in yourself!

Have faith in your goals, and the process you’ve defined to get you there.

Don’t be afraid to confront the barriers or challenges you have in your way.

If you are brave and do this honestly, it will give you the information you need so you can take the best possible action to get the results you want.

Wishing you a positive, productive and Nakedly Confident day 😊🔥💪

with much love 💖

Kirsten xx

Kirsten Goodwin

The Naked Confidence™ Coach

Hired to help female leaders feeling the pain and pressure of their position. Transforming your Mindset AND Skillset 🔥 Banish your Imposter, and find your way, your confidence, & your edge.

Keep reading!

Kirsten Goodwin

Hi, I’m Kirsten Goodwin

I’m an expert in helping struggling, professional women banish their Imposter Syndrome and build the Mindset & Skillset for leadership success.  I do this by

Read More
Kirsten Goodwin | Naked Confidence Coach

Is this the magic question?

One of the most common mistakes we make – as the hard-working delivery-focussed leaders we are – is to keep our heads down and keep

Read More