Embracing the lessons in life’s toughest moments

Nathalie Vallières Martin

Living a purposeful and positive life is a journey that’s both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because adversity and struggle can’t be ignored, no matter how much we’d like to, and rewarding because we find ways to grow despite them. 

Change is constant

As someone who has navigated significant personal and professional trials, I now understand that positivity is not just a state of mind, it’s a way of life — a choice we make every day.

That choice isn’t always easy.

The pandemic brought a slew of challenges that tested my resilience as an entrepreneur. The decline in my consulting business was a major blow both financially and emotionally. It was during this period of uncertainty that I learned a crucial lesson: change, although uncomfortable, is the only constant, and adapting to it is vital for growth.

Life as an entrepreneur is fraught with uncertainties and setbacks. Each challenge I’ve faced has taught me to be more adaptable, to think creatively, and to stay focused on my goals despite the hurdles.

Instead of viewing setbacks as failures, I began to see them as opportunities for learning and growth. This shift in mindset transformed the way I approached challenges, turning them into stepping stones toward success.

Memories are powerful tools for healing

Amidst the professional challenges of the pandemic, I faced two profound personal losses. 

My grandfather’s death in 2021 was heartbreaking. He was a pillar of strength and wisdom in my life, and his absence left a void. In reminiscing about the moments spent with him, I found solace — his teachings, stories, and the unconditional love he had showered upon me became a source of strength.

The following year brought another devastating blow — the death of one of my best friends. The traumatic experience of finding his body is etched in my memory, and led to a period of deep sorrow and confusion. Yet, in this darkness, I began to cherish the times we’d spent together — the laughter, the conversations, and the bond we’d shared. I found myself smiling through tears, feeling his presence in the little things around me.

Through these experiences I developed what I call a “heavenly relationship” with my loved ones who have passed away. It’s a unique bond that transcends the physical world — a connection that brings comfort and a sense of their perpetual presence in my life.

Avoid toxic positivity

In challenging times, suggesting that someone simply stay positive can inadvertently diminish their genuine struggles. Rather than advocating for “good vibes only,” a more compassionate approach involves offering a steadying hand through the turmoil.

True strength emerges not from masking our feelings with forced smiles, but from feeling genuinely supported and understood. This understanding has deepened my perspective on resilience. It’s not about ignoring the pain or the reality of our situations, but finding strength in the support and love of those around us.

Staying connected with supportive people — building and nurturing relationships with those who inspire, encourage, and believe in me — has been instrumental in my journey. 

Find joy 

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of ambitions and goals, but I’ve learned to pause, breathe, and appreciate the beauty in the mundane — a quiet evening, the aroma of morning coffee, a heartfelt conversation with a friend. These joyful moments, though small, have immense power to uplift the spirit.

Practicing gratitude is another key element in living a positive life. It has helped me focus on what I have, rather than what I lack, and has brought a sense of contentment and peace, even during chaos.

Helping others has also been a source of joy and fulfillment. Volunteering, lending a helping hand, or just being there for someone in need has enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined. It has given me a sense of purpose and a deeper connection with my community.

In essence, living a positive and purposeful life is about finding balance. It’s about embracing joys and sorrows, cherishing memories, building resilience, and maintaining connections. Each challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become a more compassionate and empathetic person.


The honest talk