Drawing ‘Resilience’ Out of a Hat

How an assignment in 8th grade affected the rest of my life!

Kelley J Cochran
5 min readMar 11, 2020
Photo by erica steeves on Unsplash

I feel I had a pretty great childhood. I was the daughter of a general contractor and a retail manager. I was the second child of four kids. I was born in Colorado, where I lived in incredible Breckenridge until I was six, then we moved to Tampa, Florida. Both amazing places.

Other than wrecking a bike on the gutters, or chasing our wild, escape artist pet husky on the golf course, or the random eight-foot water moccasin in the back yard that Grandpa had to kill with just a shovel, we really didn’t have any issues growing up.

Then, in 8th grade, my teacher gave our class a project where we all had to draw one character trait out of a hat, and write do a report on what that trait means. I remember being the last one to draw and watched people’s happy faces as they drew “leadership”, “integrity”, and “strength”. I thought, “What am I going to be left with? All of the good ones have been drawn!” Then it was my turn… I reached my hand into the hat and drew out my trait…


What is that?” I thought silently. I had never even heard of that word, and let me remind you, this was not the days of the world wide web. I wasn’t able to grab a handheld device that could bring me instant…



Kelley J Cochran

🦋🙏❤️ GRIT Goddess | Resilience Expert | Passionately Positive | Motivational Writer | Creative Designer 🌿🏠🦊