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KerryOn: What do we do when we fall?

When our kids were little, my husband and I made a conscious decision to create independent children. This meant we were diligent in the way we approached success and failure with each of them. We wanted them to be able to overcome adversity. We practiced finding ways to help them cope when things were difficult, to offer support as they learned to support themselves.


During a party at a friend’s house, I was sitting on the backyard patio when my two-year old daughter fell down. She got up slowly with big tears in her eyes and came running toward me. I looked at her lovingly, gave her a kiss on the forehead and asked her, “What do we do when we fall?” As she wiped away her tears she said with a tremble, “We get back up.” I gave her a hug and after a brief moment she was off, giggling and running with the other kids once again.

The people at the table were in awe and full of questions. I told them my husband and I wanted to teach our kids early in life that it was important to get up when we fall. At some point in our lives we will fall, not physically, but in ways we can’t imagine. What do we do when we fall? We get back up.


A decade later. My husband and I had a difficult night. We struggled with an apparent discrepancy of values within our community. We spent most of the evening discussing how we move forward – metaphorically, we fell. With hardly any sleep, I stepped out of my bedroom to get ready for work when my daughter looked at me with concern. Now the same height as me, she walked over, gave me a hug and asked, “What do we do when we fall, mom?”


We get back up.


Being resilient doesn’t mean we won’t have setbacks. The fall will vary for each of us depending on our situation and circumstance. The degree in which we fall will influence what “getting up” looks like.


And here’s another thing. The world seems designed to bring us down.


If we get knocked down, we build on our past experiences of getting up. This strengthens our resilience… It’s about creating spaces where we know we may have setbacks and yet, we get back up. What do we do when we fall? We get back up.

Special Note: This KerryOn was adapted from Leadership Legacy: Discover, Create, Live Your Best Life! By Kerry K. Fierke, Ed.D.  Available at your favorite book shop.

KerryOn Questions

What do you do when you fall?

- What have you done to get back up?  

- How can you create spaces where you know you may have setbacks and yet, you get back up?

The Kerry behind KerryOn

My name is Kerry K. Fierke, Ed.D. (pron. Fear-Key) I have a unique combination of skills and experience – decades of fast-paced corporate experience in Fortune 100 companies and large health care organizations, combined with the academic rigor of a highly ranked research university. My focus is supporting others to create their own path to leadership development, lifelong learning, and a unique leadership legacy. Take a moment to focus on leadership, then KerryOn!

To see all KerryOn's and other leadership stuff, visit

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