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Lessons from Turia Pitt: Turning Resilience into Results

Turia Pitt Resilience to Results

If there’s anything the last couple of years on the old Corona-coaster has taught us, it’s that we’re a pretty resilient bunch. We’ve navigated our way through a dictionary’s worth of pandemic buzzwords like outbreaks, lockdowns, home-schooling, pivots, unprecedented times and zoom malfunctions, and are finally seeing our way through the ‘new normal’. So how can we build on all that resilience we’ve amassed and set ourselves up for success? We thought we’d share some lessons from the epitome of resilience, the magnificent Turia Pitt.

Chances are you know who Turia Pitt is – whether from the current season of Celebrity Apprentice, or from her inspirational story of survival. But let me refresh your memory…

At the age of 24, Turia Pitt was super fit, ambitious, determined and happy. An athlete, volunteer paramedic and ex-model, with her high school sweetheart by her side and in her dream job as a mining engineer at the prestigious Argyle Diamond Mine, Turia well and truly had the world at her feet.

And then her world exploded. On 2nd September 2011, Turia was caught in a grassfire whilst competing in a 100km Ultramarathon and suffered horrific full-thickness burns to 65% of her body. She died three times on the operating table, was placed in a medically induced coma, had her left foot amputated and lost seven fingers. Turia miraculously defied the odds by surviving, but her battle had only just begun.

After 864 days and more than 200 operations, Turia was discharged from hospital with a full-body compression suit and mask that had to be worn 23 hours a day for the next two years. She had to relearn how to walk and how to feed herself, and was told she’d likely never run again.

But with ferocious determination and extraordinary resilience, Turia rewrote her story. In the 10 years since the grassfire, she’s authored three best-selling books, competed in the Ironman World Championships, trekked the Kokoda Trail, climbed the Great Wall of China, completed an MBA, become a sought-after motivational speaker, coached more than 40,000 people through her online digital courses and raised more than $1 million for Interplast – a charity that helps burn victims get reconstructive surgery. Oh, and she’s also welcomed two baby boys with partner Michael Hoskin! Quite the list of achievements for someone who wasn’t expected to survive her trauma, let alone thrive in its aftermath.

So what can we learn from Turia’s story?

Resilience will get you results. Our response to adversity, that mental reservoir of strength we tap into when the going gets tough, will determine what happens next when hardship strikes. The good news is that resilience, just like any other skill, can be developed.

In Turia’s words, “The only way we become resilient is by going through testing experiences. We’re not born with or without resilience. It’s not a genetic trait. It’s learned. Walking up that steep hill on the bush walk, when you could easily just turn back instead. Going back to uni to take on that Masters Degree, with your kids at home and a full-time job in tow. Pushing forward with your side hustle even when sales are slow and you’re tired and over it all. Paddling a canoe in the pouring rain. Doing the tough stuff makes you tougher.”

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has made us all tougher and more resilient. But if we want the results, we need to keep building our resilience – and we do that by continually pushing our limits and taking on new challenges.

Imagine if Turia had given up. No one would have blamed her – painful surgeries, gruelling rehabilitation, it’s hard to even imagine the mental fortitude it’s taken to get her to this point. But here we have another valuable lesson, and this one’s all about cultivating a resilient attitude rather than a victim mentality.

As Turia says, “The thing is, while bad days are inevitable, how we respond to them is not… when you’re faced with a bad day, choose to feel ‘brave’, ‘confident’ or ‘kind’ rather than ‘angry’, ‘annoyed’ or ‘disappointed’… A lot of what happens to us is outside our control. But how we feel, how we respond to a situation – that’s completely in our control. So, pick a way to feel that benefits you instead of playing victim to your challenge.”

Build your resilience with a positive attitude, confidence, compassion and optimism.

If there’s a key lesson to be learnt from Turia’s experience, it’s that we all have the power to build our capacity to cope when things go wrong. And when things do go wrong (which they will), it’s our attitude that will determine whether we collapse under the weight of it or thrive in the face of it. Turia summed it up best when she said, “A bad attitude is like a flat tyre, you can’t go anywhere until you change it.”


Turia Pitt’s inspirational story about overcoming adversity and never giving up will capture your heart and give you a new perspective on life. Her powerful message and incredible energy will have the audience on their feet, crying, laughing and ready to take on every challenge that lies ahead. If you’d like to talk to us about engaging Turia for your next event, simply get in touch with us for a chat.