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From struggle to opportunity : How reframing your mindset can transform your life
By Christine Staple Ebanks

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Have you ever found inspiration in unexpected places? I know I certainly have. Sometimes, it’s in the midst of the struggles we face that we discover our inner strength, resilience and determination. During these tough times, we learn to see things from a different perspective, find creative solutions to our problems and appreciate the small blessings in life.

I will never forget when my fourth child was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia while I was still pregnant. It was overwhelming, and fear and uncertainty filled me. Looking back, however, I find inspiration in the strength and resilience my family discovered during that challenging time. When my baby was born, the experience was intense and traumatic, but the support of our loved ones helped us find hope and comfort.

At nine months old, we received another diagnosis—cerebral palsy. I struggled with guilt, fear and uncertainty about my identity as a parent and a person for years. The diagnosis was difficult to pronounce and understand, and I felt lost. But with time, I learned to lean on my support system and embrace the journey ahead with compassion and strength.

It wasn’t until my son was two and a half years old that I had a turning point that helped me see problems as opportunities. Instead of seeing obstacles as something to avoid or overcome, I began to view them as chances for growth and new possibilities. By reframing my mindset, I discovered new solutions and transformed my life.

I realized that every problem presents an opportunity to learn, adapt and make positive changes. I also found companions who had been through similar experiences, which made me feel less alone on my journey. Ultimately, I learned to see my journey as a gift and regained control of my life.

From my experiences, I want to share three lessons that helped me along the way.

Lesson #1 – Reframe your mindset

When faced with challenges, it’s important to remember that you can change your situation. One way to do this is by shifting your mindset. We can develop greater resilience, creativity and problem-solving skills by focusing on opportunities for growth and joy in every struggle. This mindset can also help us find greater meaning and purpose. Some questions we can ask ourselves are: How can reframing our mindset help us find meaning and purpose in our lives? How can we identify our values and passions and use them to create a more fulfilling life? Overall, shifting our mindset to focus on opportunities for growth and joy within every struggle can lead to a more positive and fulfilling life, and help us find meaning and purpose in the challenge.

Lesson #2 – Cultivate gratitude

It’s important to regularly reflect on the positives in your life and practice gratitude. When we live in gratitude, we tend to be more positive, happier and more content with our lives. It helps us to find meaning in our experiences, to be more compassionate and empathetic towards others and to cultivate stronger relationships. Living in gratitude can transform our mental, emotional and physical well-being. One tip for cultivating a grateful attitude, even amid difficulty, is to keep a gratitude journal. By writing down things you are grateful for, even the small stuff, you can help yourself focus on the positive aspects of your life. Write down at least three things you are thankful for each day.

Lesson #3 – Ask for help

This lesson emphasizes the importance of seeking help when facing challenges. It’s not something to be ashamed of and doing so can give us the support and resources we need to improve our situation. No matter how difficult a problem may seem, there is often a solution, and asking for help can help us find it. Additionally, seeking help can make us feel less isolated in our struggles, and talking to someone who has gone through a similar experience can help us feel understood and supported.

Finding inspiration in difficult situations is not always easy, but it can have numerous benefits. Doing so can help you build resilience, creativity, perspective and empathy. By looking for sources of inspiration amid your struggles, you can find the strength and motivation to overcome your challenges and emerge stronger on the other side. Additionally, finding inspiration in difficult situations may lead to growth and new personal and professional opportunities.

I would love to hear from you. Please send me an email at Also, connect with me on social media @raisingspecialneeds.

Until next time.

Christine Staple Ebanks is an experienced special needs parent advocate, researcher and educator who is deeply committed to domestic and international disability advocacy. With her strong passion and drive, Christine founded the Nathan Ebanks Foundation (Jamaica) and Raising Special Needs Inc. (U.S.) to help families and communities create more inclusive and supportive environments for children with disabilities. Through her engaging writing, inspiring speaking, and insightful consulting, Christine has worked closely with parents, governments and professionals across various human service settings in Jamaica and Dominica to ensure that every child with a disability has the opportunity to thrive. She holds a Master of Science in Human Services specializing in leadership and organizational management from Capella University.

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