Have you heard about Leigh Sales’s new book? Any Ordinary Day is about the ABC TV host’s experiences in going from what she describes as a ‘charmed life’ to a string of crises that have left her feeling fearful about the future.
First her uterus tore when she was pregnant with her second child, resulting in a rush to hospital as this can be fatal for both mother and child; six weeks later they were back in hospital as her baby son had viral meningitis; a couple of weeks after that staff at her day-care centre noticed that her two-year-old had tremors in his hands – after many tests, they still don’t know why; then she and her 20-year partner divorced; and then her father died…
As a result Leigh was constantly ‘braced for further bad news’. Being a journalist, she began to research experts on traumatic life events and interview people whose lives had been touched by tragedy. She discovered the phenomenon of ‘post-traumatic growth’, where people who had been through some kind of crisis or tragedy come out of it stronger.
Naturally I’m interested in this because of the alignment with the messages in my books. Both The Mastery Club and The Hidden Order address the benefits of dark times, be they greater resilience or empathy or patience or whatever.
But listening to a conversation on Radio National the other day between four people who had been through some sort of traumatic experience, I was fascinated that one of the women rejected the idea of resilience even though that was clearly what she had demonstrated in her life. She could relate to the expression ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ but she claimed that she ‘hated’ the word resilience. And yet resilience is what we develop as a result of feeling the fear and doing it anyway…
So I just wanted to jump up and down for a moment and say, ‘Let’s not reject good, important words or ideas just because they’ve become popular!’ ‘Resilience’ may be a buzzword but it simply means the capacity to recover from difficulties, which is surely valuable to all of us.
Funny how life events occur in threes or around a theme, isn’t it? Several events occurred for me in rapid succession on this theme: I was interviewed on the topic of bouncing back after significant life change in your 50s; I heard the radio interview in which ‘resilience’ was rejected; I read the article about Leigh Sales and post-traumatic growth; and then I had an early-morning rush to hospital with my own little crisis…
My interview was with Diana Todd-Banks, host of the Mature-Preneurs Talk Podcast. Diana was looking for people 50+ who have been through a major life change, whether business-related or personal – the sort of life change that throws you for six. I contacted her and we spent half an hour last week talking about the upheaval in my life after I wrote ’that book’ and a new man came into my life, turning it upside down.
You can listen to our conversation via Stitcher, iTunes and libsyn. [Episode Info: 'To say Liliane’s midlife turning point was an unusual one is an understatement…'] Diana asks that you please subscribe if you would like it to comment.
To read the Sydney Morning Herald article about Leigh Sales, click here.
Photo courtesy Visual Hunt