This week’s episode focuses on resiliency, or mental strength. Following tragic losses in her life, Amy Morin LCSW wrote a list to remind herself how to keep going. Shared on lifehacker, the list went viral, then flooded Forbes. Amy’s worldwide best-selling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, gives us all simple lessons in resiliency in a world where adversity can leave us feeling alienated..
Amy’s life was going along pretty well. When Amy was 22, her mother, in her early 50’s, suddenly died of a brain aneurism. No one expects their parents to die so young. On the 3rd anniversary of her mother’s death, Amy lost her 26 year old husband who died of a heart attack. As Amy put the pieces of her life together, she found a way to honor her young husband’s memory. Every year on his birthday, she would get together with his family and participate in life-affirming experiences. Sometimes they were adventurous trips, other times, they were more subdued, but they always made it fun and didn’t wallow in his loss. They found a way to see through the pain of the loss to celebrate his life and theirs.
A few years later, Amy found love again and remarried, however tragedy struck yet again. Her father-in-law was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. She was then faced with the anticipation of the loss of someone else she was close to – as well as the anticipation of having to help her new husband cope with the loss of his parent. The pain she, of course, knew all too well. This is when Amy decided she was really going to have to pull from all the mental strength she could find.
Amy initially wrote the original list of “13 Things…” for herself. She speaks of doing it as a reminder to herself of how to successfully cope. She was working as a therapist and was good at helping others find their mental strength, but she discovered that focusing on what to do worked for a while, but she found “not so healthy” habits creeping in to sabotage her. The list helped her understand that she would/could survive these losses.
Believing others might benefit from the list, she posted the article on Lifehacker.org, where it went viral within a few hours and shut the page down! It was then re-posted on several other sites, including Forbes.com where it set a record at over 10 million views! To this day, it is still one of their most viral posts.
Following all this web attention, Amy was approached by Harper Collins Publishing House and asked to turn the list into a book which went on to become a bestseller. I think many people related to her story of strength and perseverance and found her advice practical and actionable.
Amy Morin’s “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” has a refreshing approach on how to overcome struggle and, in her case, multiple losses. Amy’s list resonates with many of us I believe because collectively we have been focusing on what we “should do”.
When we don’t do what we are “supposed to do to be healthy”, we end up feeling like a failure.
However, Amy’s list focuses on “what not to do”. Such a refreshing and empowering way of thinking. The international success of Amy Morin’s book highlights a common thread that affects us all, and Amy is providing us all with a concise solution set that transcends cultural or ideological boundaries.
Listen to the podcast to find out more, or read the companion article at CoachingThroughChaos.com.
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do @Amazon.com