“The only time we really, really innovate is when we have come up against some sort of block; it’s when we come up against adversity.”
Terry Hawkins, who spoke with Project Leap presenters Meredith Papas and Tara Jacobsen-Neven during a Special Edition of their podcast this week, has had to reinvent herself time and again. As a poor little girl, growing up amid hardship and abuse, the now world-renowned and top ranking speakers has a simple outlook on life:
“If it all falls apart, I’ll just start again”.
It has been a central philosophy in her journey to resilience. And it’s that which she plans to share with The Whitsundays community.
When it comes to community resilience, the same principles as with personal resilience generally apply.
That is why Terry is speaking to business people and community leaders in The Whitsundays this Saturday. It’ll be a year on from the devastation wreaked on the North Queensland region by Cyclone Debbie.
Still, there are people in this community – as well as some a little ways south in the western reaches of Mackay – who are yet to rebuild.
Whether it’s because of the sheer scale of damage or the fact insurance companies are yet to pay out, there remain many people who are either displaced, facing a broken livelihood or both.
That said, Terry Hawkins plans to talk tough. Well, not too tough, but her message will be a wake up call.
“Everything we go through, everything in my life so far has been phenominal for where I am right now,” she says.
And the same applies to everyone.
The key, Terry says, is in knowing what opportunity looks like and making a conscious decision to grab that with both hands.
“Decide where you want to be – as a person, as a business and as a community,” she says.
“Make yourselves available to whatever shows up. There are endless opportunities.”
Terry will also bear a bit of tough love.
“There’s no magical story. Just get started.
“Shut up and get on with it.”
She says this kind of trauma doesn’t only happens once. And, we all know it’ll happen again.
“So the sooner we can be like ‘it is what it is’, and know that this will happen again, then we can be more open to taking what comes and working with that.
“The more we keep reliving it; the more we think of it; the more we let it occupy our thoughts, then we are allowing it to go on and on.
“We cannot get caught up in the victim mentality.”
North Queenslanders are a tough and resilient mob. And Terry knows that.
But sometimes, everyone needs a bit of a reminder.