I was gutted the night I heard there’d be another lock-down, one that was going to hit us here in Auckland really hard. I heard the news on the car radio as I was driving home from the launch of my latest book ‘Women Behaving Courageously: How gutsy women, young and old are transforming the world’ hosted by Poppies bookshop in Howick.
The book-launch had been a bit of a disaster. We had been expecting around 20/25 people. Sadly we held it the day of a torrential Auckland downpour, so in the end only 8 people got to the event. Bummer. People were frantically texting me saying ‘we’re stuck in a wall of traffic’ or ‘we’re stuck in surface flooding’ or even – ‘sorry – weather so horrible we’ve decided not to come out tonight’. Ahhhh.
And then I heard about the lock-down. You see I had a LARGE book launch booked for the 20th August smack in the middle of the stay at home orders. The wine was in the chiller and the cheeses and chocolates were all safely hidden away from me at a neighbour’s house and now my second launch was going to be cancelled. Bummer take 2.
Or was it bummer take 2?
Let me explain. Many, many years ago I trained as a counsellor, and at some stage of counselling a person through a marriage break-up or a bankruptcy, we were taught to ask the question ‘What’s good about this?’ Needless to say, it was a question you asked very carefully because we knew that reactions would vary from stunned silence that you even dared ask such a question to be followed in short order by dire rage or floods of tears.
So what was good about my first book launch when hardly anyone managed to get there?
- It let me practice my presentation in front of a lovely small audience.
- It let us have a heartfelt discussion about ‘women behaving courageously’ and how to do that in all manner of scary situations women sometimes find themselves in. I wouldn’t have been able to have such intimate discussions in a larger audience.
How could it be good that I had to indefinitely cancel my BIG launch? I’d paid for books to be delivered, I’d invested in wine, and cheese and chocolates and my opportunity to recoup that outlay was now gone for the immediate future.
What was good was that THE BOOKS I HAD ORDERED FOR THE BIG LAUNCH GOT STUCK SOMEWHERE BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND and I wouldn’t have had any books to sell anyway! On the day prior to the big launch I would probably have been having a coronary to boot.
So what’s the lesson in my sad, sad story?
- Sometimes the worst that can happen turns out to be the best thing that can happen.
- Occasionally, we get stuck in comfort zones and need a Mack truck to shake us out of our complacency – the virus and lock-downs are such a Mack truck!
- Now and then the business we are in, turns out to be a business we shouldn’t be in.
- Often losing the job we’ve been holding on to, which has just vanished, opens an opportunity to retrain and do something we’ve always wanted to do.
S##t happens to all of us. I know that in the big scheme of things two little book launches are not really so important; not when you compare that with small businesses having to close and people losing their jobs, but we have to find a way to keep going. We have to find a way to feed our families; pay the mortgage and stay sane while the tidal wave of uncertainty swirls around us. NOT doing that is the road to stress and depression. Please don’t choose that path.
Whenever I’m in the middle of a tidal wave (and I’ve survived a few) – this is one of my favourite quotes, it has saved my sanity on numerous occasions. I’m sure I’ve shared it before, but I am delighted to share it again:
‘When you come to the edge of the light that you know and are about to step out into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid to stand on OR you will be taught to fly.’ – Elizabeth Kubler Ross
And you WILL be taught to fly again.
PS: You can purchase a copy of the book here OR from Poppies in Howick. It would be great if you could support a local business.
Ann Andrews CSP
Speaker, author, profiler, Life Member NSANZ