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Monday, May 25, 2020
Emmy-Winning TV Anchor Pens Great Book On Resilience
Powerful New Book By Emmy-Winning TV Anchor Encourages Resilience In The Face Of Adversity
Job Loss or Career Change. Health challenges. Financial struggles. The county is undergoing an enormous challenge, on so many levels, because of the pandemic. But there is a resource to help the nation recover.
A new book, This is Not the End: Strategies to Get You Through the Worst Chapters of Your Life (Morgan James Publishing, Trade Paper, 140 pages $14.95; ISBN: 978-1-6-4279-806-7), provides an insightful roadmap for anyone who has suffered a moment that threatens to define who they are, making them feel that life simply will never be the same.
How do you overcome adversity, trauma, change, or life-altering moments? How resilient, optimistic, or empowered are you to find a way to live with a significant negative event and meet the challenges and opportunities posed by it?
“While today may be a miserable part of a really crappy chapter in your life,” says author Nina Sossamon-Pogue, “This is Not the End helps you see that your life is not ruined. You’re just in a tough plot twist, and better days are ahead.”
Nina (https://ninasossamonpogue.com/) knows firsthand, having experienced a number of life-changing events that could have permanently put her on a dangerous path. She has managed to live a successful and happy life despite suffering some setbacks and unexpected events.
Nina, since age 5, defined herself as a gymnast. On the United States Gymnastics Team with Mary Lou Retton, her dreams got derailed when she fell short of competing in the 1984 Olympics. As a highly recruited NCAA gymnast, her aspirations were crushed by a career-ending injury. But that didn’t stop her.
She went on to pursue a career in journalism. After being named Charleston’s Favorite Newscaster for seven straight years, she lost her job due to budget cuts. But that didn’t stop her.
Nina also got divorced in her mid-30’s and was suddenly a single mom of two. But that didn’t stop her.
She landed at another TV station and went on to win the Emmy for Best News Anchor in the Southeast. But while at the home of her co-anchor, a horrible accident happened. She ran over her colleague’s 10-month old baby, crushing the boy’s skull. Miraculously, he lived and made a full recovery. The event left her flirting with self-sabotaging and suicidal thoughts. But that didn’t stop her.
Nina, who is promoted by the PR firm that I work for, provides strategies and insights on how anyone can get through the worst chapters of their life.
“No matter what has happened, author your own script,” says Nina. “Losing the big game. Getting fired. Suffering an embarrassing event. Suffering an accident, injury or illness. Dealing with the fallout of Covid-19. Bad things happen whether you are the victim, or the cause of them. You are the author of your life story. All the pages ahead are still blank. Your choices and the words you use will become your story. You can choose the words you are ok with other people repeating when they talk about THIS. You get to choose to share as much, or as little as you want. You control the conversation and your emotions. Failure, loss or adversity often comes before achievement and fulfillment. You get to determine that whatever has happened, this is not the end.”
Below is a Q & A with Nina:
1. Nina, what inspired you to write This is Not the End? Two things: (1) I remember standing in a bookstore searching for something to speak to me when I felt like my life was over. There were lots of big psych books, PTSD workbooks, and other people’s stories or books on cognitive behavior, stoic philosophy and faith. They were too much. I needed a quick read with simple language to tell me what to do. That’s the book I’ve written. (2) Over the years I’ve mentored many young people and become the go-to when friends, family or co-workers are struggling. I realized my experience, my stories, and all the books and the research I read, added up to something special. I could help people outside of my direct circle if I organized those thoughts. I also wanted to be sure my college kids, and people close to me, would know how to get through tough times if I wasn’t there to help.
2. How can one get past a life-changing event when the event seems so significant? It took several chapters to share ‘how’ in my book, but my Chapter Six thinking about ‘life is long’ is the key. You see, a life-changing event is just that - it is one event, in the long timeline that is a full life. So, doing the math—and putting an event in perspective—resets your thinking. For instance, when a college athlete suffers a career-ending injury, their sport has been about 80 percent of their whole life. So, it feels like they’re losing EVERYTHING. But, when you look at the sport when they’re 50, you realize it’s a small percentage. If they live to be 100, it is less than 20. Same number of days training – but days count less as you get older.
3. As a promising athlete for the United States Gymnastics Team, you thought you were heading for the 1984 Olympics with Mary Lou Retton, but then those plans got derailed by an injury. How did you get past that disappointment? I was a teenager. I was heartbroken and felt so bad that I let my coach and my family down. First, I decided I would try to be a ‘normal high school kid’ and auditioned for a musical at my school. I did that, dated a boy, drank some beer…but then I buckled down and got back into the gym, so I could keep the scholarship offers that were discussed before I didn’t make the team. College Athletics is such an amazing thing to be part of…and I was thrilled to go to a huge SEC Powerhouse and compete for LSU. It was something new to commit to, work hard for and get passionate about.
4. How can young people, whether curtailed by a sports injury, an accident, financial circumstances, some life-altering event, a re-plotting of their college or career plans? To start, they have to switch gears. Sometimes when young people are in the thick of it, faced with a big event in their lives, it feels like everything is ruined. I like to use what I call ‘five years from now thinking’ to get them out of their own head. I might ask them, what kind of dog do you want to get when you are successful? They may say ‘chocolate lab’ and I tell them, one day five years from now when you are walking down the beach with your lab, you are going to look back on this as one really crappy chapter of your life. It’s not your whole life.
5. Act two, for you, led you to becoming a journalist for 15 years and an Emmy Award-winning news anchor. But another life-changing event took place that forced you to see the world differently. What happened? I was a well-known news anchor and was doing three shows a day with a guy who was both my co-anchor and a close friend. His wife and I were friends too and one day while we were picking up our kids at the bus stop her baby boy crawled toward my car as I left, and I ran over him. His skull and facial bones were crushed. To jump the end – he survived but it was touch and go for a long time. Neither of us did the news for a while. But he got healthy, his mother and I love each other and stayed friends, and I went back on the air with my co-anchor. He’s now a healthy, happy, handsome high school teenager.
6. So in tragedy, whether we suffer a loss, cause an injury, or are forced to confront our mortality, how do we move past these nightmares? It is so difficult. I could not grasp not being an athlete… and then worse, going from everyone’s favorite news anchor, to the lady who ran over a baby. It was too much. I didn’t want to go on, go out in the world. I just didn’t want to be ‘that’ and saw no way out. I talk about that in the book – Chapter Eight – we need to talk about suicide openly. You need support, to change the language in your head, a script to protect yourself in public, (because even a quick ‘how are you’ has no good answer). You have to re-assess the people, places and things around you too. You have to make changes.
7. In Charleston, South Carolina, you lead the first vocal newscast co-anchored by two women. What challenges, in particular, are faced by women in the world today? That is a loaded question. There is so much going on with women’s equality, equal pay, the #MeToo Movement…gender equality in general. Plus, many women today are fiercely independent and super successful and that comes with its own challenges in parenting and having a successful marriage. No one talked about the fallout when they told my generation of young girls that we could ‘do anything’. When we started the first newscast with two female anchors, we were also black and white. We felt like we were paving the way for others in many ways. It helped that we were such good friends. She is still on TV – Erika Bryant. She’s the longtime anchor in Charlotte NC.
8. Following your lengthy news career, which included being named Charleston’s Favorite News Anchor ten times, you began Act Three, joining a start-up software company where you helped grow the company for a dozen years. The IPO was hailed by Forbes. What advice do you have for those looking to undergo a major career transition? Do it! I am a big fan of lifetime learning and reinventing yourself. I call it ‘living life in chapters’. I will caution that it is a ton of work. That first year jumping into tech and not knowing the language of engineering, platforms or healthcare was exhausting. My family life suffered, my husband was super supportive. It’s like jumping onto a moving train. You are smart, so you want to contribute, but you have to learn fast and embrace that you don’t know what you don’t know, and only help where you can until you catch up. It is both frightening and rewarding, but truly exhilarating! I think you need to be a bit of a risk taker or adrenaline junky to survive it.
9. One of your tips for people to move past a major event is to put it into perspective that it’s only a tiny portion of your life’s timeline. What do you mean by this? This is my Chapter 6, thinking about the math of our lives. I have a graphic in the book to break down the math. You know how, when you are 10 years old the summer seems so long, but when you are older it flies by? Well, that’s because each year of your life is a smaller ‘fraction’ of your life, as you get older. For the 10-year-old, it is one-tenth, for the 40-year-old parenting that kid, it is one-fortieth. (2.5%). Same 365 days, but the weight of that time is different. I think it’s fascinating. When I blew out my knee in college, I thought my life was over because gymnastics was about 80% of my life experience. By the time I was 50, gymnastics was 28% and 40% was parenting.
10. Some people, when confronted by a significant event, fear that life will never be the same. Are they wrong? Not wrong –THEY won’t be ‘the same’—so the story of their life will adjust. Think of your life as a book. Big life events come with character development and experiences alter the main character’s actions. Big events start new chapters. We are never ‘exactly the same’ one day to the next. We experience new things, good and bad. It’s like when people say – I can’t un-see that!’. It is now in your head. But because something will never be the ‘same’ doesn’t mean it will never be good. Instead of being afraid your life will never be the same, look at a significant event as an opportunity to take your story in a new direction. People won’t even ask why.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.