Creativity wins the day. If I did not have my creative outlets I could not be the resilient gal I am. I need to be able to find innovative ways to live my life. Detach myself. Many times I will take my dog Sienna out for a long walk to just brush away the challenges of the day. Animals help us to be better versions of ourselves.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sally Arnold.
Sally Arnold is a Creator who has managed many life challenges ranging from having to leave a promising career as a Flautist due to hearing problems. Then years later her husbands loss of his real estate property company leading to his death from cancer several years later. Sally believes through all these challenges we can either be a Victim or develop inner resilience to move us through to a life well lived.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I grew up in Christchurch NZ. And at the age of 19 left to go to University in Adelaide. I believe the growth of my resilience began when I followed a career into music performance. From there I worked globally, in orchestras, then changed career due to a hearing problem into another passion, Food and cooking. I was a department store buyer and this is where I learnt my business skills. Transitioning back into the Arts world as Business Development Manager for The Australian Ballet. During this time my husband lost his real estate business and several years later passed from Prostate Cancer. I had to get myself able to be with these challenges so studied Psychotherapy. And this is where I have combined all my passions, the Arts, Business and Psychotherapy into Creating Encores. The wake up call for Leaders. We all need to find ways to leverage our career paths to help others who may need support as they move through their careers and life.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take away’ you learned from that?
In my arts career I learnt that as talented as I was I had to be the Gold Medalist in every audition to get a job. There are very few jobs for musicians so I knew I had to study with the best teachers and perform at optimum to not end up working in a career I did not love. Plus a career in the performing arts world many times is not for ever. So we have to learn how to leverage all our gifts and talents into new innovative paths. Psychotherapy was one of the big learnings. Especially when I had to get to know myself inside and out. I realized that I had lived on the surface often and not been in touch with feelings and emotions. I am so grateful for this tough training as I now feel more confident in the way I live and learn in this world.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Creating Encores is an amalgamation of my 3 careers, Music, Business and Psychotherapy. I call it an essential Trio for the world today. Especially after Covid. People want to look at their careers in more creative inspiring way, and still be smart business people. Psychotherapy helps them to understand themselves firstly then others who could be clients. I decided to put Creating Encores together when sponsors of The Australian Ballet would tell me that they could come along to a performance, stressed and with business problems. And many times would walk out the door feeling refreshed and with the problem solves. I decided I had to find a way to create this immersion effect with coaching clients and I have .
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
In a different way one of my Flute teachers when I was 20 , David Cubbin helped me to recognize my talent and gifts. He was a gentle caring man who helped me recognize my talent and non-traditional ways of being a classical musician. I remember telling him at the end of my training I wanted to be in the show of Jesus Christ Superstar.. in the band, and thought he would say WHY/ He didn’t and said he felt I was suited to this show. It was my first professional gig and I then went off to London, studied there and my musical career launched.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
People who are able to move through massive challenges in their life without falling apart. They have a deep inner sense of themselves and don’t get put off track by tough life or business situations. Many of these people are introverts. They keep going in a quiet way . Often they have had some tough challenges growing up and have had to survive without support. These people are special and don’t ask for attention. They go about supporting, fixing and helping others and making their situations livable.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience? Courage could be likened to “swimming with the sharks”, “diving off a cliff”, “travelling to a war zone” this is different while its similarities to resilience could be “rebuilding a home in the same spot after an earthquake”, “ investing in massive property to create financial stability in years to come”, “not letting a business person in authority put them down, questioning and getting an answer that supports”
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
I think of Nigella Lawson. As I love cooking. And she went through some massive challenges from her former husband a few years ago in regard to their marriage, drug use and I suspect violence. And somehow she is back on the screen without having to make an even bigger scene about her shocking personal life. I also can see a bit of myself in there, when my husband lost every thing and we had to go through media and a criminal trial due to some of his business partners. Life just about falls apart but somehow I was able to find a way to keep going, keep myself still out in front of the world and not cave in to massive resentment and bitterness.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Yes, About 5 years ago I put a deposit on some massively high quality property . ( this is after my husband died and I had to restart my life again with very little funds). I scrapped together enough for the deposit and knew I had 2 years to get the rest, 90% for settlement. I felt sick when I bought these properties, but had followed some good advice, buy in a small block of apartments and in a high quality street. And I did. I bought the top floor and a small apartment for Airbnb letting. This was several 7 figures. I was knocked back for the mortgage by 3 banks. And thought that my age, solo woman status and entrepreneur was what did it. I was desperate as I kept being told I would not be able to get the funds, as my income then was not super high. In the end I found an amazing life saver, My Rock I call him This mortgage broker got the mortgage, and settled in 2018. I have just sold the top floor in under 3 years and was a record price. I achieved in under 3 years the growth I had imagined I would get in 10. I am so happy. Am now totally debt free on my properties, have just bought another which I have paid cash for a top floor too.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
Yes after Tony lost his property business and then found out he had prostate cancer. I had to do a heap of psychological work on myself. I had never done it. And had no alternative but to understand how I could psychologically get through this time. I did and learnt to meditate as well. This was a life saver. And to be honest would not be the authentic High performance, Wellbeing coach I am now if I had not been through these times.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I am the oldest of 5 children. And growing up in NZ as a Boomer now had to immerse myself in mothering and looking after brothers and sisters. My Mum was a bit of a Victim so had to take over many times when she psychologically would retreat from the world. I was her prop and sort of just did it thinking that was what I did. Realize now I was so resilient.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Understand your psychology. This is where my psychotherapy training and also going to weekly therapy sessions helped. I realized that I was not the only person with the challenges I had. And that there were ways to fix them. I did not know this before I went into Therapy. This was the biggest relief ever.
- Don’t ever give up. Make sure that you are your own person and forget what others are saying .Many times they want to be the tough strong individual but can’t .So can tell us that we need to stop doing whatever we are doing to achieve a purpose or life success. Keep following your passion and eventually you will get there. I did in buying those properties in 2018 and selling one in 2021. I proved the detractors wrong.
- Meditate. This has to be the best tool that has helped me move through challenges in my life. When everything went wrong in my marriage 25 years ago I learnt how to meditate. I found that I could do it anywhere, on a plane, in an airport lounge, Uber, before concerts, performances and would feel I had inner strength to move through the situations arising that day or night.
- Keep a group of supporters around you. We all need to be supported when we are resilient beings. I have a couple of amazing female friends who are also resilient. We can be honest with each other and talk over our challenges. This is support at the best level.
- Creativity wins the day. If I did not have my creative outlets I could not be the resilient gal I am. I need to be able to find innovative ways to live my life. Detach myself. Many times I will take my dog Sienna out for a long walk to just brush away the challenges of the day. Animals help us to be better versions of ourselves.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to be able to Create an impressive movement that helped performers check in with their gifts and find ways to be resilient when their careers are coming to an end. There needs to be a global organization of these people who can support the next generation of performers. Instead of older men and women being made redundant in our life.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Nigella Lawson, Michelle Obama.
How can our readers further follow your work online
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!