#010 The Real Story Behind 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
Fifty million people read my article.
At first, I tried to go about my normal daily life. I went to work at my job as a therapist and acted like everything was the same. But in between patients, I checked my email and scrolled through social media.
Actress Juliette Lewis was talking about my article on Facebook. The Prime Minister of New Zealand retweeted my article. And Glenn Beck was talking about me on the radio.
Not everyone liked my message. A psychologist wrote and article for Psychology Today pointing out all the things wrong with my list of the “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.”
At first, I feared my career as a therapist was over.
But that 600-word article didn’t end my career. Instead, it launched it in a new direction.
A literary agent encouraged me to write a book about the 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. Although I had little writing experience and wasn’t sure I could even write a book, I decided to give it a try.
That book is now translated into more than 40 languages, and it has hit bestseller lists all over the world.
I also wrote two more spin-offs – 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do and 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do. My fourth book, 13 Things Strong Kids Do, goes on sale in April 2021.
But that’s the story of how the article changed my professional life. It’s the story most people know.
What most people don’t know is the private hell I endured that inspired me to write about mental strength in the first place.
My original article about mental strength wasn’t meant to go public. It was a private letter I wrote to myself when I was in the depths of despair and questioning my ability to tolerate any more pain.
As a therapist, I felt pressure to pretend like I had all the answers – like I somehow needed to act like I was impervious pain.
It’s ironic. As the media was touting me as the “mental strength expert” — they assumed I had mastered all those things — I was struggling to deal with my pain.
And while I’ve shared a little bit about my experience in my books and my TEDx talk, I thought I would use an episode of Mentally Strong People to share the rest of the behind the viral article and why I’ve embarked on a personal journey to learn about mental strength.
In this episode I’ll share:
“Time heals nothing. It’s what you do with your time that matters.”
“What separates people who stay stuck in a place of pain from those who grow from pain isn’t what they do. It’s often more about what they don’t do.”
Links and Resources:
My TEDx Talk – “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong”