In my line of work, I contemplate the art of overcoming adversity a lot. When I read articles about a footy ‘star’ being arrested for being violent, or drunk and disorderly, it creates a visceral reaction within me.

The attention economy in the media elevates the status of men that kick, catch or bat a ball to ‘star’ status, while their partners are referred to as mere extensions of them, with an outdated sexist term that has been coined, often known as their WAG (wife and girlfriend), irrespective of their vocation, career, or education.

Meanwhile, I have clients that range from fighting cancer while simultaneously leaving their abusive marriage, to another that is contemplating a possible amputation after an ordinary Sunday with friends ended in a vicious dog bite. For me, they are the real heroes, and superstars, as are the first responders that take care of them.

I recently interviewed Sierra who had become a young carer for her mother (and younger brother) from when she was 9 years old. She had never told her school about her circumstances at home because she didn’t want her family to be separated like their indigenous ancestors, who had been part of the Stolen Generation.

Due to the large number of absences, her school didn’t allow her to graduate, so she had to overcome adversity by seeking alternate pathways to University. Her happy ending didn’t quite work out when she had to drop out of her Certificate 3 course due to a racist lecturer.

For a while she thought she’d have to give up her dream of obtaining a university education when her older sister said she could no longer cope with the caring role and moved out, so Sierra had to work to support her mum and brother.

The best plot twist is not that she is finally doing well at University, but the recent discovery of a diagnosis that speaks to why she has been able to traverse the challenges on her path with the amount of grace she has displayed. You can listen here on Spotify and on iTunes.

Recently, a bulk of Australian citizens have done something unprecedented when it comes to women’s’ sports. They have rallied, acknowledged, and even supported our mighty Matilda’s in their bid to win the FIFA women’s world cup in soccer. Much like the WAG’s of footballers, the Diamonds, our Australian netball team, barely get a mention, despite the fact that they have just won the World Games for the 12th time.

Consequently, the Matilda’s have fared better than their male counterparts, by gaining a place in the quarter final, and their semi-final defeat to England has become the most watched television show in Australia on record. As someone who is normally very neutral and even apathetic about sports, I have found myself willingly caught up in the hype that has served as a patriotic connection to my fellow antipodeans.

It has also shown me where I still have work to do when it comes to the shadow part of my personality. For someone that has always considered herself an open book, this event has mirrored how closed I really am when it comes to sharing intimate details of myself, or even putting myself “out there”.

I find I share my wins only after they’ve transpired, and even then, rather reluctantly. It’s almost as though I don’t want anyone to witness my ride, just in case I get thrown off, or decide to jump ship. But doesn’t that just mean I’m holding myself to ridiculous standards that aren’t sustainable?

Can we overcome adversity without being vulnerable, authentic, and accepting support? Or do we need to already embody an element of resilience within us that keeps our belly stoked enough to be fired up when the time is right?

At one point is the adversity behind us, that it then defines our past, but no longer our present? For many, it will be a lifelong connection. For others the difficulties will simply transcend into other rites of passages and lessons they learn along the way.

When I interviewed Paul Koury, the founder of the digital (and physical) magazine called The Australian Carer Guide, he shared the inspiration behind him creating such an incredible resource when he and his sister needed information while caring for their mum many years ago. His story isn’t unusual, but what touched me deeply, was his willingness to share how ready he was to find love again.

His life and his magazine are very successful, and he has no qualms in letting people know about the missing piece in the puzzle that would help him feel fulfilled. So, on behalf of Paul, if you know any voluptuous ladies in their 50’s or 60’s that live in Melbourne, tell them Cupid Kikos sent you, their way…

While my podcast chat with Paul inspired me to be more open about sharing my own dreams, our Matilda’s ultimately finishing in 4th place also did the same. Did I want them to win? Of course, I did! (Especially against England!)

But honestly, I probably love them more, because not only have they done so much for giving women’s sport in Australia more exposure, but ultimately, they have reminded me that it’s not about winning, it’s about being supported by the right people on your journey. If I can be that support for people professionally, maybe it’s time to invite that same kind of personal support for myself as well.

Til next time!

Patty Kikos