Shelagh Brennand has turned life’s health scares and difficulties into creativity and success. After suffering a stroke, she overcame depression through self-publishing her own beautiful book of poetry.
Name: Shelagh Brennand
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/astrokeofpoetry/
What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in life & how did it impact you?
In April 2013, despite being fit and healthy, I suffered a stroke. My previous life as a UK Police Officer and a Private Investigator here in Australia meant my brain was organized, challenged and efficient. Post stroke I suffered depression as my brain would no longer work the same, I was unable to continue with my investigative work and I felt I had no useful purpose in life. This was a HUGE obstacle and gladly I got through it.
What would you say are your greatest achievements in life thus far?
Getting through my depression for sure, self-publishing my book of poetry that I wrote through my stroke recovery and being able to share this with others who had similar experiences. Just moving on with my life was my biggest achievement and accepting my life for what it is.
How did you work through your struggles to achieve the success you have today?
Writing poetry helped with those frustrating days, sad days and silly, forgetful days. Training once again and reaching out to a PT who understood me. Exercise for me was a huge onus to my recovery and still is.
What is one tip you have for keeping motivated?
Only focus on what you CAN do and not what you cannot. Being grateful constantly and find the gratefulness even in a difficult day. Learning to understand ‘what you focus on grows’ so if you think you’re going to have a dreadful day, you will. Just living your life with a positive outlook.
Who is someone that helped you on your journey from struggle to success?
My personal trainer Melinda Bingley, MAB Personal Training and Adventures and my editor, Alex Fullerton Mitchell, who is now my dearest friend. Both ladies understood me and where I wanted to be in life, not just with my book but from a personal perspective. My husband David and Son Patrick are my never-ending support and understand my passion for helping others. Often to my own health detriment so they slow me down constantly and if not, they get me back on track after I’ve crashed from my post stroke fatigue.
What qualities do you think are essential in a person to be successful?
Passion – you must feel that inner passion with everything you do. Persistence – just keep going. You will get through many difficult obstacles but keep pushing through. Network and support – do not try and ‘reinvent the wheel’ as they say. Network with other likeminded business people and share ideas, strategies and support each other. Learn social media – you cannot survive without it!
Do you think there are benefits to going through hardships before achieving your goals?
The affirmation ‘A certain darkness is needed to see the stars’. (Osho) I believe has some truth. I had a lovely life pre-stroke but I firmly believe that I now fully appreciate my life much more and what I have got and who I have in my life. I genuinely love my life and I am surrounded by positive, loving friends and family. Who could wish for more?
What are some plans and goals you have for the future?
A few things…
I am now a Stroke Safe Ambassador so I present to communities and health organisations on behalf of the Stroke Foundation and educate people about stroke in all its forms – in addition to reading my poetry and incorporating my own journey.
I am Vice President of the Vintage Calendar Girls Inc. which is an organization who produce a calendar each year and raise money for a family struggling with cancer. I only met the Founder, Misty Bland, during my book workshop so without my stroke this would never have happened!
I would love to forward my life as a motivational speaker and plans are underway to try and move into that field. Watch this space!
Lastly, what is one piece of advice you have for others to overcome difficulty and achieve success?
Be true to yourself and you MUST look after yourself first. Making mistakes makes us stronger and ANYONE in life can get back up again but do not do it alone. Reach out for support as there are those who can help.
There you have it - you truly can make the best of any situation in life. There are silver linings everywhere, you just have to look.