New Zealander’s resilience conversation named in TED Talk’s Top 20 of 2020

Dr Lucy Hone has been named alongside Bill Gates as having one of Ted Talk’s Top 20 Talks of 2020 for her talk titled ‘3 Secrets of Resilient People’.

Hone is a director of the NZ Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience, adjunct senior fellow at the University of Canterbury, a published academic researcher and best-selling author.

In 2014, Hone experienced an unimaginable tragedy when her 12-year-old daughter Abi was killed along with Abi’s best friend Ella and Ella’s mother by a speeding driver on their way to a lakeside holiday. 

“In the blink of an eye I found myself flung to the other side of the equation. Instead of being the resilience expert, I became the grieving mother trying to wrap my head around unthinkable news with my world smashed to smithereens. In my talk, I shared the three strategies I relied upon to help get me through that devastating time, and because of Covid, they have suddenly been picked up by people all over the world.”

Initially presented to a local audience at TEDx Christchurch, Hone’s heart-wrenching talk resonated so powerfully with the live audience and subsequently online it’s now been viewed nearly 3 million times – elevating it to the official TED platform and making her the only Kiwi on to the Top 20 list.

Celebrity Speakers managing director Louise Ryburn says being selected as an official TED talk is a significant achievement in itself. Of the approximately 200,000 TEDx talks that have been given around the world since 2009, fewer than 1,000 have made it to TED.com; of the hundreds of TEDx talks that have been given in New Zealand, just four have made it to the main site. “In New Zealand, Lucy is in our top 10 most requested speakers, and is our only speaker getting sustained interest from the US and beyond. She’s now working with some world leading brands, flying the flag for New Zealand.”

“More importantly though is the impact of Hone’s work. People who have shared it on Twitter have described it as “a brilliant and empathetic way to build resilience for those who struggle with grief”; “an absolute must listen”, and, “great advice for tough times”. 

Ryburn, whose organisation represents Hone on the New Zealand public speaking circuit, says that while she has always been in high demand for speaking engagements, since COVID Hone has found new audiences and her work is reaching people “who need to hear it at a time when we are all struggling to cope with global change and loss as well as any personal trauma we may be experiencing”.

“She is reaching people around the globe with a powerful message of resilience and hope—coupled with practical, achievable strategies. Lucy is doing extremely important work that is touching people in a profound way and changing thousands of lives as a result,” adds Ryburn.

Dr Lucy Hone

“Completely stunned” is how Hone says she felt when she learned her talk had made the TED Top 20.

“To have my TEDx Chch talk get promoted to the actual TED platform was a big enough honour, discovering it’s one of the Top 20 of 2020 is too big to contemplate. Two consistent themes emerge from the feedback I get after a talk: thank you for giving me a way to live and grieve at the same time; and how useful they find the ‘is what you are doing – the way you are choosing to think or the way you are choosing to act – helping or harming you in your quest to get through whatever you are facing?’ question.”

“Since my TED talk, I have received invitations to speak at conferences and in workplaces in all corners of the world. Doing so makes Abi’s short life live on somehow, making something good come from her senseless loss.”

As well as this particular conversation, Hone speaks on a broad range of topics developed from her decades of working in the field of resilience and wellbeing, including a new course, Coping With Loss: A Helpers’ Guide to Resilient Grieving created to help health professionals during the pandemic. 

“There’s plenty more material to share beyond my TED talk. Understanding our psychological wellbeing, what helps each of us get the most out of live and cope with whatever is thrown at us, is complex and requires people to really understand what works best for them. What I love most is making it accessible and useful in everyday life – and reassuring people that it’s okay to be real, not perfect.”

Watch Hone’s TED talk here.

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