Welcome to the second post in our series introducing the Xerocon Brisbane 2019 keynote speakers – join us for five minutes in the hot seat with Leigh Sales, one of Australia’s most celebrated journalists.
While hosting the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme 7.30, Leigh Sales began to detect a pattern. Every night, she was faced with stories of people who, “Got out of bed, had their breakfast, brushed their teeth, and went about an ordinary day. Then, out of the blue, something happens and their whole life is transformed forever.” So she wrote a book about it.
In Any Ordinary Day, the award-winning journalist and author explores how regular people endure the unthinkable. And how they come out the other side displaying incredible strength, hope, and even humour. Never one to shy away from difficult topics, Leigh also anchors the ABC’s federal election and budget night programs.
Having interviewed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Leonardo di Caprio (not to mention every living Australian prime minister), when asked about how she prepares, Leigh revealed, “I edit my questions as if they were a script, ensuring they’re as sharp and crisp as possible.” We decided to follow her lead.
1.Can you give us an overview of the themes your Xerocon presentation will explore?
It’ll be a combination of (hopefully) entertaining stories about my career as a journalist and the way I’ve had to learn to back myself and operate outside of my comfort zone. I’ll also talk about what 25 years as a journalist has taught me about life, human nature, and dealing with things that are outside of our control.
2. How can Xero’s accounting and bookkeeping audience learn from this and apply it to their everyday lives (both at work and home)?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, a bookkeeper, a journalist or an astronaut, the themes of self-doubt and anxiety (and how to overcome them) are something that every human can relate to.
3. You’ve dealt with people who’ve faced the unimaginable and come out the other side. What takeaways have you applied to your own life?
To be genuinely grateful for what you have and to appreciate the moment. I also think the power of kindness is incredibly profound. Stop thinking of yourself and start doing stuff for other people – you’ll find that it makes you happier.
4. And what have your learnings in this area taught you about the power of community? You’re nothing without your community of friends. And while it’s good to give, when you need help, it’s important to accept it.
5. Lastly, in the spirit of your podcast Chat 10 Looks 3, what are you…
- Reading: Less by Andrew Sean Greer, which won the 2018 Pulitzer prize for fiction.
- Watching: The Good Place.
- Cooking: Macaroni and cheese for the kids. Every. Damn. Week.
- Listening to: Becoming a Jackal by Villagers.
- Irrationally exhilarated by: My new bookshelf.
Want to hear more from Leigh about strength, resilience, and what happens where the news leaves off? She’ll be presenting at Xerocon Brisbane 2019, and with 15 high-energy hours of content to soak up and over 3,000 people to network and connect with, Xerocon promises to be nothing short of career-changing. Register and secure your place now.