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  • Mark Berridge

Monthly Blog - April 2022

So much progress, so little progress! But that is often the way of life.

It has been another fantastic month, with highlights:

  • the generous attendance and response to my official book launch 6 April,

  • the media response to A Fraction Stronger and the writing and speaking opportunities that generated, and

  • the fantastic engagement when I spoke to the M Resources team 28 April.

The effort invested hasn't (yet) led to strong sales for A Fraction Stronger, but I am hopeful that word of mouth will allow momentum to build. Certainly the feedback I am receiving provides satisfaction that the book is meeting its purpose of helping people, especially those in a time of great need. That sense of purpose is the focus of my blog this month.

Thank you for cheering me!

The picture above was shared by a family member who has an ongoing health challenge. Perhaps on average she has required a significant operation every year for 10 years - I should know that detail better. It is inspiring how she courageously tackles each hurdle and continues to find the joy in her world. She is considerate of others, generous and easy company. I admire her greatly.

If I had to be “labelled”, I would describe myself as impaired rather than disabled. That point aside, the picture represents how I often feel. The complexity it takes me to stand is invisible and somewhat pointless to communicate. Movements that used to be automatic and effortless now take concentration and focus.

These thoughts are topical as a school dad recently asked how my book was going. When I replied that it was a hard graft, despite the incredible media exposure I had been afforded, my friend said: “you must be loving the radio opportunities”.

For some reason his use of the word “loving” in this sentence triggered me. Perhaps it was because I was fatigued and sore - I’d been sitting on a bench seat for 2 hours watching my youngest play football, before ascending some stairs to reach the field where we met. All I could think was: actually I wish my feet and legs didn’t ache. I wish I wasn’t short of breath because walking on the flat is challenging never mind stairs. I wish I wasn’t bracing every core muscle to stand here in front of you.

I’d love to be like I was before, not on the radio.

But just like my amazing family member and so many others, “life before” isn’t an option. Explaining the complexities of dealing with daily activity feels like complaining so I avoid (this article excused!) mentioning it. I focus on making the most of what I can do rather than lamenting what I can’t. So whilst my thoughts may have been conflicted and reflective, the words that came out were positive, celebrating the book having made an important impact on some lives. (I am not sure he would have listened either way, he was concentrating on an imminent rugby match. Sometimes I just don’t appreciate the limitations of my circumstances!)

I love that A Fraction Stronger provides a platform to help people, and the incredible exchanges it has stimulated. If being on the radio enables that, I love being on the radio. If applying myself to book promotion with the same fortitude as I tackled rehabilitation is what it takes for some good to come of my misadventure, that is what I will do. It has become my calling.

For those that have read A Fraction Stronger you will know how important I think positive feedback is, how it reinvigorates effort and belief. I am incredibly grateful for the brave and precious feedback readers are sending me about the impact of A Fraction Stronger. Here are a few snippets:

  • Sandra found the book helped her. When she learned her colleague had suffered a stroke, she bought another copy as a gift.

  • Mikaela heard my story on the radio and secured a copy of the book. It has provided valuable insight as the family deals with a devastating injury to her husband’s little brother.

  • The book reached a pedestrian struck by a car. Her friend found it at the local library and gave it to her in hospital. Reading A Fraction Stronger has inspired Tania to seek 1% more improvement in each physio session, understanding how those fractions accumulate and compound.

There are many similar stories that have provided kind and valued encouragement. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and courage in reaching out to me. Your stories help me to believe the book has merit and to commit the effort required to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone, raising awareness and reaching readers. I am cheering for you, just as you have cheered me.


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