Grief as a purpose anchor – Episode 77 Linley Cornish

Grief as a purpose anchor – Episode 77 Linley Cornish

Linley Cornish - Grief as a purpose anchor - Ep 77 Your Next Chapter Podcast with Angela Raspass
Linley Cornish - Grief as a purpose anchor - Ep 77 Your Next Chapter Podcast with Angela Raspass

“Liam, my 19-year-old son, died on November the 5th, 2015. He had just taken his sister to the bus stop. He was worried about being late, he drove too fast, lost control and hit a tree. I lived for the next 15 months with a kernel of wishing it was all a bad dream. What sort of Mother was I, if I couldn’t keep my son safe?

I’ve worked so hard since then to make my grief my guide, rather than a place where I wallow. I plunged into busy-ness. People saw this as strength. That was not my experience. It was a life-saving response. It was self-protection”.  

Lin has experienced what no parent ever should. The loss of a child is beyond comprehension for most of us. We don’t even want our thoughts to go there. Acceptance seems impossible. And yet Linley has, and even more powerfully, she has learned to “live alongside her grief” and developed a purpose-driven business that focuses on “peacebuilding, one person at a time” helping people to navigate the waves of unexpected life circumstances that they did not ask for, expect or desire. 

Building on her years of military mediation, conflict resolution, resilience and leadership work, Linley encourages people to walk into their stories, build choice and focus on what they can do with courage and curiosity. 

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

  • The stages of grief from bereavement are not linear, they do not actually come in clean “stages” 
  • Don’t just focus on the big things in life, don’t miss the small things 
  • Your purpose may have fuzzy edges. And that’s ok. Simply focus on the question ”what sort of person do I want to be now” 
  • Experiences in your life can make you feel that your previous work was too shallow, that you want to dive deeply now. That’s evolution. 
  • Expecting to earn enormous revenues from your business early on, triggered by looking at the outward success of others creates so much self-criticism 
  • Try not to get caught up in our culture of wanting to have and do everything – that will drain your energy 
  • Don’t get distracted by the pursuit of perfection 
  • Every story is worth telling and every story is worth hearing – and that includes yours

Links and More Information

Lin referred to several resources that have helped her in her personal journey and that she also utilises in her coaching work. 









Dr Russ Harris – ACT Mindfully:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy 









Author of The Reality Slap

I have also interviewed Russ on this Podcast and you can listen in here to Episode 50 

Brene Brown – I share Lin’s passion for Brene’s work on shame and courage and recommend all of her books. 

Kathleen (Kay) Adams is a best-selling author, speaker, psychotherapist and visionary. Her first book, Journal to the Self, is a classic that has helped define the field of journal therapy. 









On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss 

byElisabeth Kubler-Ross, David A Kessler,    

Uncovering Your Purpose

The workbook that accompanies this Podcast series has a series of questions that can help you to uncover your core purpose for Your Next Chapter or to realign with it in your existing business.

With Foundation and evolution questions, it’s designed to get you thinking and exploring what’s possible and resonant for you.

Download it here >

Lin Cornish

Linley joined the Royal Australian Navy when she was 20 years old and when asked, “Why the Navy?”, she reflects on perhaps a naivety of youth; “I joined to do my bit for World Peace”.

Linley had the privilege of working in the Navy and the greater Defence Organisation for almost 20 years, and during this time she went from teaching electronics to training recruits, writing and developing courses and managing teams; and all the while, she continued working in the human side of trying to cope with conflict and stress in an elite workforce; by building resilience and alternative strategies to alcohol abuse, drug use, self-harm, stress reactions, mental health, conflict and workplace disputes.

During this time Linley trained as a drug and alcohol advisor, critical incident stress manager, mediator and coach and adopted the philosophy of Peacemaking one person at a time.

This philosophy, combined with learning from an early age - you only get what you work for - led to opportunities to work with the UN and an amazing team first in Sydney and then Brindisi Italy, building negotiation skills for Military Observers in Peace Operations. (Military Observers are those uniformed personnel whose role is to gather information from the local people in a war-like situation, and these observers are not allowed to carry any weapons – what you can’t take on a plane, they can not carry – their ‘weapon of choice’ then is their ability to negotiate).

She also worked in the Philippines with their Defence Force to train personnel to negotiate in extreme circumstances and then worked throughout Australia with our own amazing Defence personnel.

About 15 years ago, Linley once again refined her life philosophy to Peace through Choice, and left the cocoon of Defence to join an elite team of humanities consultants to build possibility and potential within a wider audience. This allowed her to work with many public and private organisations to build leadership, resilience and personal performance in individuals and teams.

Life handed some traumatic challenges to Linley over the next decade, and she chose to step into these through creating her own company, where she coaches, mediates and facilitates, to support people and teams who find themselves in a place defined by either an event or an unhelpful pattern. Linley walks beside them to create a future aligned with, and premiering, their best self. Linley’s emerging purpose is to team with others to Live the Story You Wish to Tell.

Today, Linley lives surrounded by loving dogs, horses, sheep and chickens, on a small property just outside Canberra, Australia, where she pursues her other passions: to open her home to visitors and to live sustainably to reduce our impact on the environment.

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