Commit to overcoming injury
As a pro surfer, Layne’s remarkable resilience and never-say-die attitude saw her win her third world title just thirty minutes after a rogue 20-foot wave had smashed the lumbar bones in her spine.
‘My desire to succeed and my fear of failure far outweighed the pain,’ she says of this extraordinary feat.
This was by no means an isolated event, and the list of injuries Layne sustained during her surfing career is almost as impressive as her list of wins. In this respect there are parallels between professional sport and building, which has one of the highest injury rates of any occupation.
‘I was so fierce and driven and feisty. I just had to get the job done. But it also cost me my quality of health and wellbeing. When I look back on my career there’s definitely a more sustainable way to go about it.’
After dedicating years to the healing process, Layne urges others to be kinder to themselves.
‘My advice to builders is listen to your body, there’s no shame in not being able to lift something,’ she says.
‘But you’ve got to want to heal more than being injured. And that requires a lot of discipline and a lot of commitment – sometimes over a long period of time.’
When it comes to maintaining wellness, Layne takes a pragmatic approach. ‘[Being healthy] is about doing things that you enjoy, not pushing yourself too hard, learning to listen to your body and honouring it. When it needs a rest give it a rest, when it wants food, eat well; if you’ve had a big night out, hydrate.
‘And I think another good lesson for everybody is to accept that on the days when you don’t feel good, that’s okay, that’s normal. It’s called being human.’