Michaela Haas, PhD, is the owner of HAAS live!, an international coaching company for media, mindfulness and communication training. She has taught at the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of the West, and other study centers in America and Europe. Since the age of sixteen, she has been working as a writer and interviewer for major European newspapers, magazines, and TV stations, including hosting many successful live talk-shows. She has been studying and practicing mindfulness meditation for more than twenty years.
Michaela is the author of Bouncing Forward, Dakini Power, the new (German) Crazy America (RandomHouse/Goldmann, 2017), co-author of Coco Schumann: the Ghetto Swinger, translator of Light Comes Through, as well as contributor to and editor of several other books. She currently writes a weekly column about America for the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Germany's biggest nationwide subscription newspaper, called Wild Wild West. In America, her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, CBS, Psychology Today, Daily Beast, Psych Central, and numerous online media.
As a successful writer, reporter and interviewer for Germany's leading newspapers (e.g. Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit), magazines (e.g. SZ-Magazin, GEO) and TV stations (ARD, WDR, BR), she has more than 20 years of media experience. After graduating from the renowned German School of Journalism in Munich, she hosted a successful and award-winning 90 minute live-TV show for many years and received critical praise for it. In addition to her journalist work, she completed her PhD in Asian Studies at the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelm-University in Bonn, Germany, in 2008.
Since 2001 she has been successfully coaching top executives and leading group trainings. As a public speaker, she has an uncanny knack for making her audience laugh while also making them think. Her message of embracing mindfulness and human values has inspired audiences of every kind, from CEOs to college students, educators to engineers, nonprofits to business leaders.
Q & A with Michaela
Q. How did you come up with the title?
A. The title is a nod to civil rights icon Dr. Maya Angelou. She defines defying hardships as “bouncing forward, going beyond what the naysayers say.” I had the privilege of interviewing her for this book. Hearing her tell her story of overcoming such deep childhood trauma to become an international voice in effectuating positive change touched me deeply.
Q: You say, we are stronger than we think. What do you mean by that?
A. At first, I had suspected that just a few superhuman outliers, the likes of Malala and Mandela, managed to turn trials into triumphs. Though they surely exceed in courage and wisdom, they are not made of a different fabric than you and me. While caring for the very real pain of survivors who suffer from posttraumatic stress, trauma therapists tell us that most people will survive painful life events, loss, and accidents with few detectable long-term consequences. Actually, posttraumatic growth is much more common than PTSD. The research surprised me, too! We are so vulnerable, yet tenacious at the same time.
Q. What does this term “posttraumatic growth” actually mean?
A. Posttraumatic growth refers to the benefit we can derive from experiencing a crisis. Almost every trauma survivor I spoke with thought at first that they could never lead a happy life again. But the science of posttraumatic growth offers an entirely new perspective of trauma and plenty of healing strategies. This perspective of the growth mindset makes a tremendous difference: if you show people how they can grow, they likely will.
According to Richard Tedeschi, posttraumatic growth’s leading researcher, as many as 90 percent of survivors report at least one aspect of posttraumatic growth, ...
Banner image: Michaela Haas © Sarit Z. Rogers