What Are You Waiting For?
A few years ago, I heard an interview with Emme, a plus-sized super model who identifies as body-positive (don’t you LOVE that term?). She was speaking about how cancer changed her life for the better. While many people have a hard time seeing past the fear and pain, she saw the blessing in this life-altering and life-threatening illness. Her cancer motivated her to slow down and live in the present. This is the kind of ‘woman of value’ story that inspires me, and I hope it inspires you, too.
It took cancer to wake Emme up to the life she was meant to live.
While undergoing chemotherapy, Emme used the alone time as an opportunity to relax and just BE. She hardly ever slowed down enough to take the time to stop and be present, and cancer taught her just how valuable that quiet time is.
Can you relate? In our busy lives, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we took time every day for ourselves? It’s so important to put down our devices and take time away from our obligations. We must practice self-care, no matter what’s going on around us.
Before the cancer, Emme didn’t realize how crucial it was for her to slow down and get quiet. She now meditates daily to recapture the alone time that’s become essential to her well-being.
It took a crisis for Emme to learn those important life lessons. What are you waiting for?
Why do we often learn the biggest lessons when we have our greatest challenges? And what turns the knowledge we gain into something that will stick with us and lock in the learning? Do we need to wait for another crisis to have the lesson hit home?
My client, ‘Jane’, was undervalued and overworked in her career. She was miserable in her marriage. But, she was scared to leave her job or her husband.
The stress led to weight gain, unhealthy habits, and a chaotic home life as her life spiraled out of control. She ended up in the hospital with emergency surgery, and she swore it was her wake-up call. She was going to leave her job and her marriage as soon as she got better. But, you guessed it, as time went on, she went right back to the life she was living.
Change is hard, but staying stuck is so much worse.
Emme’s story resonated with me for another reason. A few years ago, I learned I have a genetic marker for a certain type of cancer. When I got the call from my doctor, I was devastated, angry, sad, confused, anxious…
At first, I had so many questions swimming around in my brain—why me, what does this mean for my kids, is my body my enemy?
After processing my fears, I was able to view my mutated gene as a wake-up call. I feel lucky to know about the gene so I can do something about it. I am vigilant about annual surveillance for cancers. And like Emme, I also became much more mindful of managing my stress. High levels of stress are linked to lower resistance, making us more susceptible to cancers.
So I asked myself, what can I do to alleviate some of the stressors in my life?
I created a bill of rights for living my best life:
- Live a life of choice, not obligation. That means saying no to anything that align with my values.
- Communicate bravely and kindly. Speak up clearly, with compassion and kindness, especially when it’s scary or the stakes are high. Communication is one of the most important skills in life.
- Nurture relationships with loved ones. Make time for the people who matter. Time passes by quickly, and the relationships that last are the ones we attend to.
- Do work that matters. If I want to wake up inspired each day, I continue to do work that changes lives.
I’m not sitting around powerlessly waiting for a big crisis to hit. Instead, I live with intention, making each day count.
What shift can you make today towards living your best life? What is your bill of rights?