Besides hearing bad health news about your spouse or children there is probably no worse news than “You have cancer”, followed by “You should think about getting your affairs in order.” A few months ago I received that exact phone call from my doctor.
It is one of those bizarre moments in time when you think about something happening to you that you thought would never happen to you. Your body floods with adrenaline and you have a keen awareness of everything the doctor is saying but yet not really “hearing” much of it. You feel your knee start bouncing involuntarily as you try to control an intense wave of anxiety rising inside of you like a tsunami.
Then you suddenly get a moment of brutal clarity…Your doctor just told you that YOU have cancer. Not a friend, not a relative, not a neighbor, not a church member, not an old high school buddy…YOU. You have cancer and you know that cancer cells have one sole mission - to destroy you in the most painful way possible.
As a peak performance coach I spend a great deal of my time helping others to deal with adversity, yet it can be a different perspective when the adversity is personal. But should that be the case? Are the truths of how to deal with suffering and the challenges of life situational…are they only for other people? I don’t think so.
As I was faced with the reality that I had prostate cancer I had a choice. I could ask “Why me?” But instead I thought “Why not me?” – why should I be exempt from the pain and suffering that afflicts so many people. For many years I had taught others how to face adversity with courage, resolve, and a positive spirit. Now it was my turn to reflect those skills in my life.
But how do you have a positive spirit with the specter of death hanging above you? How do you maintain the priorities of life knowing that you may not have much life left? Stay tune for Part 2 of this message to find out!
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