This story starts almost three years ago, in May 2018, when cancer interrupted my life. I’ll tell you the whole story someday, but for now I just want you to know that if you have felt blindsided, shocked, overwhelmed and extremely vulnerable, I feel you. It’s hard! And if you sometimes find it hard to live fully day-to-day, or to stop worrying about what might happen in the future, I get that, too.
After the first few dicey weeks in which my cancer could have killed me if it didn’t respond to surgery or chemo, I was in survival mode — writing down all my passwords for my husband, absorbing every minute with my beloved family, waiting anxiously every day to see if the cancer indicators went up or down.
Then came the day they discharged me from the hospital with several return appointments scheduled. Suddenly on my own without the hospital team around me, I thought, “Now what?” I was free to go home and … then what? Wait for appointments and the news brought by more blood tests? Update my will? Lie on the sofa all day? Finally finish the kids’ baby albums?
That was the moment when my personal life and my professional life as a coach merged. For almost a decade I’d helped other people figure out what mattered most to them, build a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, figure out what they wanted to do professionally, improve (or move on from) their relationships, and raise confident children. How could I use what I’d learned to help me navigate this limbo?
The answers I found, and the strategies I modified to suit my situation, worked. I started feeling more grounded. I found ways to balance fear with optimism and gratitude. I decided what truly mattered to me and what I wanted to accomplish with whatever time I had left. I whittled a couple of unsatisfying relationships out of my life. I loved harder and deeper than I’d ever loved before. And I learned to put myself first and practice self-compassion, things I hadn’t cultivated in my previous “normal” life.
It’s been a journey. It’s still a journey. I just had CT and MRI scans this week to try and find the cause of a weird new symptom. The scans were clear, but yowza, the fear and dread were back. But I’m better at managing them now. They don’t overwhelm me as much as they used to, and I bounce back faster.
Why a new newsletter?
This newsletter is the result of a dream to weave together the threads of my life, my coaching and my writing to support other people, encourage them and offer ideas that might help them build their own sense of purpose and meaning, navigate limbo, find peace and self-compassion, leverage their strengths for happiness and success, and go to sleep each night feeling like they ticked at least one of life’s important boxes.
In the past, my newsletter focus was different. It’s always had confidence-building at its heart — for adults, people wanting to switch careers, and for kids/teens and parents, after I became certified as a family coach and designer of strengths-based programs for schools. My focus has just evolved along with my life.
I know I’m not the only one grappling with tough issues and important questions right now. The pandemic and politics (at least here in the U.S.) have been traumatizing for so many people, piled on top of our individual challenges. This newsletter, which I intend to send at least weekly, will help you deal with those challenges. It will contain a mix of inspiring stories, messages of hope and some practical tools you might try from my coaching toolbox.
I wish nothing more than to be of service. I’d also love it if this my newsletter started a conversation. Between lockdown and living in the mountains, I miss people! Especially people who are on a journey like mine — facing their struggles and trying to stand tall, move forward, love and be loved, and make a difference.
Wishing you love, hope and compassion.