Recently I was asked to speak at an event honoring the neurosurgery program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami (formerly known as Miami Children’s Hospital). It was a moving event filled with skilled and brilliant medical professionals along with courageous children and dedicated families.
It’s funny how life changes who we are and how we think of ourselves. If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be attending this event it would have evoked plenty of confusion and curiosity on my part. If they had told me I would be speaking at it, I couldn’t have fathomed why.
Back then my life seemed as normal as everyone else’s. I was minding my own business, raising three children, working alongside my husband. Life was good.
Then one of our children got sick. Very sick. And everything changed.
You can’t always change life’s challenges, but you can change how you approach them.
My new normal became very different from my former one. I forced myself to stretch beyond my usual comfort zones and confidence levels to ensure that everything that could be done, was being done.
Over the years I grew accustomed to navigating a medical world that once had seemed so foreign to me. In the beginning of our journey I couldn’t grasp the idea that our previously healthy, vibrant child was struggling to hang on simply to get through another day. It seemed impossible. It was unfair. I was angry.
As time went on, it became obvious that anger changed nothing. As a matter of fact, being angry made me feel more like a victim; hopeless and helpless against something I didn’t understand and couldn’t accept.
My husband and I struggled to regroup. In the beginning our lack of knowledge about our daughter’s medical situation made us feel incompetent and questioned our parental ability. We felt like we were failing in the most important role of our lives and that was unacceptable.
Something had to change…. and finally it did!
Our approach changed, our knowledge grew, we became good at changing our attitude and perspective on an as-needed basis, our critical thinking skills soared, we became expert jugglers, an unbeatable team! While it sounds easy now, it certainly wasn’t; we fumbled many times.
Challenges have a way of showing you what you can do. I’ve met many people who have acquired knowledge and expertise in areas they never imagined because of the challenges they were faced with. I reflected on this as I was writing my speech for the hospital. I remember thinking that when you’re starting out as new parents planning a family, being a part of a neurosurgery celebration is probably NOT part of your PLAN A. But as we all know – life is really more about Plan B, C, or any other letter down the alphabet.
ADOver the years my professional life changed almost as much as my family life. I became a Certified Professional Coach, an Author and Speaker, and founded a company that has helped hundreds of people find their way through medical crisis; helping them create positives out of negatives.
Life has already taught most of us how fleeting the current moment can be. One minute we’re living our life wondering what we’re going to have for dinner, then BAM -a hurdle is thrown in our path and finding the next step can seem impossible.
I’m here to say that it IS POSSIBLE! You can do it! You can’t always change life’s challenges, but you can change how you approach them.
What’s your approach?
Your success in hurdle-jumping starts with your perspective. How do you want to handle the bumpy road ahead? How will YOU become your greatest asset?
If you are living with a medical challenge – whether yours, or that of a loved one I recommend you give yourself a healthy dose of “positive talk”. Try repeating: “This illness is part of what is happening in my life….. it will not define my life”.
When I’m meeting with a client for the first time I like to find out what they know about the medical challenge they are facing. Experience has taught me that without proper knowledge in your toolbox it is hard to fight the fight. My tip of the day: Increasing your knowledge will increase your mental attitude – and that’s half the battle!
Balancing real living with life’s challenges can bring harmony and happiness even in the most unlikely times. YOU can be your greatest asset, your strongest advocate; creating a fulfilling and perhaps unexpected “new normal”.