December 2022 I was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer.

I didn’t know there was such a thing as Stage 0 and I certainly didn’t want cancer to be part of my journey.

Since my diagnosis came right before the holidays, I had to wait through Christmas and New Years before I was able to see a doctor.

There was such a depth of loss that surrounded that time. I was just sad. I wasn’t sure what was ahead, but I knew that things wouldn’t be the same.

Stage 0, they told me, was the “best kind” of cancer. My mind and my heart couldn’t reconcile the polarity of ‘cancer’ and the “best kind” but there I was.

Seven months and five surgeries later, I now know that my cancer journey will only include surgeries and will not require chemo, radiation, or other treatments. What a gift.

As I reflect on my journey over the past seven months, I realize that finding the gift in every situation has become one of my superpowers.

I asked our 9-year-old son what he learned from mom having cancer he said, “It’s not fun.”

You are right buddy, it’s not fun, and we do not have to pretend that it is. AND we can look for the gift in each situation.

For instance, I watched our kids develop a deep sense of empathy and thoughtfulness. I watched as they supported me by ensuring I had Sami, a stuffed animal that was gifted to me early in my journey, with me at the hospital and next to me while recovering. What a gift.

We have had to cancel more activities and vacations than I can count, but somehow through all the changed plans we are now able to go on two trips instead of one. What a gift.

The number of friends and family members who have showed support through cards, flowers and food has warmed my heart and made this journey more manageable. What a gift.

Even through cancer, I have found many gifts. As a Positive Intelligence Coach, one of the core skills I teach is strengthening the ability to convert any “bad” situation into a gift or opportunity.

The stronger your muscles the more challenging situations you can convert from “bad” to “good.”

As nonprofit leaders, we need this same skill to stay sane as we change the world.

Take for instance an everyday situation where you run into unexpected traffic and realize you will be late for a meeting. In that moment you have a choice about how you will react. Will you get angry, allow your blood pressure to rise and frustration to set in? Or will you find the gift in that situation? Maybe this extra time allows you to call someone you have been putting off connecting with, listen to a podcast you have been meaning to get to, or maybe it allows the opportunity for your team member to lead the meeting and work on their leadership skills.

Before I was thrown into this cancer journey, I was leading a seven-week course on Positive Intelligence. Little did I know how important the tools of this course would become for me. Finding the gift in life’s challenges both big (cancer) and small (traffic) is one of the skills we can develop. Now when I lead people through this powerful seven-week class, I will be leading from an even deeper sense of understanding. Come join me. I’m back and ready to help lead you through how to find the gift and other tools to grow your mental fitness.

If you are looking for a program to help improve your overall satisfaction with yourself, others, and work, click here to join an intro session on September 5th or October 17th or sign up participate in the program.

A past participate said:

“I don’t know how you found Positive Intelligence but I am so glad you did and that you shared it with me. I know I said it in our group but it has been life changing for me and I am so grateful.”

and I couldn’t agree more.

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