My first pink week was filled with love and compassion. My girlfriends, who are all successful in their careers, have been marveling at my bravery. I really don’t think I am brave but rather willing to tackle what I can’t control. I have made some observations this week while I slowly swim to the surface shedding the pain and confusion. These insights can certainly be applied to how we, as women business leaders manage adversity and curve balls.
As women business leaders we are required to be in control and manage as many facets of our lives as we can. But what happens when the uncontrollable strikes? When I was first told that I had breast cancer – there was actually nothing I could do to change the situation, even though I have always prided myself as being a problem solver, a creative thinker and a go-to person others depended on to help with unmanageable issues. When told about my diagnosis a co-worked said “I don’t know how you are staying calm – if it was me I would be hysterical and out of control – I could not function.” It occurred to me that I may not always have control of what happens in my life but I always have control of how I react and deal with the situation. The ultimate control is having control of how we react to an uncontrollable event.
I was somewhat surprised to be referred to as brave, For me bravery does not come into the equation. It’s not about being brave — it’s about living your life to the fullest. So facing adversarial situations is more about figuring out how to take experiences in your life and weave them into your life’s tapestry. Where do you put them and how do you deal with them?
I am really not interested in hiding my current situation both physically and conceptually. This probably plays into my identity of having breast cancer and feeling a certain sense of pride that I have been able to endure this.
Right now, to me, it seems so unnatural to want to physically disguise what I am going through. Actually, as I become familiar with my new transitional body, this has been a great opportunity to examine my authenticity and use it as a way to further develop “my personal brand.” To those who have experienced similar situations, I wonder … what were your thoughts about this as you processed your new body image?