Overcoming Obstacles

Last week I was invited to be a Twitter Chat guest. The topic of the chat was “Overcoming Obstacles and Thriving in Life.”

Unfortunately, I know a little something about life’s big obstacles.

Below you’ll find the questions along with my answers (the longer versions).

A Tweet Chat—also called a Twitter Chat, Tweet Party or Twitter Party—occurs when a group of Twitter users meets at a pre-arranged chat to discuss a specific topic that uses a designated hashtag (#). —-Livewire

How do you approach problem-solving?Please chime in with your comments!

Q1. We all have setbacks. When faced with the formidable, what is your process to problem solving?

I recently came up with an acronym for my process. I call it P.A.G.E.

It stands for Pause. Assess. Gather. Execute.

Pause. Let it all sink in. Digest it. Doing this keeps me from acting on impulse or emotion.

Assess. What will I need to resolve, cope or survive?

Gather. Research it! Ask questions. Due diligence. Gather all necessary information to help you make an informed decision on whatever the big “it” is in your life.

Execute. Once I’ve done all of these things, then I act on my plans with some level of confidence.

Q2. Have you ever felt like giving up? How did you overcome come it? Or, if you’re feeling this way now, why?

Breast cancer made me feel defeated. I was in shock. Followed by intense fear. Grief. And a feeling of being lost.

I cried, prayed, ate two boxes of my favorite lemon cookies (without guilt), then I went to a support group where I said the words out loud

“Hi, my name is April. I have breast cancer.”

Admitting it. Knowing I wasn’t alone. Taking time to let it sink in. All of these things helped me to cope with my feelings.

Q3. How do you stay positive in the face of adversity?

Faith/prayer, bible study. Dance. I listen to music. Talk with a friend. Take a walk. Watch something that makes me laugh. I resist isolating myself.

Q4. What advice would you give someone else struggling with an obstacle?

Take breaks. Seek support. Lean on your faith. Exercise; movement helps your mind and body. Avoid isolation. If you keep it to yourself, no one can help you. Also, ask me!

Q5. Can workplace leadership skills translate into your personal life? If so, how?

Absolutely! My skills helped me to organize, develop and ask the right questions. I interviewed teams of doctors before I settled on one. I was able to effectively communicate my concerns to doctors and others involved.

Q6. How do you take care of yourself when coping with major challenges (physically, emotionally, spiritually)?

I take regular breaks from the problem at hand. I enjoy taking walks. There’s something about being outdoors or in nature. I reach out to friends. Rest. Laughter. Also what I feed myself helps me. I love a good bowl of soup.

Q7. What motivates you to do better and thrive in life?

Family. Health. Faith. Legacy. Desire to support others at difficult times.

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What do I say to someone diagnosed with cancer?

It’s breast cancer awareness month and this means you can buy anything pink. In fact, I challenge you to find something not pink during this month.

Unfortunately, though, what you can’t buy with those pink items is an education about breast cancer (or any cancer) including, prevention.

And while I’m so happy we can talk about breast cancer considering there was a time when women suffered in silence, I do think we need to do more than “pinkwash.” I think education should be the focus.

So today, let’s start with three things you can say to the newly diagnosed should you find yourself at a loss for words.

3 Simple Phrases

 

“I’m sorry”

The reality is this; there are no words of wisdom at a time like cancer. The word “cancer” alone can clear a room or a social calendar. It can render you speechless.

Saying these these seemingly little words can convey you’re concern and care without saying things that could offend. You can always go back later and say more heartwarming words once you’ve collected your thoughts.

“What can I do?”

I think these words speak volumes especially for the newly diagnosed. I remember walking out of the breast clinic the day I got my diagnosis and thinking, what comes next?

Chemotherapy is big, ugly and scary and each person has their own reaction to it. So just knowing you can count on someone to do anything for you is comforting.

“I’m gonna love you through it”

These are words plucked right out of Martina McBride’s song entitled “I’m gonna love you through it.” But they are perfect! However you say it, the best thing you can say is that you are going to be right there with them. There’s no greater gift.

 

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Useful Gift Ideas for the Breast Cancer Fighter

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Mental Unwellness Day

Did you know? One in five adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, experiences mental illness in a given year? (National Alliance Mental Health)

It doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m talking to “depression” usually finds its way into the conversation.

The current state of affairs, discord and day-to-day challenges can leave us feeling empty and emotionally drained.

We are inundated with issues and problems. The unknown. Poor health. Workplace abuse. Money problems. Aging.

All things that can trigger unhappiness and poor mental health.

And while these issues may not be the cause of Bipolar or Schizophrenia or any other mental illness, they certainly can irritate mental illness.

So what can I do?

  • Take a break from news.
  • Take a walk.
  • If your a bible reader, make time for personal study or reading.
  • Do things that bring you happiness inside.

No, it’s not gonna solve every problem you have. But, it may induce the happiness endorphins. And that’s a good way to fight back!

Don’t be afraid to call a friend or a family member. Share your truth with someone!

I started out my career as a suicide intervention counselor. Trust me, I never once felt bothered by a caller seeking conversation or help. Neither will your friends or family.

We must start to include mental health and wellness as an important part of overall good health.

In 2008 my friend Lara died by suicide. I miss our inside jokes. The lunches. The conversations. And her idiosyncrasies.