2015: Looking Back to Move Forward
A little over a year ago I was sitting in a little café with our web designer Irene Hoffman to work on our new site when I got a call from the radiologist with the results from a breast biopsy. The lump was malignant.
I put the phone down and cried on Irene’s shoulder. I looked around the café at the people going about their lives and thought I was the only one among them with a death sentence. That’s the truth about a diagnosis like cancer. At first, it’s all doomsday and melodrama. Stepping into the big fat unknown is terrifying.
A year later, after several rounds of chemo, radiation, and all the vagaries that accompany invasive ductal carcinoma, the unknown is known, as much as we can ever know the unknown. I mean, we all have a death sentence, right? But now the website is finished. And I am also finished with treatment. The tumor was small and contained, no lymphs affected, and if the next round of tests go well, I’ll be in the clear.
I told my family and friends – they all rallied by becoming my Boobie Posse – and I fell into the arms of great love and support. But I didn’t go public. I was afraid that if I blogged and Facebooked my experience, our business would go under. I thought people would think, “Oh, I’m not going to bother Lisa, she’s probably not feeling well.”
In retrospect, it was a good choice because I adore my work, my clients. I adore blogging and writing at LinkedIn and anywhere else I’m invited. But I had to say no to travel. To teaching and training, other than our online courses. So I focused on private consulting, and deepening my expertise. With those clients, I disclosed what was happening because there were times when the chemo would sack me for days.
Looking back, the year was full of growth an opportunity.
Business for Victoria and me expanded exponentially, despite the cancer, or maybe because of it. What I hold most dear is the profoundly deep way we grew together as partners. We spent countless hours on the phone talking about what was important to us, what we really loved and wanted more of, and what we no longer wanted to do. We both chose to focus on what made us happy.
Looking forward, that’s what I wish for all of you.
To focus on what makes you happy. And something about 2015 feels positively electric. It’s a new year, and anything is possible.
So on the morning of January 1, I dropped an entire jar of sugar on the kitchen tile, and spent the next half hour cleaning up the stickiness and shattered glass. The possibilities for me in that moment were infinite. Irritation, anger, self-loathing, or even a declaration that “Oh great, so this is how 2015 is going to go, huh?”
But I had already declared that 2015 would be my year of health and wickedly great fitness. And that meant no sugar. So the Great 2015 Sugar Debacle was really an affirmation that I had already begun. I went on with my day.
So focus on what makes you happy. That focus is about choosing what you say yes to, while also saying no a gazillion times to those things that really aren’t life-affirming, or career-building, or generative. If you don’t like getting a ton of email, unsubscribe (and that means to this list if you so choose). If you don’t like your job, get a new one. If you don’t like that friend who criticizes you all the time, don’t spend time with her.
Okay, you’re free to go. Happy New Year all!