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  • Cancer not Lying: The Best Thing That Could Happen

    Stacy Kramer’s TED Talk on the gift of surviving cancer is an extraordinary story about living and not dying. In a HuffPo editorial, she describes her brain tumor as an unexpected gift. She compares it to the uncertain, rocky road of disadvantaged students.

    Kramer’s personal brand encompasses wisdom, compassion and gratitude. Her embrace of the events in her life, as well as her generous, eloquent perspective on anyone’s hard times: is as extraordinary as her survival. She doesn’t take a mawkish view about the silver lining in the black cloud, but she entertains the idea.

    She makes it nearly impossible to not think of your own struggles. So I stared at my own after reading her piece.  Maybe you will now stare at yours.

    Consider this. We all have our struggles, some more dramatic or obvious than others. Some define us. Some are easy to see and others are hidden from view, or at least until scrutinized. Steven Hawking and Lindsay Lohan come to mind, as their personal brands emerge in some part, from their personal struggles. Hawking with his nearly incapacitating physical challenges and LiLo with what looks like her psychobiological ones.

    A rare person would take on the harness of hardship willingly, or at least you would think. The personal brand of the new Pope Francis does seem rooted in poverty, chastity and obedience. Mother Teresa’s personal brand seems to be rooted in service, compassion and personal visibility (at least according to the new commentary on her life and times). Other spiritual leaders come to mind as well. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put himself in harm’s way.

    But rarely would someone with a lesser calling choose to struggle, right?

    All this reflection compels me to ask: am I doing anything to invite struggle or injury upon myself? Are you doing anything to cause hardship in your life?

    Unintentionally making a mistake isn’t a hardship you bring onto yourself. By nature, such a mistake is akin to an accident. Like a brain tumor or being born poor: most of us have something that has happened to deprive or delay our progress.

    But there are other black clouds you may have attracted. These may be casting a shadow on your personal brand.

    Lying would be the darkest cloud with the most lingering shadow. It would, no matter how I stare at it, not seem to morph into something that had value, like that valued silver lining. I am watching this cloud hovering above an otherwise agile young manager at work and I know it is good for nothing. It is nothing but a career-ending injury. It is like a time bomb.

    There are other dark forces you might be drawing to hover about you. When you engage in gossip, make unreasonable complaints or arguing, and steal ideas from co-workers or resources from your company.

    These are not hardships in service of the greater good or a spiritual quest.

    Don’t visit unnecessary ailments on yourself. You have already been “blessed” with enough shortcomings, challenges, and accidents of birth or life that you must wrestle with or try to embrace. Read Stacy Kramer’s piece and see if you are inspired to take the gifts of misfortune, and divest yourself of those behaviors casting a shadow on you.


    Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen


    Nance Rosen, MBA is author of Speak Up! & Succeed: How to get everything you want in meetings, presentations and conversations. She blogs at NanceRosenBlog.com. She is also on the faculty of the UCLA Business and Management continuing executive education program. Formerly, Nance was a marketing executive at the Coca-Cola Company, president of the Medical Marketing Association, first woman director of marketing in the Fortune 500 technology sector, host of International Business on public radio and NightCap on television, an entrepreneur and a general manager at Bozell Advertising and Public Relations (now Omnicom).

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    One comment on “Cancer not Lying: The Best Thing That Could Happen
    1. avatar

      Hello Fellow Cancer Warrior!

      My name is Allison and I read your survival blog and it truly has moved me! I wanted to introduce myself and my new t-shirt line to you. I wanted to start a tshirt line because I had a few bad days due to chum and just wanted to scream out to the world how I felt. One night I had a vision to express myself and others on how we felt about cancer! And my dream came true with http://www.warriorteeshirts.com. I am doing something special in the beginning of the line and that is limited editions. Part of the proceeds will go to non-profit cancer organizations. I would love for you to take a minute to look at my line and even spread it through out your friends and family. Im also on facebook under Warrior Tee Shirts. Thank you so much and continue to live a beautiful cancer free life!

      Allison Warrior Pickens

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