Call it a dress rehearsal for my upcoming nationwide launch of my next book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting later this year. Except that will be carefully planned and orchestrated. You see dress rehearsals are on my mind because last weekend was also my script-writing, stage production, and directorial debut for my daughters’ elementary school production of the show I cobbled together called, “An Evening at Vaudeville.” So mixed in with the wild speaking and media appearances, were daily after school rehearsals, with late nights of getting the program finished, pulling together costumes, and getting the volunteers organized. It was definitely a busy week.
However, my appearances in the media last week were more of a confluence of getting out there spreading my message through speaking and decent marketing, mixed in with a little bit of luck, I’ll freely admit. However, there are a few factors that led to me being featured in 5 different forms of media over the course of just one week, that I think could help your business as well.
- Local TV – I spoke at the Batavia, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Women in Business event for a paid presentation about Credibility and Cash Flow in Social Media. The day before the event, I received an email from one of the event organizers asking if it would be okay with me to have the a local film crew to videotape my presentation for replay on their local cable access TV. So some time this week my speech will appear on cable TV. I agreed on the condition that I receive a copy of the recording to use in my marketing.
- The lesson: Whenever anyone wants to record you, ALWAYS ask for the recording. As a speaker, you need that footage to put on your website, make a demo reel from, or at the very least share on social media as continued social proof you’re out there speaking and doing it well.
- Local Newspapers and Magazine – In conjunction with that same speaking gig in Batavia, the Chamber group had their PR pro send press releases to all the local papers and magazines. All I had to do was approve the copy and she sent it out. I did next to nothing to get my name in the media (not to mention the Chamber’s own websites and social media).
The lesson: Speaking for Chambers of Commerce groups, whether paid or free, you always get the benefit of the Chamber marketing on your behalf. That often means placement in local media, which gets your name out there and allows you to become the “go-to” person in your niche.
- Blog Talk Radio – One of my clients, Brian Basilico, has his own BTR program, BLT Radio, short for Business Life Transitions. He invited me to be a guest to discuss my upcoming book, Kill the Elevator Speech, Stop Selling, Start Connecting.
The lesson: Write a book. That’s first. When you have a book, people want to talk to you about it. Next, Blog Talk Radio is a platform that allows the hosts to store the content, so you can go back any time and use it over and over again. If you’re not sure what to say, have a look at Signature Speech(TM) for Authors for a free gift that will get you started.
- Podcast on iTunes – About a month or so ago, internationally-known author, trainer, and podcaster, Alicia Dunams held a contest to see who should be her next podcast guest. Alicia and I had met years ago on social media and then in person at a live event where I was one of the speakers. I was one of the finalists and because my message about speaking would resonate well with her authors, she decided to interview me about leadership and being “all in” – the name of her podcast.
The lesson: Know the people who are influencers in your community and in your niche. Use the internet to reach out a build relationships and meet them in person at live events so they will remember you.
- BBC – International TV – I recently began using a new app called “Jelly” for social questions and answers, which was released earlier this year by one of the founders and creators of Twitter, Biz Stone. I tend to jump on the newest social platforms as quickly as possible to secure my username and to check it out because many of my clients often look to me to talk about the newest communication tools. Then I was emailed by a producer for a TV programme (you have to spell it that way, because, you know, it’s British!), called “Click.” They have 330 millions viewers and were conducting a story on Jelly and would I be available to answer a few questions? Um, let me think…. YES!!!! So we scheduled it and I spent more than an hour getting the camera right, hurrying up and waiting, and doing the 10-minute interview that had to be boiled down to my 20 seconds of fame. You can see it below. They found me by being on the app. They invited me through my website, I’m convinced, because I had video of me on air to show I can do okay in a televised interview situation. UPDATE – The BBC has added the video to it’s own website right here.
The lesson: Be in the forefront in your area of expertise. Know what the newest innovations are and the newest and hottest trends. Plus do what you can to get any kind of local TV publicity. I learned from Shannon Cherry. The national and international media are far more likely to ask you to be a guest when they know you’ll be a decent guest.
That was my big week in media and speaking. I was so wiped out it took me three days to complete this post!!!
So here it is, my big moment in the international press. The story begins at 12:07 and I come in, literally for 20 seconds, at 14:26. Don’t blink!
At last night’s 86th presentation of the Academy Awards, on the red carpet it was all about the clothes, the jewels, high fashion and “who are you wearing.” During the Oscars TV broadcast it was all about Ellen Degeneres, ordering pizza, taking selfies, and breaking Twitter. Oh yeah… there were some statuettes given out, too.
Today is now all about who wore it best and an analysis of the acceptance speeches. This year there were no big memorable moments like in 1999 when Roberto Benigni after just winning for best actor, was announced the winner of best foreign language film and triumphantly and excitedly climbed up and onto the arms of the seats and seat backs to bound up onto the stage, applauding his audience all the way (video here for that). Yet even so, there were some touching moments and wonderful speeches.
Yesterday, I promised to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the speeches. Yet after watching, there were no real bad or ugly moments, just excellent and average ones. Plus, if you’ve been a reader for any period of time, you know I tend to be one for focusing on the positives.
So without further ado, here are my awards for The Best of Oscar Speeches from 2014:
Best Tribute to Mom:
Jared Leto, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Not only did Leto bring his Mom with him to the event, he thanked her in a sweet way by telling her story. He then had the audience’s attention for when he briefly mentioned the political and humanitarian cause, dedicating his Oscar to AIDS patients around the world.
What You Can Learn: Stories touch the heart and capture your audience’s attention and admiration. Start your presentations with a story and you’ll have your audience hanging on your every word.
Tonight is the 86th Academy Awards presentation. Over the years I’ve vacillated from being a huge fan – one year even attending an officially Academy-sanctioned Oscar party in downtown Chicago dressed in my very own red carpet-style gown (blue sequins from top to bottom as I recall) - to some years skipping watching the show altogether. I’ve had clients who had items featured in Oscar baskets and in this very moment I have an email in my inbox from Oscar.com with a live countdown clock.
Mostly, though, since I’ve been training speakers and teaching public speaking for a living, each year during and after the Oscars show, I’ve been pinged on social media and email when one of the winners makes a speech that totally misses the mark. This year, I came across a FABULOUS, funny video as a PSA for the winners that not only is hilarious to watch, but sums up some of the best advice I could ever give anyone who knows they are nominated for an award, especially those who will be nationally televised. Have a look:
Funny, right? That impressions-master Piotr Michael is on his way to some big things.
After watching that, I decided, this year during the Oscars, instead of just tweeting, I’d keep an more official running tally of the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the winning Oscar speeches. Check back here tomorrow for the full report. Let me know in the comments below your picks for the winners and we’ll see how it all turns out!
In the meantime, I’d like to point out that ALL the nominees have one other thing in common than working in the motion picture industry and being nominated for doing so: they are all at the top of their game, living in their own genius. When you find your own genius, you get noticed, and yes, you can even win awards. Go see the free webinar re-broadcast of how you can get started finding your own genius right away.
As I sit here writing this post I have about 927.5 things on my -to-do list that exists, as of this moment, only inside my head. [cue dramatic dum-dum-DUUUUUM music.] Now stop, before you ask how an item can be a .5 on a to-do list. It is inside my head. So there.
There are piles of laundry that have be to tossed into the washer, then other piles that need to be folded and put away; dinner somehow will sneak up on me if I don’t start thinking about planning what that will look like; my assistant asked me this morning about two different projects we’re working on; I have marketing messages to write and send; people to follow up with; a book of my own to review the edits on; a new book to organize, sort out and add to; volunteer activities to coordinate (although that part is done for the moment, I think!); class content to create; sponsors to find for a couple of events this year… and that’s just today. And I’m wondering if my 6th grader has basketball game tonight, gotta check her schedule. Oh and the taxes to do. Ick.
Note to self: Maybe this is why I should be using Bob the Teacher’s Mind Map stuff... to get all this out of my head…
Yet all those “things” that are clamoring for the attention of my ADD brain [squirrel!] that all somehow have to get done, all that “noise” inside my head reminded me of something as I was showering, when I do my best thinking, that the old adage, “the devil is in the details,” can mean more than what it commonly means.
Most people use the phrase, “the devil is in the details,” to mean that an idea or project or event is fun and exciting and interesting, but in order to pull it off there are a million little things that have to happen in order for the complete idea, project, or event to fully come together. That part isn’t always so fun, thus the usage of “devil.”
Beyond that most common meaning, however, it occurs to me that it’s those same details that can keep you from your most important work. The work you are on this earth to do.
When our brains and our lives are filled with the mundane, the “hurry up and get this done and move on to the next thing,” the minutiae of life, it’s so easy to forget that each us has a gift from God to share with the world; and in fact, we likely have many gifts. Yet, sadly, none of those gifts, our true genius, can be shared with the world if our brains and our laundry baskets are overflowing.
Now, that’s not to say you should chuck your to-do list, wherever it may be (on paper, on your smartphone app, or in your head) and remove yourself from all responsibilities. In fact, I suggest the contrary. Find a system that works for you to get all that “stuff” done and carve out time in your busy life to spend some precious time thinking about, working on, learning about, and doing things that will matter in 20 years. Because if you don’t carve out the time, soon 20 years will have come and gone and you’ll wonder what you did with the time.
Don’t believe me? What day is it right now as you read this? Ask yourself what you did in the past 7 days since the last time you were on the same day of the week. It’s likely you accomplished a bunch of small things. For example, if the laundry doesn’t get done, we have no clean clothes to wear; if the groceries aren’t purchased, dinner doesn’t get on the table; if we don’t interact on Facebook, the world could come to an end. But what BIG things were you able to get done that will impact the legacy you leave the world?
The devil can be in the details, because it’s those very details which are stopping your flow and not allowing your genius to shine through and stopping you in your tracks from sharing your gifts with the world.
For some, it means they don’t even know or remember why they are here. If you are alive and have breath in your body (something I don’t take for granted after surviving lung cancer), you have a purpose, gifts to share and serve the world with, what can be referred to as your unique genius. You simply have yet to discover it because of those darn “details.”
For others their unique genius is evident, but it’s those daily details that stop them from taking the time to truly develop those gifts. It’s like receiving a beautiful rosebush for your garden, but neglecting to water and fertilize it, allowing whatever weather comes to take care of it because you’re too busy. It may survive because it was planted where it belonged, but it will be neglected, and not grow to it’s full potential, and possibly never bloom. You must make the time to develop your genius.
Finally, for a few, they have found a way to carve out time to develop and appreciate their genius and gifts, but allow those daily devil’s details to stop them from sharing with the world. When you don’t, you waste your precious gifts keeping them to yourself, as if you a hoarder of blessings not willing to allow others in to experience your light. We are here to serve others with our gifts and you’ve got to deliver those gifts to the people who need them most.
It’s time to get your life on track for the greater things you are meant to do.
If you’re ready for that, join The Genius Factor today. Don’t let the devil throw the details in your way so you never get to bring your essence, light, gifts and true genius to the world.
I escaped the frigid Chicago winter and snow to Atlanta recently to attend an event called the Novice to Advance Marketing System, or NAMS.
Ironically, as I sat in the last row of the conference room, in my new long-sleeved turquoise cowl-neck sweater, I began to shiver. It was so COLD in that room. But that didn’t make it any less warm in spirit.
The keynote speakers at the event varied in their content and value they provided, as well as their skill on stage. One evening’s speaker, Ray Edwards, shared a message of hope. One of the things I most appreciated about Ray Edwards’ speech is that he stood in front of a room full of business people and professed his strong religious beliefs because that’s where the content of his speech was inspired.
It’s amazing to see when speakers present from a place of who they really are and what they truly believe because suddenly the room lights up. Not everyone in the room shared Ray’s strong Christian beliefs, but that didn’t matter. It was his message that mattered. Ray was speaking from his own God-given genius and I’d like to share what I learned based on his main points.
- You Are a Creator: Regardless of what you do, you are a creator. In our world of speaking, writing, and providing our expertise to others, it’s important to remember that you are constantly creating: content, an experience, a legacy for people to learn from.
- Wealth is an Act of Creation: Wealth is the result of creating massive value. Money isn’t something that we covet, but to look at as certificates of appreciation. The more value you can create, the more wealth you can accumulate. Isn’t that an awesome way to look at the money you receive for a job well-done? The cash in your hand represents certificates of appreciation for the value you provided. The greater the value you provide, the more certificates you receive. Woo-hoo! This reminds me of Bob Burg’s book The Go-Giver where he talks about the Law of Value stated as, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”
- Change the World: An entrepreneur’s position is to create value where there was nothing before. When you create value where there was none before, you literally change the world. And you get to change it for the better!
- To Break Bondage: There is a greed mindset, which says a person has to horde everything to himself because he fears there is only so much to go around. A poverty mindset says there isn’t enough and never will be enough. When you create value and change the world for the better, and in turn receive wealth from that, you can begin to break free of either of these mindsets, and see the world for what it is: an abundant universe of possibilities where we ALL can have success.
- Blessed & Blessing: It’s okay to be blessed so you can be a blessing in return. Be willing to receive the fruits of your labor and be blessed by them. Business in and of itself is good because doing business well allows you to receive and when you receive, you can in turn give. In the Bible it says, “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” When you are blessed you get to bless others.
- The Alarm Clock: Bad things happen; that is not up to us. How we deal with bad things, however IS up to us. We each have our own alarm clock and will each leave the earth someday. We should focus on what we are here to do without delay, distraction, or fear. I’ve personally been reminded of this fact having survived a childbirth experience that nearly ended in death for me and my child and then most recently cancer; I think I am on my third and final chance to get it right!
- What the World Needs Now: Love what you do, love the people you do it for, love the gift of being able to do it as well as you do, and love being able to do it tomorrow and the day after. Take joy in the work. When you work in a place of love, only good can come from it.
The alarm went off at 6:30AM Eastern time this morning, but I didn’t need it because the unmistakable aroma of coffee wafted into my room, where I luxuriated in a cloud of fluffy covers and down pillows, waking me gently, reminding me, I’m away from home, in a place where anticipation and excitement for learning and connection awaited a few floors below.
When I headed into the conference room, I found my seat at the back of the room, with the other speakers and faculty presenters who had ventured into the room. This morning I had the pleasure of sitting back and enjoying the opening keynote speaker.
As he was speaking, one thing he said resonated with me and inspired this post. And it was something he said in passing.
That’s the thing about being a speaker:
YOU might think your topic is one thing, but your audience members will take away all kinds of cool messages you didn’t even realize were going to be important to someone!
Back to what inspired me… the speaker talked about how when we are born, we are born with courage, which reminded me of the title of the Casting Crowns song, “You Were Made to Be Courageous.” You can enjoy the video and beautiful message below.
Too many people are hiding their genius and the messages they have inside them. And it’s so sad because the truth is you were made to be brave, strong, powerful and courageous. STOP DOING THAT!
If you’re not sure what your genius is, one of my colleagues and best friends, Tony Laidig, author of 21 Ways to Skyrocket Your Creativity, and I are teaming up to teach a brand new course called, “Your Genius Factor.” We’ll we showing you how to find your message, and when you do you’ll feel your courage because you’ll be so excited you won’t want to keep it inside. That’s when I’ll come in and share how to get that message out to the world.
Check out the course and join us. Find your genius. Feel your courage. And get your message out to the people who need you.
I’m tired of it!
You know that crazy roller coaster of entrepreneurial income? The one where you feel like a millionaire rock star one month and a pauper the next? The one when you work like a wild person and make a ton of cash (hopefully) but then when you don’t (or can’t) work you have to start scraping for coins in the couch cushions, at the bottom of your purse, and in the seats of the car? Roller coasters I LOVE, but THAT one, well it’s long time to get off.
The thing is it doesn’t matter how long or short of a time you’ve been in business. It doesn’t matter at what point of income you feel like a prince(ss) or a pauper. We all know the feeling. And if we’re being honest, it happens far too often.
So OK, for a minute, let’s say you’re a smarty pants and you’re thinking, “I make more than enough money speaking/coaching/consulting/serving clients. I have no idea what you’re talking about Felicia.” Good for you. And here’s the thing — ask yourself:
What happens in your business on the days you don’t work?
Or if you’re in a day job, and you take off? Maybe the kids are sick, or you’re feeling under the weather yourself (you knew you shouldn’t have gone to that hole-in-the-wall restaurant!), or maybe you get diagnosed with something serious and have to take off for more than just a couple days. What happens with your business then?
You likely don’t make money, that’s what.
If you’ve ever struggled through that, you’ll certainly agree that feeling like you *have* to work with clients, be on stage, or show up “or else” is not a fun way to live.
I learned that hard lesson last year when I had to take almost 6 months off work throughout the year because of serious health challenges. And I found out the hard way I still had some work to do.
Well, I’ve found the answer.
Actually, I’ve found 21 powerful yet simple ways to create passive income streams so on those days when you can’t (or don’t want to!) show up to work, you can still bring in cash! AND the great thing is because of my relationship I’ve built with David Perdew, the founder of NAMS where he’s had me keynote speak twice and teach on his faculty time and again, he’s given me a “super secret I’m the only one doing this right now” coupon code so you can get access to it all – valued at almost $200 – for FREE! Just use coupon code: FSPassive.
I’ve worked hard this year to develop more passive income streams, but after diving deep into the content David Perdew and my friend Nicole Dean, another faculty member at NAMS, have created and that you can get for FREE but only through tomorrow, is that I still have a long way to go and much more passive income to gain!
Today, right now: I’m throwing it down. Let’s build our passive income streams together!
Yes I know it’s the holidays. Yes I know it’s a busy time. And that’s exactly WHY you should seriously consider joining me in this challenge. When you’re busy and want to be doing fun things away from your business or want to put your head down and write your next book or create your next speech, you still want (and need) money coming in. That’s what passive income will do for you.
So together – let’s get it going. I’ll be posting my progress here on my blog and I’ve even made a dedicated Facebook group to support anyone who wants to join in the challenge with me.
Be sure to pick up the Found Money passive income workshop to get some ideas and get started. The original price of $197 is a great investment into your business but as I said, I managed to clinch a great deal for you as my valued customer.
For a limited time, you can have it at zero cost but hurry.
Go to this link then download and devour everything!
This offer goes away for good on December 8th.
If you miss this one, you are likely to find yourself in exactly the same position as you are now. Let’s change that and make money while we don’t work!
Add your comment below to let me know you’re in and join me on the Passive Income Challenge for Speakers, Authors, Consultants & Entrepreneurs Facebook group to keep accountable and bring in more passive income!
Funny story, really…
A few months ago, out of the blue I received an email from someone I’d never met, Nathan at Wallaby Web Design, inviting me to participate in a contest. All I’d have to do to win the $16,000+ prize package was make a 5-minute or less video explaining why I should win and submit it by the end of the week.
Being a competitive person, I was up for the challenge. I had visions of using screen capture video to show my messy website, many pages of disorganized info, and tons of content collecting virtual dust. Except that week, I was headed to speak at a multi-day event, and one of my presentations was scheduled at the last minute, so I was busy preparing. Still, I didn’t want to miss a chance to win something as cool as the package they were offering, so one evening in my hotel room while at that event, before running out to meet a few of the other speakers for dinner, I turned my laptop camera on, spoke directly to the camera, and shot what became my winning submission.
Because it had to be less than 5 minutes long, and my actual recording was 5 minutes, 41 seconds, later that night (waaaay later), I was forced to edit the video to get it under time. At that point I was tired and you may know my infamous lack of technical skills anyway – holy rough cut, Batman. I ended up cutting words right in the middle – what a disaster!
Yet as I write this I’m on a plane headed to an exclusive lodge in ski country outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. There I’ll spend the next three days working on my business, shooting videos for my website, and getting hands-on help from expert online marketing professionals. I get to do this four times with the lodge stay and all meals included.
I’m also in the middle of making major changes to my website and blog with a new logo, totally new design, new pages, new everything.
Over the course of the next 10 months I’m going to have 36 landing pages made just for me, complete with video, written copy, opt-in forms, follow-up emails, and even gorgeous custom graphics.
This is the prize package I won, valued at more than $16,000. I’m getting ALL of it – plus personal private coaching – FOR FREE.
How did a TERRIBLY rough cut video end up winning a $16,000 contest? At first I thought maybe mine was the only entry. But it turns out my video was just one of many entrants. The reason I won was because I was able to communicate my message – what I wanted to say to win – from the heart and speak to my “audience,” the folks putting on the contest.
I did it with nothing more than a simple “talking head” or “direct to camera” video.
Video is a powerful tool for your business, no matter if you’re trying to win something or sell something, and we’re just in the infancy of seeing video do its thing online.
If you’re not yet using video, and want to know how, the absolute easiest way to start is by simply turning on your camera and talking. If you don’t know what to say or how to say it, that’s where I come in.
I’ve created a Speaking on Video Boot Camp where we’ll spend just 3 days together getting you in video-making shape. And by the end of the three days you’ll even have your first three videos DONE. Can I get a woo-hoo?!
You can learn more and register at the Speaking on Video Boot Camp registration page, but there’s one more thing you need to know.
In honor of winning the prize package I did, and because I’m headed to Salt Lake City, Utah this weekend to reap some of the rewards of the prize package, I want to offer you a special deal. When you visit the page, enter coupon code “Utah” (without the quotation marks) and you’ll save $50 on the upcoming program, which is already 50% off what I originally sold it for. It’s just my way of sharing the video-making love.
Go see more right now because that coupon code is only good for as long as I’m in Utah – til Monday. Then come on back to watch this poorly edited, yet winning video submission! (You will laugh.)
Once again I was added to another mailing list because “at some point our paths have crossed.” I promptly unsubscribed.
Yes, I can use a different email address on my business cards, have a VA check that list, come up with multiple formats of cards with and without email, etc. But why should I have to do all that?! Here’s the key lesson: Just because you have my business card does not mean that I’m even in the market for what you sell.
I once had a sales guy I know pretty well tell me that’s what the point of networking and meeting people is… to get their cards, add them to his list, and then they get to learn more about him. My point? No it’s not. It’s about building relationships and honest connecting.
Here’s a better way: You want me to subscribe to your email marketing list? Send me a personal invitation from you telling me where we met and suggesting why, based on our conversation, I might be interested in what you share via email. Include a link to where I can sign up and let me decide for myself. Otherwise, when you’ve added me to your list simply because we crossed paths, you’ve alienated me before I even get a chance to know you and there’s almost nothing you can do at that point to make me want to connect with you. As author Scott Stratten of UnMarketing commented on my Facebook rant about this very topic today: “People need to have opt-in newsletters, not opt-out.”
As I write this I have tears of humility in my eyes and my heart is overflowing with gratitude.
Today is a joyous occasion for me.
One year ago today I received a miracle. And it was because of you.
I was cured 100% of lung cancer.
It happened through my amazing medical team and the miraculous part came about from the power of prayer. Sharing this story is my way to say thank you and perhaps, if you are battling something in your life: illness, addiction, heartache, you will feel inspired and hold onto hope for a miracle to cure your life, too.
After many months of x-rays, tests, and two bronchoscopies (a procedure that did a look-see down my windpipe to the outer region of my lung), stemming from a serious case of pneumonia that never fully resolved, and a negative biopsy of a tumor found at the entrance to the middle lobe of my right lung, I was diagnosed with adeno-squamous small cell lung cancer on September 20, 2012.
Suddenly I was in a medical whirlwind that those who have ever received a cancer diagnosis know all too well. Seemingly endless tests from CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, blood tests galore and more gave way to appointments with specialist after specialist all sharing their take on my challenge and some gingerly sharing horrible things like “5-year survival rates,” which for a never-smoker, non-asbestos-exposed, no-other-typical risk factor case in a young 42 year old female, were pretty good at about 80-85%. I did meet with this one jerky oncologist who, before examining me, and barely opening my file told me the others were either lying or idiots and I had only about a 60-65% chance of living to see my 47th birthday. He did so in front of my worried father, who carted me to every single one of those visits. You’ll be happy to know, I never saw that oncologist again in my life, and had I not been pre-occupied with cancer, would likely have written a strongly-worded letter to someone in charge. I wanted honesty and truth, but above all I wanted and deserved as a human being COMPASSION and EMPATHY.
I knew family and friends were praying for me. And I decided to set up a private Facebook group for those close to me so I could update my status from one appointment to the next. I chose social media because most of my family and friends were there regularly anyway and it was easy for me to “check in” at hospitals and so forth, add photos, and more.
After all those visits I quickly weighed my options, chose a surgeon, and scheduled my surgery for the day after what could have been the final speaking gig of my entire career. Then I had an odd sense of feeling relieved and at peace. I knew, somehow, that everything was going to be okay.
Next is when the miracle of YOU happened.
The night before surgery, nervous yet calm, I sent out a plea to my community of subscribers, my blog readers, and my social media friends and followers, numbering close to 30,000. Here’s what I wrote:
“If you’re the praying type, please send up a prayer for me and the surgeon (Dr. McAfee) that all goes smoothly, is easy, and painless. If you’re more of the visualizing type, please visualize the IV going in the first time easily and my body healthy and complete. And if you’re of the sending good energy type, I’ll take all the good vibes you can muster!”
That short request led to an avalanche of prayers and positive energy from friends and people around the world, in 22 countries, most of whom I had never met in my life. I was added to church prayer lists, lifted up in Facebook prayer warrior groups, and thought about in the private hearts of people around the world. I’m in tears now as I remember it and so grateful for every single one; I can never know how many people even paused for a moment, but I know it all led to my own miracle.
The next morning as I was prepped for surgery before dawn, I silently wept, afraid most of the terror of the IV going in. You see, I’m what they call a “hard stick” and have had occasions where more than a dozen nurses, doctors, and EMTs took over two hours just to run one IV with more than two dozen attempts – each a painful stick of a needle and then some digging inside trying to find access to a vein. Much to my shock and horror, I not only had to have one IV run that day, but because of the multiple medications and various procedures, I needed TWO – one in each arm. I had held it together pretty well over the past couple of weeks, not because I felt the need to hold it together, but because I really was simply working through the process of what needed to be done, but that news was enough to bring the tears forth. My husband was in the room and one of my best friends texted me comfort.
As I was wheeled into the surgical waiting area, away from my husband now, alone with strangers who would soon be cutting into my body, I tried to relax (as if) and focus on the various instructions, repeating my name and birthdate to at least seven people. The next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery area and my surgeon telling me what she had found.
Similar to most cancer surgeries, when the doctor removed my tumor and lymph nodes, each was examined while I was in the operating room to make sure nothing else needed to be removed and to once again verify the specific diagnosis. That’s when they found something curious – and miraculous.
What was only days before diagnosed from an actual tissue sample as “small cell adeno-squamous lung cancer,” suddenly became something different.
At this point in the story, you should know there are three categories of lung cancer: small cell with its variations, large cell with its variations, and something so rare it’s barely ever mentioned called muco-epidermoid. In fact, in a 20-year study at Harvard University Cancer Centers, exactly 12 cases of this muco-epidermoid lung cancer were diagnosed and treated. Of those 12, not one person died, the cancer never spread, and it never returned. So my diagnosis from a much more lethal small-cell type of lung cancer almost certainly requiring radiation and chemotherapy, to something that became a relatively easy “cut and paste” job requiring only occasional follow-up, was the miracle I received that day.
It’s all thanks to you, my community, my family, my friends and the power of prayer.
I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for my next book. For now, as always, I like to provide a few take-away lessons for you, dear reader. So here’s what you can do when you find yourself in a life-challenging situation:
- Build Your Connections Before You Need Them: I’m not getting on my “public speaking rocks” soapbox, but I will tell you most of my connections, and eventually the prayers and support, all came because those people saw me speak either in person or virtually through the Internet. However you do it, build your network and nurture your relationships because someday you may need an army of people to reach out to.
- Kick the Negative Ninnies to the Curb: Stay away from people, even doctors or other specialists and experts who don’t support you or treat you how you want and deserve to be treated. Period.
- Surround Yourself with Loved Ones and Let Them Circle the Wagons: There is virtually nothing family and friends can do for you medically, if that is your challenge, so they often feel helpless. Allowing them to do for you in any way they physically can while you take care of yourself, rest, and recover is a gift so they feel useful and as if they are contributing to your wellness (because they are!) while at the same time giving you the time and space to heal that you desperately need.
With that, I’d like to end with a song that is uplifting that I love listening to. Mandissa thinks you’re an over-comer and I do too! And from the bottom of my LUNG I thank you gratefully for the miracle.