Pro Tip From a Cancer Survivor: Don’t Wait for a ‘Circuit Breaker’

Are you guilty of coasting through life without really stopping to think about whether you‘re on the right path?

Are you guilty of coasting through life without really stopping to think about whether you‘re on the right path? What would it take for you to make time to figure out what’s really important?

I was with a close friend of mine recently who is currently in the midst of chemotherapy (for breast cancer). She’s a woman with a big career, gorgeous husband, a huge heart and beautiful soul. She also has a tendency toward workaholism.

Six months back there was not an inch of doubt in her mind, that she was doing what needed to be done. Kicking goals, breaking through glass ceilings, thoroughly immersed in achieving, achieving, achieving. Eye’s on the prize, take no prisoners, going all the way to the top.

Now she’s not so convinced. In fact she repeated to me over and over that she felt like the Universe had sent her a ‘circuit breaker’. Isn’t it a travesty that modern lives require wake up calls to the extent of a cancer diagnosis to cut through our internal bullsh*t?

Of course this isn’t new news. Almost every account I’ve ever read of truths revealed by the dying lists working too hard (or something similar) at the top. Up there next to things like worrying too much about what other people think and letting yourself be happier.

In retrospect, I confess, my cancer diagnosis was a circuit breaker too. Six years on, while I’ll never be glad I was diagnosed, the silver lining was (and is) the slap in the face reality check that came with it.

My realities might be different than yours, but trust me, you don’t need to wait for your version of a face slap. For starters, you can try mine on for size.

  • Worrying about what might happen takes away from the wonder of today, be present now
  • Waiting for the right man (insert job, baby, pay rise) is a poor excuse for not being happy, don’t wait, it’s already inside you
  • Experiences are MUCH more important than things — don’t buy the coat, book the trip
  • It’s important to think about your legacy and how you want to leave this world eventually — and make it bigger than in the hands of your children
  • Figuring out what you’re uniquely good at & being productive while at it is more valuable than number of hours spent
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people is as important as breathing — you want energy givers not takers

None of us know how long we’re going to be here living this precious life. So ask yourself this; if I was given a year to live how would I invest my time and energy? Don’t wait for a circuit breaker, like we did. In fact break the circuit yourself. The circuit that is the apathy, the habits, the routine, the expectations. Then get busy living the best days of your life right now.

Originally published at medium.com

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