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Even as a child, I admired mastery.  At our cottage on Lake Muskoka, I watched from the boat as friends of my parents took turns traveling behind the boat at what felt like very high speeds.

When I was just four years old, I stood on the dock, feet thrust into adult-sized water skis holding onto the ski rope handle wanting desperately to soar across the water.  The next summer my wish was granted but shortly after, I noticed the teenagers purposely losing a ski and flying about on only one.  There was a next level to master.

All my life I have loved not only developing my own areas of expertise but also watching others master challenges and become experts in their field.  The dedication, discipline and focus this requires make mastery a worthwhile effort.  Some areas in my life required more time, energy and resources to develop expertise.  For the most part, I have embraced the challenge of this process.

But sometimes, you become a reluctant expert because of the circumstances life visits upon you.  I am reluctant expert in care giving for loved ones.  I am reluctant expert in the personal impact cancer has when it hits close to home.  I am a reluctant expert in loss, major life transitions and learning to go on ~ no matter what.

In many ways, I would prefer not to understand the challenges these arenas present to those going through them.  But I cannot change the events that occurred.  So I get to choose whether to sit wishing for a different hand of cards or play the ones I got to the best of my ability knowing that even in a tough hand, there can be an ace or two.  Coaching is my way of turning lower number cards into a run.

I have learned powerful lessons and ways to approach life that have moved me recently to refine my coaching practice to really focus on helping those impacted by cancer.  There is a life beyond diagnosis, treatment, care giving and loss.

So as we proceed into the New Year, my writing will reflect this more, though it will be rich with insights for anyone facing a major transition or wishing to live a transformed life.  If you know someone who has been or currently is impacted by cancer, please forward along a link to my blog.

Living with and caring for someone with cancer was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life.  It demanded the most from me and sometimes it asked for what felt like too much.  There were moments I thought it would crush me.  Some days it shredded me but then other days it created incredible clarity for me and taught me valuable lessons.   I learned these lessons through the filter of Gary’s cancer but they are lessons for life, not just for those facing a health crisis.

We each must become an expert in our own lives.  No one can be that for us.  But experience can help create shifts, generate new paradigms and offer hope.  It can cut through the darkness, help ignite the brilliance of each individual and accelerate the recovery.  This is how I help others work through confusion, fear, the unknown, the I can’ts and the who am I nows.  Welcome to the next part of the journey.

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