August 2008
THRIVE! A Cancer Survivor Says "Why Wait?"


Dear ,
Today I'm thinking about July 18th. I'm in the Texas Hill County northwest of San Antonio with 150 kids and over 80 volunteers who know better than anyone that life it too short to waste on things that don't CFL logomatter. And that there is just as much power in trying as in doing. 
I'm at camp, more specifically, a childhood oncology camp. Please don't murmur the standard "how sad" comment because we're not. We are here together celebrating our sameness, our bonds with each other. Cancer is our equalizer and our inspiration. Camp is our reminder that we can be afraid and still be happy and that we can face anything together. At camp we have permission to be totally who we are, and it's all good.
Right now I'm contemplating the elements challenge course - the one with the big tall poles, ropes and the rock wall to climb. Several years ago I only made it halfway up that big wall. My "failure" has been bugging me ever since. I want to go up that wall! After all, during the years I've been at camp, I've seen blind children climb that wall like it was nothing. I've watched kids gently coax fearful friends into trying and cheering them on while they climb, to the top or not. The courage of trying, or sometimes saying "I can't" is what matters. I believe that there is as much power in trying as in doing. So why am I afraid to try? I realize I am just afraid of getting uncomfortable, of looking silly, of not making it up the wall at all, of letting down people who believe in me. 
For most of us, climbing the wall represents a willingness to face the unknown; a need to take advantage of doing things now rather than later; and a way to encourage and champion ourselves and others as we made our best efforts to climb those walls and poles. As I watched the kids, their support of each other reminded me that I could use their encouragement, along with my friends and teachers to keep myself going up that wall; and they would cheer me whether I went up two feet or to the top.
So I decide to try again. With the support of my friends and the kids, I suit up and get ready toCFL logo climb, while my stomach is churning and all of the reasons why I shouldn't do this are spinning in my head. But with a last look at my team, I put my first foot up and everything fades into the background as I keep going. I'm not sure which is sweeter, the sound of the cheering or the clang of the bell when I got to the top.
Afterwards, I feel incredibly energized and alive. Moments like this, when I step around my hesitation and just do it, are a reminder that some of the best things in life are unexpected.  Stepping through the fear and discomfort to start the climb was so much easier than the vague feeling of dread and failure I had been carrying around because I hadn't tried. 
The support of the people who were rooting for me made all of the difference; and reminded me how we all can help each other be more successful than we may dream possible. With their help, I had taken a risk, a huge step outside of my comfort zone. And I was fully present and loving each and every moment of it. 
It's amazing how much stepping outside your comfort zone while being present and appreciating the people and world around you can motivate and inspire you.
Read below for a few of the many ways you can be more fully present in your life.
The Words of Hoda Kotb remind survivors to reconnect with what really matters. "Every woman who survives breast cancer gets ... that the small things don't matter as much ... you get rid of the people who are hurting you ... because for once in your life you get it."
- Hoda Kotb, NBC Today Host, in an interview from the Summer 2008 issue of Women & Cancer.
Contact Coach for Living to talk about what "getting it" means to you.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ME? workshops at various cancer treatment centers & support organizations.
Workshop for Parents of Children With Cancer
Who do you know who wants to be happy now? Forward Thrive to them; they'll receive a FREE Personal Values Exercise when they
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Ask the Survivor Coach...

Do you recommend meditation for your clients?  
A:  Absolutely. I think it's a very underutilized tool. Mediation can create space for new possibilities and perspectives in our lives. It's something that quite often cancer patients and survivors are drawn to. 
I recommend meditation or any way of going within yourself and quieting your mind to any and every client, whether they are facing cancer or not. 
Learning how to be still is a gift we can give ourselves. After all, if we don't slow down, how can we really appreciate the beauty of everything that is going on around us every single day?

If your question is used you will win a Life Balance Exploration session!
Practice being fully present and appreciating moments of your day. 
Why wait? This moment is all you really have at any given time; the past is gone and the future hasn't happened yet.  We tend to forget how fleeting the chance to savor our life moments like the gifts that they are can be. This realization can be especially poignant after a life-altering event like cancer.
You or your loved ones may find a new appreciation for the day-to-day things that feed your spirit and make you happy. And in today's stressful world, becoming aware of these everyday gifts can help lift your spirits in no time. You can:
  • Become conscious of your breathing. This will take you out of the past or future and back to the moment.
  • Listen to your intuition and connect with the things you're drawn to without asking "why?" 
  • Scan the scenery around you and look for things that make you smile or that resonate with you. Stay with them for a few moments. 
  • Engage the people around you. Practice random acts of kindness. Share a smile or a joke with the person next to you in line. Take a few extra minutes playing with your child or pet. Hug someone for no reason.
  • Close your eyes and remember a thrilling moment in your life. Imagine it's happening right now.
Notice how your own tension subsides as your mind quiets and you get into the present and out of the past and future. Being fully present in your life is your birthright. You can claim it if you choose to.
Let's practice being fully present during a free 30-minute coaching session. learn more >>>
Cancer Survivors Learn To Take Back Control of Their Lives.
One of the hardest things about living with a cancer diagnosis is fear of the unknown; the forced changes that we go through. It changes us and the people we love. As a cancer survivor, I understand the joys, fears, gifts and challenges that come with the cancer experience, and can help you or someone you love create a new "Normal" life as a survivor. I can help you learn to embrace the future, accept your emotions and set your priorities as you deal with the inevitable changes that cancer brings.
Fear, joy, uncertainty, gratefulness, frustration, fatigue and hope (most likely a combination of them all and more) are just a few of the emotions you may be experiencing. You may have no idea why you feel like you feel, what to expect next or how to get started taking control back of your life. Fortunately, I can help. 

Survivor coaching works because it can teach you to make choices and decisions based on what matters most to you. You can learn to live authentically NOW, not in the future, no matter what your circumstances. Sharing and learning with another survivor can help create noticeable positive changes in your outlook on life and clarity about your future. 
Survivor coaching can help you:
  • Address and share your fears and concerns.
  • Learn to let others help you.
  • Start to regain control of your life.
  • Laugh and have fun.
  • Decide what to do next.
  • Be honest and realistic with yourself.
  • Help you make the things that really matter to you priorities in your day-to-day life.
  • Get excited about the rest of your life.

Contact Paula to talk about starting to improve your quality of life.

What have you done today that made you smile? 

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Paula Holland De Long                   

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Life coach and cancer survivor Paula Holland De Long is an authority on how the lessons of survivorship can bring joy, passion and purpose to anyone's life now rather than later. Her support programs for survivors are offered at cancer treatment centers and support organizations. Her women's teleconference action groups attract participants from around the country. To learn more about how you can live your best life now visit