Your experience in life is all about about your perspective. Determination, gratefulness, and optimism are matters of choice.
Last weekend in Philadelphia, as I walked alongside a sea of pink in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, I was given a clear reminder of the importance of perspective. Walkers were joined by hurricane Joaquin this year, as he wreaked havoc on the beautiful fall Northeast weather. While cold and rain may have dampened the enthusiasm just a bit, in no way did it diminish the collective spirit. A little hurricane was no match for this unwavering bunch.
This is, after all, a group of people who know a bit about perspective. If the choice is between bad weather and chemotherapy, this group of 1,000 strong will take a bitter rain any day of the week.
Sometimes, the only thing you have control over in life is your outlook on it. Breast cancer survivors, as well as those who lost loved ones too soon, know that we can do something about it. They know that we must do something about it. So each year they raise money for research and they walk, no matter what the weather. They know from experience that the human spirit will succeed with determination and perspective – and by continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
My favorite part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is not just bonding with those you know, but also with the people you meet along the way. So often we can get caught up in our own lives. It is a wonderful thing to be able to see life from another perspective, and I will be forever grateful for the gift of being able to hear their stories. Like that of EJ, who walks for himself each year because he is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed at the age of fifteen. People like Doug, who walks with family members in honor of his mother, fundraising all year round. Even his father (who is physically unable to participate) has become a fixture along the route, motivating walkers to keep moving through the pain. And people like my friend Trina, who walks in memory of her mother.
The people who participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, walkers and crew alike, choose not to sit at home waiting for a cure. They cannot stay idle.
Early on Sunday morning, though it was still dark outside, the Convention Center was buzzing with activity. I began chatting with a lovely woman as we dragged our suitcases towards the drop-off in unison with one another. She confessed to me that she was unable to leave the building on the second day of the 3-Day. Sensing my curiosity, she continued to explain. Earlier in the week, her doctor increased the dosage on her chemotherapy pill, and it was wreaking havoc on her stomach. She mentioned that not only was the first day of the walk difficult because of the weather and the mileage, but also because of her stomach discomfort.
That sweet little lady could have stopped talking at that moment and would have earned my respect forever. She did her best to walk over 23 miles on Day 1 in a hurricane while on chemotherapy. She could have dropped the microphone right there, but what she said next was even more astounding.
Undeterred by not feeling well, she came up with a plan. While the rest of us were walking outdoors on Day 2, this incredible woman set her activity tracker on GO, and set out on her own route, walking laps around the Convention Center – until she hit 20 miles. This weekend for her was about finishing what she has started. Not a hurricane nor chemotherapy can stop this woman from moving forward.
Perspective can come in the form of determination to finish what we have started. When you are faced with a challenge, having perspective is everything. It is up to all of us to choose a perspective that empowers. At the end of the day, life really is about putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to move forward.
Disclosure: I am a proud ambassador for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. If you have any questions about the event, please ask away!