Feeling Empowered For 2016

So the long awaited festivities are over, and our lives will very soon be getting back to normal. It has been great catching up with friends and spending time with loved ones and as you are all aware, this season is a very poignant one now, as I celebrate the continued success of my Christmas stem cell transplant from 2007. The experience of my illness and continued treatment has taught me so much, but the most important lesson has been the value of time. Aside of treatment I spend my time doing things I choose to do and catching up with people I want to, rather than do what I previously had to for work. There is now a strange feeling of ‘liberation’ about how I live. When I received my terrible diagnosis it seemed to trigger something in my brain that totally changed the way I viewed life. Work was a massive part of me, but given my ability to do that was taken from me I decided that my life must be used positively.

My cancer work has given me the purpose I crave, but the delight is I am able to fit that around everything else, unlike fitting my social life round my work as previously. women-empowerment-quotes-hd-wallpaper-17Everyday is like a weekend, and of course I no longer feel the urge to go crazy and reward myself for my hard work. Dinners out and time with loved ones is much more frequent, and I now see my grandchildren more than I saw my own boys, as I realise what I missed out on the first time round. When I was working I was delighted to have a couple of weeks off, but if I’m honest a few days is adequate now, as I look forward to the challenges that the new year will bring.

I still do business lunches but at my leisure, and meeting people I want to meet. My time is very much in demand from people who want to use my experience in some way to benefit their own projects, which I am delighted to help where I can, but I am still amazed how many people want things for nothing. They seem genuinely surprised when I ask them how they can help me? In a lot of cases I’m not even talking money, just maybe sharing my website details in their own community. Even on Twitter/Facebook where people constantly ask me to share their work, when many don’t even follow or those that do have never shared my weekly blogs ever! After all my years of learning in the ‘cancer world,’ I feel I am well prepared for the exciting projects I have in front of me for 2016. Working with people who also have a genuine desire to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Having now met thousands of people in this sector, I can very quickly sort the givers from the takers!

The irony I see here is that I was becoming a prisoner to my situation, but the fact that there was nothing left to lose by totally changing my life, has eventually given me the confidence to live the life that I choose, although within much stricter boundaries both health wise and financially. Don’t get me wrong, it was not an immediate ‘nirvana.’ With struggling health, no life can be considered good, but I have got used to that side of things. Lacking a steady income of course proves difficult, but again we have altered our life accordingly. Being around the house and hospital so frequently has taken a great adjustment for both me and my wife also, but we are managing that well now.

For me 2016 will start with real excitement and optimism! My health is a major factor in what I will be able to do but I now rarely consider it, because it is out of my control and puts my brain automatically into negative mode. My new projects will enable me to make a difference around the world and help put my work into the mainstream. When I started doing this, I knew there were many gaps but I hadn’t realised the impact that we are having on so many people,receiving many messages daily. There is so much more to do and with some great people helping me now, we can reach out in very different ways too!

People continually ask me what plan I had when I started, and with my prognosis I had very little need for one! overcoming-challengesMy answer now is to reach as many people as I can, but just as in my business life, when I thought I was running out of ideas, someone comes into my life who opens another door for me. Now I have a ‘direction of travel’ without a specific ‘route.’ With so many factors out of my control I am learning to enjoy the unpredictability of my life, waking up not knowing what the next call or mail may bring. When I came out of hospital in such poor shape I could never have imagined the things I would be doing now. Being able to help so many people affected by cancer, not just in the UK but around the world, is a fabulous feeling. But things move very quickly now, and to be invited to be part of some incredibly innovative work in the near future is a great privilege.

I appreciate how lucky I have been, given the complexities of my disease. Initially I thought I was becoming a prisoner of it, but with some fabulous long term support from my wife and clinicians I now feel empowered to do some things I want to try. Enjoying more risk taking and boundary pushing, which made me successful in my business. Standing still is moving in reverse in my world so I am continually looking for new ways to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. Personally I can’t wait to start 2016!

What are your hopes for the New Year? Maybe you are facing some tough challenges? Please feel free to share your thoughts, hopes and aspirations below.

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  1. Great article Chris. “There was nothing left to lose ” says it all. I always tell people don’t wait until you have cancer to do what you want to do. Dig deep, look within, and follow your passion. That really is what it’s all about.

    Best wishes for a healthy new year!

    • Thanks so much Pat. Decided to go for it this year, and have a couple of exciting projects to work on. No more giving my time to causes that don’t reciprocate and will concentrate on my own projects. There are many innovative ways to support people affected by cancer that the main stream organisations do not get involved with.

      The shackles are off now! Hoping 2016 is a healthy and happy year for you too. Chris

  2. As you know from my blog Chris, I wholeheartedly echo these sentiments, cancer is a dreadful curse but I have found some positives from it. Happy New Year to you and your family Abi xx

    • Thx Abi and to you and yours! Yes, it’s crazy to think that all the wonderful people I have met and incredible things I have done, only happened because of my illness! So I understand totally what you mean by that.

      This year I am going for some new, really exciting projects and am leaving a lot of unrewarding relationships behind.

      I hope 2016 gives you plenty more positives xxxx

  3. Thanks Beth, and so lovely to hear from you! Yes, without the incredible patient support of my wife and medical team I would certainly not be talking about new projects etc. My work in cancer support is what my new life is all about, and everyone understands that, even if I seem to break my health rules quite frequently! I am back to pushing boundaries which I really enjoy 🙂

    Your work is incredible and please feel free to share on Twitter too. I hope 2016 is a great one for you and your family!

  4. I love your attitude and no doubt 2016 will be a great year.. I am glad that I have got to know you and add you to my internet friends.. Have agreat 2016…

  5. Thx Helen! I have some interesting projects going on, and I have always believed in pushing my own boundaries. Unfortunately it is so much tougher once you lose your health as we are both only too aware of.

    I’m grateful for the world of social media, which helped us find each other. It really is a fantastic tool which can help us deal with our issues together!

    A fab 2016 to you and your family too x

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