I have decided to no longer be ashamed and to share my story, a story that is getting to be more and more common.
I am at a crossroads in my life and the question was do I share it or do I hide it? I have spent the last year focused on another career type that got interrupted by something no one wants, ever - cancer.
It took all that I had in me to survive chemotherapy (I do not recommend it, it sucks) and balancing that with a full time job (that ultimately did not work out) and also with my family and young children. Something had to give. I gave up a lot to get through treatment but it also made me realize that I had given up a lot much earlier than just because of cancer. During my treatment, I turned down clients and opportunities all with the blanket, "I am dealing with a health issue." What was I afraid of? Why didn't I just say, "I am dealing with breast cancer." Well, here it is, my "statement" a little late but true nonetheless; I was battling and I will always, in a sense, battle but now I am no longer ashamed of it.
I am now done with treatment and beyond hopeful that I will be one of the lucky ones to beat this disease but you never know. No one knows - you don't know what you might be faced with in the future just as I do not know what my future will be. I do know that I had to begin to share somewhere and I started with a blog outside of The Next Step that focuses on the disease and how I handled it and my tips for survival for others whether affected themselves by cancer or someone they know is affected. That blog is www.thetimebetweenis.weebly.com.
Now, my crossroads is around what is my next step? I am still not ready to go 100% into anything and I am taking some time to recuperate and to think. I am writing, though, too. Not just the blog posts at The Time Between but also a book draft about the "c" word. It is dreaded and it is feared but most of all it is very common.
As I was planning my life, presenting my company and trying to build my career, my body had other ideas and was building the pieces to knock me down with a potentially life-threatening disease. No matter my education, my resume, my goals and plans - none of that mattered, all that mattered was that this disease had grown inside of me.
I learned more about back up plans and contingencies than I ever thought possible and most importantly I learned that you just cannot get too wrapped up in anything. If God forbid you were diagnosed with something potentially life threatening tomorrow, what would your career matter? What would you care about your big house? Your cars? You realize something with the possibility of death; you realize there is more to life than the "hustle" and I hustled for years and years. I hustled in Corporate America and then in trying to piece together an income post-childbirth and now, I just want to see where the road lies ahead of me. I need an income but I am taking the time to think and to piece together something that works for me - some hybrid of The Next Step and www.thetimebetweenis.weebly.com - something more authentic, open and raw (like the YouTube video I posted today).
I have a lot to teach people in so many ways and have to identify how that passion for sharing my message meets an income. Also, to balance that out with the pieces I have long neglected in my life - ME. As a mom, caretaker, educator, entrepreneur I have put myself last (my true self). All of the time I built into this blog is a veneer; it is the Professional Lisa the Professor Lisa. There is still so much more to me and what I need to kind of keep myself happy and focused.
I hope to take you on the journey as I build out my next step and if I can help you with either life with cancer or just filling those blank spaces on your resume due to the turns life takes, reach out and share.
Lisa Vento Nielsen