In this series of blogs we are going to be touching on resilience and positivity as attributes of leadership, and as it relates to what I’ve gone through during this experience with cancer.
To understand where I am coming from, I will give you a summary of my 12 months from end of 2013 to end of 2014 and how resilience has kept me going.
- In October 2013 I badly damaged my knee in sport, one week before a two-week holiday around Thailand. This made travelling much harder. Carting around a suitcase while on crutches, sightseeing, a lot of walking on crutches and trying to go to the beach and walks through the jungle were hard… but do-able;
- It took 5 months before I could get knee surgery, in February 2014;
- 6 weeks later I was then diagnosed with an aggressive, malignant brain tumour and given only 3-5 years to live;
- Two weeks later I had a six-hour operation, which I was awake during 5 hours of and didn’t sleep for 5 days after;
- A month later I finally realised that my relationship was not working and broke up with my girlfriend;
- Went through seven weeks of radiotherapy treatment and its many side effects;
- Slept a lot through the recovery and serious case of fatigue caused by the treatment;
- All while going through knee rehab five times over, trying to learn how to walk and run again. Every time my knee would improve, I had a set back with cancer;
- Then when my knee started to get better, I was hit with sciatica from October 2014 and it continues now in 2015, a deep sharp stabbing like pain in my leg from my left glute (butt muscle) through my hamstrings to my left calve muscle.
I don’t tell people this list of set backs in my recent life, it is only now that I have listed them out to share on this blog. I feel that if I tell people this list of setbacks that others would only think that I am after sympathy. The last thing I want is people’s sympathy. So I keep my chin up, soldier on, get through whatever the hurdle is at the time and don’t let it affect my relationship with my family, my old friends and meeting new friends.
Nelson Mandela is a man known for his resilience, amongst many other things. Two key quotes he said about resilience were:
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
When faced with several complications, look at them in isolation before looking at them collectively. How can one be overcome? Trying to overcome all of them in one thought will only lead to depressive thoughts, which will then spiral out of control. Have the mindset to stop, take a breath and look at things separately. Resilience is not a trait that comes on its own, it comes with determination, positivity and persistency to name a few.
Having support from others is a big factor to someone’s resilience. For me, I have had the support from many people around the world, no matter how small or large – and this has pushed me through the last 12 months of my life. It has picked me up every time I have fallen down.