Tell Me I Can Do It

“Tell me I can do it.” I said to my friend as we were about to embark onto the next routine in our workout of the day.

The words You’re tired, You can’t do it, You are going to get hurt flashed through my mind, then I turned towards my friend, smiled and said “Tell me I can do it.” (Yeah, kind of a weird thing to say.)

Although I already told myself that I could do it, despite my body sending messages otherwise, I thought it would be interesting to ask him to “Tell me I can do it.”

He looked back at me with a smirk, that this was unnecessary, kindly obliged and proceeded to say “Yes, you can do it.”

Because, the only thing between my success and failure was my mind. I could have easily quit and said I had enough, but I pushed through my fatigue and pain to complete the final routine in the workout of the day.

When my wife was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma I don’t think she needed anyone to tell her she could do it, that she could overcome this life altering diagnosis. She already told herself that she could do it and was determined to find a way to triumph.

During that six-month period there were hundreds, if not thousands, of times her body sent her messages that she couldn’t do it. Through all of the pain, fatigue and lack of sleep she was determined to succeed.

In a way, “Tell me I can do it was what she had to utter to herself over and over again. Just that little, constant, reminder to herself that she could push through all of this and succeed was what it took.

Another day of treatments, I can do it. Another rep in my workout, I can do it. Another page in my book, I can do it. Another mile in the marathon, I can do it! Our minds are so powerful allowing us, our bodies, to accomplish things never fathomed before. My wife triumphed because she told herself, “I can do it!”

The next time you take on something new, a project at work, a new workout the gym, a new assignment at school or even faced with a challenge you did not ask for, how will you succeed? Can you truly tell yourself that you can do it?

Listen to your inner voice, because you may hear a lot of ‘noise’ that you need to push aside. When you know you are truly ready, look at a friend, co-worker, spouse coach or doctor and say “Tell me I can do it.”

Remember, no matter the day or the time of year, if you look up towards the heavens to see clouds, know that the sun is still shining. All it takes is a knowing that the sun is there, just hidden for a moment. It takes an inner belief and determination that you can push through and see beyond the clouds, because the sun will be waiting and shining brightly…always.

Tell me I can do it.

Love and Happiness!

Not My Dis-ease

When the memoir, Mommy, Why Do You Have Two Birthdays?, was first published I was thrilled to share it with friends, family and colleagues. I couldn’t get the book in people’s hands fast enough. When the book was finally in the hands of many of our friends and family, I waited. I anxiously awaited feedback or a comment, anything that confirmed it was a success. As I (impatiently) waited, I realized a few things:

#1 People are busy and need to find the time to read a book.
#2 Because people are busy, it can take a while for them to read a book.
#3 I needed to be patient and let it naturally unfold.

Once the feedback started to trickle in, I knew it was a success! It was what I hoped for:

  • “I couldn’t put it down.”
  • “I cried throughout the entire book.”
  • “I don’t want to finish it, because I am afraid.” (My comment back, “Finish it be brave! You know the ending. It is a happy ending!” My friend finished it.)
  • My husband “and I have lived through the same experience!!!! It is as though you are reading my thoughts!! Thank you again!!!!!!”
  • “Thank you for sharing your deepest feelings and vulnerabilities.”
  • “I’d like to buy copies for my friends and clients.”
  • “Holy Crap I knew Pam was a fighter and the BEST woman for you, but I can’t believe the journey she endured.”

Comment #4 above was from a friend, who was kind enough to share a private chapter from her life about her husband’s triumph over a similar diagnosis. When I spoke about this with her daughter, she made a comment that was very empowering and profound; “When he was diagnosed and underwent the treatments, he always said ‘This is not my disease.’”

He never owned it. He had a knowing that it wasn’t his and he did not intend on keeping it. My wife and this man have a deep inner knowing, a strength, that most people probably do not realize resides deep within each of us.

Upon hearing his comment about the dis-ease not being his, I immediately thought of the Buddhist saying;  “If someone offers you a gift and you refuse to accept it, to whom does it belong?”

His body had cancer, but he did not accept it as his. My wife, Pam, did not accept it as her dis-ease, either. They both triumphed!

The next time a negative comment, bad decision, poor diagnosis or awful feeling is “offered to you” remember it is not yours, if “you refuse to accept it.”

My gift to you is love, light and happiness!

My Review (What Do You Fear?)

This week I am writing to Thank you! for your love and support. It is a somewhat overwhelming task to write a book, and even more so when writing about something so personal as my wife’s experience.

In my previous post, Not my Dis-ease, I captured a few of the responses from friends and family regarding the memoir. The feedback has been amazing! But, some may consider feedback from friends and family a little lopsided. Well, regardless, back in May my writing was put to the test in the form of feedback from an outside source; KIRKUS Reviews. It was May 25th when I received an email from my publisher confirming the review had been completed and posted to their website…for the world to see! Ahhh!

Moments later (many moments later) I clicked on the link, click! My web browser burst open on the screen, Ka-pow! Like a firework lighting up the sky on Independence Day the review flashed on the page. I closed my eyes while thoughts fired through my mind, What does it say? What if it is bad? What if it is awesome? I have no idea what it is going to say. I don’t want to read it. It’s going to be awful. Nah, it will be great. I wrote it from a place of love and honesty, so it will be good. All right Tom, just go ahead and read it. Be brave!

No longer able to avert the words cascading across my screen, I peered through the slits in my eyelids and slowly opened my eyes to begin reading. This was over seventy-five days ago when I read this and I didn’t like it much.

Today, on the seventy-sixth day, I read the review once again and am now ready to share it with you. I now realize my initial reading was clouded by my own judgement and fear. This lead me to believe it was a poor review. I was so fearful of failure and criticism that I did not see the positive comments and success scattered throughout.

Once my fear dissipated, I re-read the review. This new vantage point allowed me to see it in a different light, enabling me to accept it for what it was. I moved past my fear and forward on to the next step as an author and inspirational communicator.

Sometimes fear has a strange effect upon our view of the world making it seem scary, possibly even threatening. These misperceptions often lead to reactions (retaliation) that we may later regret. I held onto this for seventy-six days and finally decided to see it for what it truly was.

In my previous article, I reflected upon the Buddhists saying/teaching, If someone offers you a gift and you refuse to accept it, to whom does it belong?” I saw this gift in the wrong light, clouded by my fear and did not want to accept it. In reading it once again, from the viewpoint of love and acceptance, I see this gift as something very powerful and positive.

My wife was presented with several ‘reviews’ of her diagnosis back in 2003. Her fear could have led to decisions she may have later regretted, but she kept her focus. By remaining steadfast, and belief in herself resolute, any fears that entered did not linger. Because she was brave enough to see things clearly, she triumphed and now has two birthdays to celebrate every year!

KIRKUS Reviews:

Resilience and Acceptance – A Mother’s Love

There was a celebration! It was on a Monday over twenty-nine thousand days ago. Twenty-nine thousand two hundred and twenty to be precise. Twenty-nine thousand sunrises to enjoy! Imagine that, twenty-nine thousand sunrises. Wow! Twenty-nine thousand days to wake-up and say, “I am proud of you.”  This week we celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday! Eighty sure pales in comparison to twenty-nine thousand two hundred and twenty.

Jim Rohn captured this so powerfully when he said, “I’ve got twenty more years. No…you’ve got twenty more times. If you go fishing once a year, you’ve only got twenty more times to go fishing. Not twenty years, that fakes you out…twenty times. Would I mumble and stumble. Would I give you less than my best?” (Jim Rohn link)

I am blessed to have a mother there to guide me for the past forty-eight years, dedicating half of her life to her children. As I write this, the Japanese proverb ’Fall seven times, stand up eight’ comes to mind. Here’s something to ponder, could the words ‘With the love of mother and father’ be added?

 Our mother and father taught us love, acceptance and finding the best in ourselves and others. I am finally noticing and enjoying each sunrise. Every waking moment I am learning to say “I am proud of you.”

What are you doing with your days?

Happy birthday!