I’ve gotten some bad news in my life. The worst news I’ve ever gotten were the two phone calls from the doctors telling me that I had breast cancer. I remember the second call, in July 2010, the clearest. I was attending a Tour de Cure Colorado event in downtown Denver. Greg LeMond was the guest of honor.
At that time, Greg, an American winner of the Tour de France, was the spokesperson for the Tour de Cure. I had just brought my LeMond bike into the restaurant so he could sign the bike. My cell phone rang, and I saw that it was my oncologist. It was past 5 PM, so I was a bit surprised that she was calling me.
I excused myself and walked into a hallway to speak with her. She cut to the chase right away, and she told me that my suspicion was correct, I had cancer again. I made a plan to come see her in two days, and I hung up. I took a minute and took a very deep breath. I reminded myself that I had the strength and the courage to do this again, whatever it would be.
I went back into the gathering, and I decided that I wanted to go see Lady Gaga in concert; she was coming to Denver a few weeks later. I didn’t tell anyone what I had just found out; I needed to integrate the information first. I felt a bit like I was behind a Plexiglas wall. I was there, but clearly I was distracted. I headed home and on the drive, the tears started.
On March 19th, just a bit over a week ago, I got an email from Ignite Minneapolis, telling me that my talk proposal for Ignite Minneapolis 8, was not selected. I had felt really good about my proposal and I had a good feeling about being selected, so when I read that email, it felt like an arrow went right into my heart.
I was surprised at the intensity of my emotional reaction. I felt tears stinging the backs of my eyelids. I felt embarrassment well up inside. I instantly felt like a failure, how dare I put my name in the hat. Maybe I really am not a good speaker. Yup, along with those difficult emotions came a slash to my confidence.
Luckily I have a few tools handy. I realized it quickly. First, I took a deep breath. Then I stood up, moved away from my desk and I shook my hands and arms. I imagined my heart being whole, all gaps filled in.
I said out loud, “Mari, you are a good speaker. You will get other speaking gigs. It’s okay to let this go. Trust the Universe. Trust.” Then I did a little dance!! This made me smile, even laugh a little bit! And that shifted my relationship to what had happened.
Soon I was able to send my friend and former Ignite speaker Janel an email to let her know they didn’t select me. Janel had offered to coach me a bit if indeed I had been selected. Janel’s reply lifted my spirits. She said, “One of the things I was going to share with you was that in my experience, the audience is looking for entertainment and not much in the way of content/message. Trust that the universe is telling you that these are not your peeps.”
What do you do when you get bad news?