.In every professional sport, the team owner and manager meet before the draft to identify their weaknesses to identify gaps that need to be filled with the upcoming sports draft. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was amazed at the support team that I had in place. This network of family members and friends who support us along the way fulfilled various roles. Not too long ago, I came across guidance for building your Career Development Network. It describes key roles that can bring strength to your network; Motivators, Cheerleaders, Straight Shooters, Connectors, Role Models and Brainstormers. Looking back at my team, I can picture in my mind individuals who fulfilled each one of those roles.
My husband served as a key Motivator. He knew what I was capable of and pushed me to not dwell on the fear that I had, but to get energized to get beyond that moment in time. In addition, I did my best to fill my thoughts with inspiring stories of other cancer survivors, to include a book by Lynne Eib, called *50 Days of Hope: Daily Inspiration for Your Journey Through Cancer. I swear by this book and how it lifted my spirits after reading just a few short stories.
I found a great Connector in a complete stranger, who I was introduced to by an administrator at my children’s school. She had also been diagnosed with the same rare cancer and definitely help to connect me with other like individuals and key resources that I would have otherwise been oblivious to me.
Role Models for me came in the form of other women who had been diagnosed with the same rare and aggressive form of cancer. One such role model led a non-profit that she created to increase awareness in quickly detecting this from of cancer for both cancer patients and medical practitioners. It is this willingness to share her experiences with others that I seek to emulate.
I found several Cheerleaders through friends and church members, who were confident that good news would be forthcoming in my cancer journey. One close friend who encouraging letters to me throughout treatment, local food delivery and gift cards regularly dropped off at our home, a group of nuns in Texas that prayed for me daily and church members prayed over me and my family each week after service.
Both of my parents were Straight Shooters. They love me, but don’t mince words. They have always been lovingly honest and direct with their approach and being diagnosed with cancer didn’t change things. I can recall my mom having an honest conversation with me about how she had traveled to stay with us for an extended period of time to help out our family during this time. What was I doing? I was still trying to be a superwoman, going to chemo, cooking and cleaning and trying to maintain some normalcy. My mom did what a mom does, pulled me to the side and told me to “STOP” trying to be superwoman. She told me that my TOP PRIORITY right now was to get treatment and keep my body strong enough to continue treatment.
I found the Brainstormers in my support team to be other cancer survivors in both my in-person and online cancer support groups. These were the people who were able to help me solve a challenge that I was having or brainstorm ways to solve the challenge. I also counted by oncologists as brainstormers. With a diagnosis of a rare and aggressive cancer, I was aggressive in my questioning of the treatment plan while in active treatment and years following recovery to prevent recurrence. Both groups offered to listen to my questions and suggestions and worked with me as a team to get to a resolution. I appreciate them for their willingness to go beyond the limits.
When building you’re “A” Team, you should have a variety of people that can help you in differing and difficult situations. Looking at your network today, do you have the people in your network who can fulfill these vital roles for you?
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Photo by Jeffrey F Lin on Unsplas
Cancer Survivor helping you become your own best advocate.