Cha cha cha, Breast Cancer Now and a little bit of coaching thrown in for free (Fling it in Friday)

OptimistI love this ‘Optimist; someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha’ and I’ve made my mind up to adopt this mindset, always.

The news that in the UK Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer have merged to form Breast Cancer Now is good stuff indeed. Pooling resources, thinking and a collective desire to find a cure can only be celebrated. Their mandate and aspiration is wonderful

“At our heart we have a clear ambition. To make sure that, by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live.”

Right now, breast cancer is at a tipping point. More women are surviving. But more arbcn-logo-thumbe being diagnosed than ever before. One in eight women in the UK will face breast cancer in their lifetime. And every 45 minutes, another woman dies from the disease.

We’re going to change that.

We’re Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity – and we’re dedicated to funding research into this devastating disease.

To promote this collaboration the new charity launched a powerful film capturing the reality of today and the aims for the future. Please do take a minute (well ok 1 minute and 1 second to be exact) to watch it, it’s short, sweet and to the point.

Whilst we’d hope that all cancers receive this type of investment and focus, sadly it’s not the case. Because breast cancer is so common it gets the numbers, the viewing figures and the stats. I feel lucky to be common, but sad for those who are not. I can’t imagine how that must feel and need to explore that more.

Breast Cancer Now is an optimistic mover and shaker and we generally need more optimists in our lives, certainly more than pessimists; you know the ones who see/predict the things that can go wrong, who highlight the faults and the flaws in every suggestion or opportunity and their pessimism can be contagious and exhausting to be around. It’s interesting though that for some pessimists their viewpoint is often impacted by their early experiences, significant influencers and by their typical response to ‘failure’ as they see it. Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism, an insurance against ‘what if it goes wrong’.

Trying to motivate pessimists can feel like an uphill struggle, but in my experience you can use it as a trigger. Help pessimists to identify what they are driven away from, what they don’t want, where they don’t want to be and then turn it on its head. ‘Ok, so you don’t want to feel as if you’re not in control of making decisions about your treatment, how can you reverse this?’ or ‘You mentioned you want to consider alternative types of medical interventions, what do you need to do to help yourself become more informed in this area?’ and so on. In the coaching arena we might think about it as Reverse Brainstorming; using ideas that are often perceived as negative and flipping them over to find a more positive and often highly workable solution. This is especially useful for people who feel they are not creative or an ‘ideas’ person; they can generally tell you quite expertly what they don’t want!

I’m optimistic about the next few days ahead and especially tonight as we head to see The Singing Children of Africa choir perform. They come from Kenya and of course there are massive parallels here with my connections with The Gambia and the children and families there. Steve and I are really hoping that our countdown to our visit there in November can start in earnest very soon. It’s sobering as ever, to be in the presence of people who don’t have much, take nothing for granted but who are overwhelmingly optimistic and grateful. So today I’m going to be mentored by children; the very best teachers in the world.

Educate the kids

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