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Terry Storch Dispatch 02.2021
Amazing social skills are a superpower.The ability to deliver bad news in a good way is a superpower. The ability to de-escalate a tense situation into a calm one is a superpower. The ability to transform a lose/win situation into a win/win situation is a superpower. - James Clear
Cancer Sucks, Then You Live
On November 11, 2020, I received a call from my mom that I’ll never forget. This was the call where she told me some test results indicated that she had breast cancer. What a sinking feeling. I just wasn’t prepared at all. My mom is in her mid-seventies, and I just never imagined we’d be dealing with breast cancer at this phase of her life. To say the year 2020 was a challenge? Yeah, major understatement there.
Over the last four months, I’ve learned a ton about breast cancer. There’s so much I never knew. The fantastic news is that my mom's cancer hasn’t spread. However, her cancer is the worst kind, is super aggressive, and is known as a triple negative. This means that my mom's chemotherapy treatment plan needed to be really intense and powerful. Why? To kill any possible cancer in the other parts of her body so that it doesn’t turn into something much worse.
About a month ago, she got her first of four chemotherapy infusions, and as the oncologist said, it was pretty rough. This totally makes sense knowing the chemotherapy is basically killing all cells and attacking the body. No wonder people don’t feel good. Mom was up and down most of the month, but the worst part for her was during the first two weeks after the infusion. Thankfully, she’s steadily improved over time.
Cancer sucks! (Have I mentioned that?) This process has been pretty hard on mom, and even been magnified since we’re still living in the reality of Covid. My mom is a very relational person, and loves being around others, but hasn’t been able to do much. In addition to the stress from Covid, her cancer treatments have just increased isolation in her life. It also doesn’t help that she started losing her hair after the first treatment. Mom has such beautiful and thick hair, so this has been quite emotional for her. We know this is temporary, but it is still her current reality.
Cancer sucks, then you live. Why that title? Why that line of thinking? Well, much of what I’m personally walking through with this whole process is facing the reality that life is hard and throws curveballs. Life has its ups, and it certainly has its downs. And around just about every corner, there’s a new challenge, issue, or reality, and sometimes it’s cancer.
My mom’s attitude with this, and her viewpoint on tackling cancer is this: Fight. Her mindset is that she has much left in her. She desires to see her grandkids get married and maybe even become a great-grandmother. Mom was willing to do whatever necessary to live a full and abundant life. So, cancer sucks, but then you live! The conversations that my mom and I have on a regular basis are dreaming about the future—her future and our future. We’re planning for the other side of these treatments! Yes, right now sucks. The reality is that it will continue to suck for many more months, but on the other side is the prize—life and the many things mom is looking forward to. Today’s reality is not forever, so we can choose to either look at our current situation as permanent or temporary. That is a choice we get to make.
I can even see beauty in the moments of pain. Because of this, I’m talking more with my mom daily, more connected to my brother more than ever, and finding more joy and pleasure in the small things with her than I have in the past. Small things like seeing my daughter pick up take-out after work, and swinging by mom's house to share a meal with her. Or shoveling snow from her driveway so she can feel the freedom to get out of the house if she chooses. These brought joy to me as a father and son in a way that I really can’t explain. No, I wouldn’t choose cancer if I had the choice, but I’m choosing to lean in and embrace every moment I have with a posture of joy and that has been absolutely necessary.
“Cancer sucks, then you live” may not be your phrase. There are infinite things that could replace cancer that all of us wrestle with every day. Things we are going though, fighting for, and navigating. We can choose the old statement, “Life sucks, then you die,” or we can shift our mindset to “Yeah, this really sucks, but I am going to choose to live!” I’m choosing to live this life I’ve been given with abundance and joy. Even when it sucks!
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Scott Galloway wrote an amazing article called The Algebra of Wealth. Scott unpacks and discusses four unexpected principles for achieving economic security, and it’s a fantastic read. I do not find many articles that really capture my complete line of thinking with investing, fiscal mindsets, and holistic wealth thinking, but this article comes really close. Read now.
I can not get vaccinated quick enough. I am honoring the process and not dressing up like a little old man trying to fool anyone like the girls in Florida did. I am so thankful that both my mom and Robin’s mom were able to get vaccinated, but the process wasn’t simple. Hindsight is always 20/20, but the rollout strategy with the vaccine was a monumental disaster. There’s no doubt that the energy and focus on creating a vaccine in such a short period of time was absolutely amazing, but the reality of distribution and actually getting that vaccine into the arms of people was not really thought through. This highlights the importance of holistic and complete thinking when it comes to problem solving—you can’t forget the whole process and really understand the problem we’re trying to solve. We were not simply trying to solve the problem of creating a vaccine, we’re actually trying to solve the problem of getting mass humanity vaccinated with a vaccine that didn’t exist a year ago. Those are different problems requiring different thinking, planning, and strategizing. All that to say, it appears that we are making progress, and this Covid vaccine tracker is a great way to see it.
I love Amazon. It’s a company that has revolutionized so much and has so well led. Jeff Bezos, like him or not, is one of the greatest inventors, disrupters, thinkers, and business leaders of our time. If you missed it, Bezos is stepping down as CEO and transitioning to Executive Chair. So many things about this transition are inspiring, but the fact that a driven leader can see the value they bring and know when they can hand over the company to someone else shows what real leadership really is. Bezos founded and built Amazon from scratch! It’s his baby, and he is stepping aside. Senior leaders pay attention! Young leaders read the details of the leader, and pay attention to the importance of building a team around you. Read this letter from Bezos, and draw out all the powerful learnings of leadership. He understands who he is, the value he brings, how to maximize his gifts and talents, and isn’t afraid to set into the reality of that decision. Bezos closes this letter with this:
Keep inventing, and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1. Read the full letter now.
Every product manager, entrepreneur, business leader, or pastor needs to read this article from Seth. We must stop with the dumb pipe thinking! Read now.
It’s been a long time since I have talked about cryptocurrency. It was a regular part of the dispatch a while back. Since there was pretty limited response and engagement with the articles, I stopped writing about it. But that didn’t stop my own interest! Bitcoin has started to grow up and has been on a ride through the stratosphere like SpaceX. If you have any interest, here’s a quick write up from the Before The Bell newsletter that highlights Why bitcoin is like a teenager. Read now.