March is Women’s History Month, and every Tuesday this month we’ll showcase a woman who gives us hope and inspires us to be strong women. We’re kicking off the series with the always-inspirational Joan Lunden. Joan shared this advice with us:
“Once you remove failure as an option, your chances for success become infinitely better.”
Joan knows a lot about success, both personally and professionally. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Joan is the longest running host ever on early morning television. Her bio includes many impressive titles: award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, trusted television personality, and mom of seven children. Last year, Joan added the title of breast cancer survivor to her resume.
Even in the face of breast cancer, Joan has found success by rejecting the notion of failure. Traditionally, when one thinks of the word ‘success’ as it relates to cancer, the definition is tied to remission and being deemed cancer-free. We are very pleased to hear that Joan’s treatment is going well, and her prognosis is optimistic. We hope she will soon be deemed totally cancer-free. However, it’s time to reframe what success and failure mean in the context of cancer. The late Stuart Scott alluded to this in his statement, “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” Along these same lines, most cancer survivors count their survival in years since their date of diagnosis, not their date of remission. Unfortunately 40,000 women will die this year from breast cancer, and we are doing everything we can to change that. However, living with—or even dying from—cancer
is not a failure. Holding on to hope and offering hope to others is success.
Joan realized her breast cancer diagnosis was an opportunity to promote early detection, to help women deal with the obstacles and fears of breast cancer treatment, and to save lives. Thousands of women have written into Joan’s site where she has created a community with women who relate to her journey. Much like on our Beyond the Shock community, women are sharing their stories with Joan and others to offer support and hope. Joan is using her platform to offer hope to others, both with and without cancer.
Your audience is probably smaller than Joan’s, but each of us has the opportunity to inspire and give back. How do you define success in your life? How can you offer hope to others? Share your story in the comments below or on our Facebook page.