March 31, 2016
Vol.14, Issue 4
As longer days return and the flowers burst through in all their glorious shapes and colors, it’s tempting to focus on summer fun. And . . . it’s also time to get those fall women’s wellness and breast cancer awareness event speakers lined up. October dates are particularly hot.
Today I’m pleased to introduce you to breast cancer survivor Kim Becking. She was just 30 with a 2-year old son when she was diagnosed in 2002. Kim Carlos was her name at that time, when she co-wrote the book Nordie’s at Noon – the Personal Stories of Four Women “Too Young” for Breast Cancer. The book chronicles the stories of Kim and 3 other young professional women diagnosed with breast cancer, who met at Café Nordstrom for lunch once a month. It was their special place to laugh, cry, and celebrate the journey of life after a cancer diagnosis — and a little retail therapy.
Kim’s passion to tell her story and share the tools she used not only to survive, but to thrive, through cancer and life, have made her a favorite among audiences.
Surviving and Thriving After Cancer
– With Grit, Grace and Gratitude
It’s been over fourteen years since Kim Becking first heard those dreaded words – “You have breast cancer.”
“You think it can’t happen to you,” she said. “I was 30, I was healthy and I had no family history. Life was going according to plan – but all of that changed with those four simple words. One week I was planning my son Brandon’s two-year-old birthday party and the next week I was starting my first round of chemotherapy.”
After aggressive chemotherapy, a mastectomy with breast reconstruction, several other minor surgeries and treatment for lymphedema, she is now in complete remission and not only surviving but thriving.
“Unwanted change and challenges in life often are our greatest teachers,” Kim says. “For me, my cancer and my divorce both provided me great lessons and perspective. I have learned when facing cancer or other challenges in life, we must find heaping amounts of grace, grit and gratitude.
“On the hard days, I had to remember to continue to find the good — to focus on today and be fully present in the now. To learn to ask for help and then accept it. To feel in order to heal. To realize that being vulnerable is showing strength, not weakness. To stop being so hard on myself. To show grace, even when it was hard.
“I had to find the courage, the resolve deep inside of me to keep going no matter what — to slay my inner bully and other bullies in the world. To look in the mirror and tell myself that I was more than enough and more than my hair or my scars. To surround myself with good – those who filled my life with joy and lifted me up. And give myself permission to ditch the drainers–those who created negative energy in my life. I learned to say ‘no’ so that I could say ‘yes’ when it really mattered. Breast cancer taught me that sometimes we are not in control and instead of worrying about everything, we need to worry only about the things we do have control over.
“There were days where I was overwhelmed, and I stayed in bed hiding under the covers. I had feelings of shock, disbelief, grief, anger, fear, confusion and sadness. But I continued to get up and fight for my life – I wanted to be here to raise my son. I wanted to live and enjoy life. So, I learned to deal with a new sense of normal more than once and also learned to find the joy and the laughter.
“I also learned to find gratitude even when it was hard to find. I learned to stop focusing on what I didn’t have and instead realized that everything I needed was right in front of me. I learned to appreciate the little things like the smell of a good candle, fresh cut grass, or a piece of good chocolate. Hearing my kids laugh. My husband kissing me on my forehead. Sunsets – anywhere I can witness one. Often, it’s those little moments that in the end we will realize were the really big things. So now, I don’t take anything for granted.
“I’ve had fourteen years of little things and big things that I was able to experience, see, feel, touch, hear and love. Fourteen years where my heart was filled with love for those around me. Fourteen years where I got to see my son grow up, find new love after my heart was broken and create an awesome new blended family. By finding gratitude, no matter what circumstances I have faced, I have found peace and joy.
“Cancer taught me so much about living – and I still use those lessons every day. The rollercoaster of life just makes the highs even sweeter. I am truly blessed and thankful for the thousands of reasons that add up – big and small – to this fabulous thing I get to call my life. Today, and every day, I am grateful and thankful for living. Looking forward. Living fully. And loving life. Not only surviving, but thriving, even during the tough times with grit, grace, and gratitude.”
For over 13 years Kim has put audiences at ease while inspiring them through her stories of survival and reinvention. You can view a preview video on our website. Audiences ranging from cancer survivors to health care professionals, from corporate leadership to non-profit organizations and associations, have gained insight and perspective from her keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops and retreats. Whether as a keynoter, moderator, panelist or host, Kim continues to inspire her audiences with her gifts of honesty, courage, hope and laughter. To learn more about bringing Kim to your community, give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
KEEPING IT LIVE
I recently attended a conference where the keynote speaker caught a virus a few days before the event, and her doctor advised her against traveling. The meeting planner decided to Skype her in. Personally, having experienced it, I would think twice about doing that if a substitute speaker can be secured.
The speaker, who is an author and subject of a movie, had a compelling story, and the audience was quite invested in learning from her; so from that standpoint, I would call it successful. But the delivery left me flat. She was on camera from her desktop, so what we saw was a big talking head on the large screen in the front of the room – and sometimes, when she got too close to the camera, it was only part of the talking head. It was certainly not the potentially powerful experience of having her there on stage.
A cancellation is, of course, the event planner’s worst nightmare. But on the rare occasions when it happens, you should be able to turn to your speakers bureau for help. If you ever have a speaker cancellation, I have a couple of suggestions. Both of these options, would require 2-3 day notice.
First, if you do decide to do a video remote, I think it would be worth it to explore locating a stage in the originating city, and having a professional videographer, so it’s more like the speaker was on stage, rather than presenting from an office desk chair.
Second, think about getting another speaker so you have the power of a live performance. Either ask the speaker for a recommendation, or, if you’re working through a speakers bureau, like The Speak Well Being Group, call right away and ask us. That’s one of the benefits of working with a speakers bureau: we have lots of connections and resources. Sometimes the solution is obvious: if you have multiple speakers at your event, for example, one of the other speakers might take over an additional slot. If that won’t work, we have plenty of other ways to back you up.
Now mind you, cancellation is unusual. I’ve had less than a handful of speaker cancellations in almost eighteen years of business. More than anything, I know the speaker wants to be there, and it truly takes a mountain of obstacles to keep them away.
My basic point is this: there’s just no substitute for live events where people get to interact, and exchange energy as well as information. Keep planning them. And still, if the unexpected happens, we’re here to help.
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, nurses, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected — they are not only experts in their fields, they connect with their audiences and deliver life-changing information, often with plenty of humor and empathy.
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me great joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.