Your mindset, your choice…

Over the past couple days I have been thinking a lot about Monday, the hopes to have started treatment, the mindset I had been in before, and where I find myself now. The mindset being the specific piece of that, and maybe some intention added in there. I was hoping today just to share some of my thoughts along this journey, and in doing so, I hope I can help inspire each of you do decide to not just go through the motions but to live your life to the fullest each day.

Now, if you know me well enough, you know I’m not pretending to have all the answers, and I am definitely not stating that there is only one way to go through the struggles we do in life. That said, I do believe there are things that we can do to help us live our lives with more appreciation for the day we have in front of us now. Those are some of the things I hope I can share today.

I was asked yesterday in an interview where I believe I got my sense of optimism and hope, and I find it an interesting question. I think when most people think of optimistic/positive people, they think the energy, always happy, and think they are just “wired” differently. And while I am not Mr. Outgoing in my personality, I do hope that people see a good energy and smile on my face. If you were in my head though, you’d experience an entirely different experience of social anxiety (worry about “saying the right thing” in conversations, etc) or any number of other thoughts of what could go wrong in these situations? First off, I’ll continue to work on letting those negative, self-judging, worries go, but I think it’s also important to understand what we do with those thoughts. I think through those things, not to dwell on the negative, but to instead feel prepared for the response that I would want. In life it can’t be about the negatives, as there are just too many potential or maybe even assumed negatives for us to ever enjoy life, but instead it must be about our reactions to situations that define us. It’s why optimism and hope are so strongly tied together. It’s the hope in a better tomorrow, through the optimism of being able to make the best of today.

The simple answer by the way was my mom. The forever champion of the underdog, believing that nothing was impossible in sport or life, the person who showed me what it’s like to refuse to give up no matter the odds.

All of that said in hopes of explaining a bit of how I have felt over the past few days. It’s been a bit of an awakening, so to speak. I think I’ve shown that I have kept my hope and optimism throughout this fight, but there’s a difference in what I’ll call intention here. And I’ll also start here by stating this isn’t about action or day-to-day thoughts. Sometimes we need to rest, do nothing, and have down days, in order to get back up and be ready to go. I started this fight from the ground for sure. Knocked down 30 lbs before even knowing what was going on, needing surgery to be able to eat again, and then starting a stage 3 or 4 (still some questions there, we seem to be on the line of more lymph nodes but still regionally close together, so surgery still potential option if we get a response from treatment) cancer journey in itself. I needed time to rest, I needed time to process, so I am not judging anything, but I wasn’t really in the best mindset yet.

It took Monday and a failed start to treatment for me to realize that I had been acting like a victim and waiting for some other event to happen to have me take on the fighter mindset. Yes, I’m a victim of being dealt some pretty bad cards, but I can’t live life like I am a victim. I can’t wait for something else to make it okay for me to fight. It was an awaking Monday in that I became aware that I cannot rely on outside things to motivate the fighter inside. It’s time for me to take control and live life my way.

So I will still work to recover, gain weight, improve strength and prepare myself mentally and physically for the fight ahead, but I will now do it knowing that I will control my daily life, I will not only remain optimistic and hopeful about the future, but I will live today with that same optimism and hope. It’s a great feeling to be back to attacking each day for the future I want vs living each day with the hurdle I have in front of me. That intention must be there for all of us in order for us to enjoy the process of life.

So whether it’s dealing with COVID or just some other hurdle in life, I hope that you will learn from my experiences and never let anything take away how you live your life. It may change actions or any number of things, but nothing can change your mindset and finding the moments in life that mean everything, if you don’t let it. Live your life your way!

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share some of my thoughts along the way. I hope it can help some of you as you go through any hurdles that life throws our way.


11 thoughts on “Your mindset, your choice…

  1. Ahh, Jeff! I feel your words cannot help but inspire many others in their daily struggles. They certainly do inspire me! And they tell us all who you really are, and deep down. Even I, as your Pops, have learned so much!😊 I didn’t believe I could get any more proud than I was – but then I read your next post!😄
    Huge love, pride, and prayers, Pops

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing mindset and attitude Jeff. It takes relentless focus on the now to do what you do Each and every day – this is your marathon to win and we are all here supporting you, thinking and praying for your healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff, Just so amazing and inspiring to read your words sharing thoughts and feelings of how you are dealing with this new battle. Your hope and attitude as you begin each day does help and inspire so many others!!!!! We continue to pray for your comfort and healing and wisdom every day! ‘But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior.’ Jeremiah 20:11. Ted and Lynn Bandaruk

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  4. When facing hard times my mind always goes to a quote that I heard decades ago … “ and storms alone make skilled sailors.” Thank you for sharing your process of lighting the dark; even during the most difficult blows. Thank you for showing us that getting to hope, optimism and intention is anything but a straight line. Because you choose the light, and then you do the work to get there. Yes, every single day is a gift… even the ones that don’t feel like it. But they build strength and they build intention. Thank you for sharing the struggle and the light… your words and wisdom are an inspiration to so many. Love you always. – Big Sis

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have a beautiful way of storytelling. Thank you for sharing and giving us a glimpse of what you’re dealing with and how. You are remarkable and inspiring just like your mom. We are here for you. Sending all our love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeff, you are an inspiration with your blogs about how you feel about and how you handle the journey you are going through. I also coach swimming and have for 50 years and I wish all athletes as well as all who have been dealt cards that are not so bright would read your blogs. My wife and I pray for another miracle so that you may continue to coach and teach and lead young athletes. Good luck to you. Ted Bandaruk ( Your sister Jamies neighbor)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeff 3 things are so clear
    1. You will put yourself in the best position to win! You will do this with an incredible mindset, doctors, and team.
    2. You have touched and improved so many lives.
    3. You are truly loved.

    Know we love you!


    Liked by 1 person

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