Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

What My Cancer Diagnosis Taught Me About Life and Leadership (Pt1)

When I was 27 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer. It’s a heavy word ‘cancer’, that can create fear in the heart of everyone that hears it. The diagnosis came out of nowhere and turned my world upside down.


During a routine check, my doctor found a large lump on my neck. After a biopsy that came back suspicious, I had two separate surgery’s to remove my entire thyroid and two subsequent radiation treatments. The treatment for cancer is so counter-intuative; you don’t feel sick, but you have to have treatment that makes you feel sick in order to fix the problem. 

Challenging situations teach us all personal lessons that develop our character and perspective on life. The purpose of me sharing my story is hopefully to help others gain new perspective without having to go through it.  

I have always been a very strong and driven individual. I love working, leading and teaching others. I love the hard work of getting results and reaching goals.

The diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent treatment interrupted my world, and taught me a few things about life and leadership:

1 You Never Know What’s Going On In Someone’s Personal Life

I made the personal decision not to tell everyone (outside of close friends and family) that I was going through cancer. It was my way of dealing with the diagnosis.

During the treatment there were multiple days of overwhelming physical fatigue or emotional sensitivity waiting for results. The average person didn’t know what I was facing that day. I became very aware of individuals who treated me with patience, dignity and respect regardless of knowing what I was going through, and those who did not.

2 All Of us Are Vulnerable

Before my diagnosis, I always felt capable, organised and on top of life. But this health challenge, that caused overwhelming fatigue for long periods of time, forced me to accept my limitations and realise how fragile we all are.


3 We Are Stronger Than We Think

It surprised me how much emotional strength I had within this health challenge. Rather than define me, it just revealed the foundation of beliefs that I had already built my life on.

4 Life Is Short – Go After What You Want

A cancer diagnosis (or any other major life event) brings a great clarity and intensity around being who you truly are and going after what’s really in your heart. For me personally it was a clarifying time of who I was, what I wanted to do in life, and who I wanted to do it with.

5 Health Is Precious And Fragile

I used to be someone that would push myself past the point of health for the purpose of achieving a goal. My cancer journey was a wake-up call that I can’t continue to do that & not have any consequences. I now try to live my life in a way that puts my health first, as well as still having goals.


To be continued next post… To read Part 2, click here

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.