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A Year of Yes: Mark A. Smith’s story of surviving and thriving

Mark A. Smith posted this story on LinkedIn this week. It was so powerful for me that I have to share it with all of you. My favorite of his learnings detailed here: “No one learns in the middle of a crisis. Survive. Breathe. Reflect.” If this doesn’t personify the power of yes, then I don’t know what does. Thank you, Mark, for you bravery and tenacity. I’m so glad you’re still with us.

“23 years ago today my parents and doctor walked into my ICU room, held my hands, and told me I had only a few months to live. I had a rare disease called Wegener’s Granulomatosis and had 18 tumors throughout my lungs, kidneys, and airway.

16 years of chemotherapy, 200,000+ pills, 34 surgeries, and a million prayers later and I’m still around to annoy everyone on LinkedIn. Here is some of what I’ve learned — I’ll hope you find some value:

– We have the capacity to find joy in all things. A negative attitude is worse than a tumor. The best of life can come from the worst of life.

– Everyone has a difficult trial. Everyone. Be compassionate.

– When your looks get taken away, you better have a solid character or you’re screwed. – Priorities are revealed when abilities are stripped. Put them in order before life forces it upon you.

– No one learns in the middle of a crisis. Survive. Breathe. Reflect.

– Life is too short to take offense. Assume the best and move on. One day our children will struggle. We must endure our own trials so that, when needed, we can look in their eyes with perfect credibility and say, “I’ve been through the same struggle. I know your pain. You can do this.”

Happy New Year, my friends. Thank you for all you add to my life.”

See Mark’s post here.

About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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