In my day to day business I am an executive coach at Sharon Stone Consulting working with a wide range of people, predominantly in the not for profit space. I am extremely passionate about helping others be the best they can in their work and their lives (which may sound cliched), but I am also a pragmatist and pride myself on results.
With over 40 years of experience in the workplace and many major life experiences, I know that many of us end up doing something we don’t like for the security and certainty and we get trapped into thinking that there is no way out. I love showing people the numerous options available to them and supporting them through change and growth.
“I have been working in a cancer hospital and now I have cancer, how can that be?”
So, it might sound like I have it all together and to be honest I thought so too. But early last year (2017) my world was rocked when I received a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer. Like most people, I was totally unprepared and was left in shock and denial. I hadn’t been unwell nor were there any lumps and it was picked up by a routine mammogram. How lucky am I? I have been having mammograms for years and had delayed that last one by 6 months because I thought I didn’t need it. Somehow common sense prevailed and doing that test changed things for me. What made the news even more bewildering was that I had recently started working with a new client; a cancer hospital. I’ve always thought the universe has a quirky sense of humour and here was the latest piece of evidence!
After a lumpectomy and a few weeks of recovery, I had great trepidation about embarking on radiation. I bounced back well after surgery, so found it difficult to comprehend that the treatment had the potential to make me feel unwell. At that point, I decided that I would count down the days by marking them off on a calendar to give me an end point to look forward to.
Colour me well is born
For me this was too important to mark off on a virtual calendar. I sat down and drafted a template on my computer and added the dates with the intention of ticking off each day. As I was preparing it a set of coloured pencils caught my eye and something drew me to them. From that moment I decided I would celebrate every day with colour. Before I knew it I had given it a title at the top of the page ‘colour me well’ which just popped into my head. It felt right.
After my first treatment I started colouring in the first box. I picked my favourite colour and started on square one, I thought it looked plain so I added a heart. By the third day the calendar was starting to become a reflection of how I felt. Day-by-day I expressed myself with shading and drawing different shapes (I’m no Picasso) 😊 but somehow it made me feel like I had achieved something. These small, simple, colourful designs shone a light over my journey. At the end of each day colouring in, felt like I had achieved something, another day of treatment done….
Instagram becomes my friend
Several friends suggested I share colour me well on Instagram as a way of giving everyone a snapshot of my treatment. I was reluctant at first as this was a personal journey and I couldn’t see why anybody would be interested. I’m so glad I did. Friends & family far & wide could see how the treatment was going and when I needed extra support without having to keep calling or texting. To me this was so freeing not to keep having the same conversations over and over with different people. When I had finished treatment, I couldn’t believe how much these simple drawings had contributed to staying positive throughout a tough time. This is why I am sharing colour me well with you. I hope that it will help you or your loved ones through this time. If you are a parent you can help your kids process their feelings about your illness through using the calendar and it’s something you can do as a family. If it’s your child, there is a children’s version which they can do alone or together with you. Either way I am sending you all my love and wishing you the very best outcome on this tough journey.