35 year host of the popular TV game show Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, announced in a YouTube video Wednesday that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The news of cancer is devastating to even the strongest of people, but it is what you do with it that matters. His public statement was not one of resignation, but instead a choice to face the challenge head on.

“Now, normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this. And I’m going to keep working and with the love and support of my family and friends — and with the help of your prayers also — I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”- Alex Trebek

You’ve probably heard the saying that “the only guaranteed constant is change.” We tend to be okay dealing with the change that we like, whether it’s a new job, a relationship, or good news on a project. But when it’s change we don’t want, and especially that we didn’t expect, it can feel like the air has been knocked out of your lungs.

The meaning you give to it from that moment on is your choice.

I know that’s a heavy statement, but what it means is that you need to adopt a positive state of mind. Here are 5 steps to take in order to adopt a positive state of mind during any event.

Interpret using the information you have: How am I going to interpret the event that has happened? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Things that might look bad upon first glance can have a positive interpretation if you are open to looking for it.
Give it meaning: What meaning does it have to/about/for you personally? Is it a good or bad thing for you? With no personal meaning, then nothing will change.
Give it intent: Based on the meaning I have given it, what am I going to do about it? What do you want out of it? What are your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs about the event?
Give it energy: Take massive action and focus on your intent. That means live it fully, and ask your network of friends and family to hold you accountable during the tough times. Write down positive affirmations and goals in visible places so you can always refocus when you need.
Share it with others: Alex has inspired many people with his statement. He didn’t ask for our sympathy, he asked us to stand beside him in his intent to live his life fully and with purpose.
Today I write this because I know that there are so many others out there that are navigating extremely difficult things in life. Yours may not be a disease; it may be divorce, loss or change of a job, a strained relationship, financial difficulties, etc. Take a few words of wisdom from Alex Trebek, “Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done.”

Shawn P Neal is a consultant, trainer, and speaker focused on emotional intelligence, leadership, and happiness. His work helps maximize employee engagement, customer service, profit and growth while attracting and retaining top talent. For more information, visit saxus.

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