The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Cancer Warrior Teaches Life Lessons

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, February 29, 2016
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We learn from resilient souls often after their death, after words have been said and written about them. Such is the case of Jill Brzezinski-Conley who died of breast cancer at age 38 but left behind a foundation that encouraged people to “Rock What you Got…”

The editorial by her friend Laura Ungar in USA TODAY on Feb 17, 2016 caught my eye as well as my heart. The accompanying picture of Jill showed a beautiful woman with a huge laugh and a set of perfect teeth.

For those of you who didn’t read that edition, I am taking the liberty of sharing Jill’s lessons that came to her friend Laura because they are too valuable to miss. Here is what Laura shared.

Live your purpose

Jill proclaimed a purpose of believing that true beauty was defined by kindness, love and confidence. She spoke around the nation, encouraging everyone to ignore the phoniness of physical beauty and look instead at the beauty within.

Live in the moment

While many of us worry about the future or berate ourselves for the past, Jill apparently kept THIS MOMENT her total focus: from dancing in a kitchen to forgoing chemo to be with her family and friends. Wow. And her I sit worrying about “what’s next?” instead of thinking “What’s now!”

Be generous

As Laura described her friend, Jill seemed to want to know about others. She wrote messages to other patients, founded a charity to raise money for families fighting cancer and connected with others even up to her last days.

Live within someone’s story in order to write about it

Jill brought Laura into her world, sharing all that was happening and allowing her to stay beside her as the cancer spread. Read the full story here.  It is not my story to tell. It is Laura’s.

As Laura expressed it, Jill’s power was to use her gifts to be an instrument of God. It reminded me that we all are instruments that can be used to inspire and help others. What’s your choice?


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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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