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6 Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from Breast Cancer Survivors

“Breast cancer will affect 1 in 28 South African women in their life time”, reports Megan Ellis from leadsa.co.za in an infographic under the heading: “Breast cancer is not just an October issue – and the stats show you why…”

Why me? A lot of people diagnosed with breast cancer or life-threatening diseases ask. The question in fact should be; why not me? Why someone else? Cancer survivors will tell you that they don’t wish this disease on anybody. The women who have beaten breast cancer or are in remission learn a great deal about life and themselves and what is important.

Regardless of who it happens to, most learn the same leadership lessons from their battles:

  1. Never lose hope. There is always a reason to keep fighting the good fight. 
  2. Always have a support system. Build your network of friends, family or work colleagues who will have your back no matter what. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Becoming a great leader means that you are only as strong as your team.
  4. You are allowed to be negative, so cry, be frustrated and then pick yourself up, because tomorrow is a new day which brings its own challenges.
  5. Accept that which you cannot change and focus on the way forward to achieve your goal.
  6. Live a life that will leave a legacy of mentorship and leadership. When friends see you struggle and battling, you should inspire and motivate them.

Leaders are only human too. They get hurt, ill and yes also become depressed and negative sometimes, but the difference between a good leader and a bad leader is the way they stand up after they fall. How they react and how they refocus themselves. Cancer reveals a leader’s true inner strength and sometimes even reveals great leaders in people that didn’t even know they had these leadership qualities.