Motivation to Televise Your Colonoscopy
Last year, Katie Couric convinced Jimmy Kimmel to televise his first colonoscopy. In 2000, Katie televised her own.
What motivates a person to have a colonoscopy on national television? The answer is pain.
Pain gives birth to purpose.
“My husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer on Jan. 24, 1998. … Nine months after Jay was diagnosed, he collapsed on the powder room floor of our apartment. … He died on the way to the hospital.” (Katie Couric on TODAY.)
Tragedy shapes. Happiness affirms, but tragedy transforms.
The greatest tragedy is stuffing pain and ignoring the wisdom tragedy brings. Some are made bitter by heartache. Some are made better.
Tragedy guides. Heartache points the way. When you bury the struggle, you lose your way.
If you want to know what to do, serve others in ways that answer your adversity.
Tragedy inspires. Katie Couric co-founded Stand Up to Cancer because of loss.
The light of purpose is found by answering the darkness of tragedy.
Your greatest point of impact is the way you answer disappointment.
Tragedy softens. Those who suffer-well become kind. The pain of losing a job enables you to feel compassion for a neighbor who just got their pink slip, for example.
Answering your own struggle helps you make a difference in the world.
Tragedy expands. The answers you find for yourself become points of service to others.
Don’t trivialize pain by giving it purpose. Everyone navigates pain, distress, and adversity on their own terms and timeline. If you’re in the middle of a struggle and these words help, great. But most need distance from tragedy before finding benefit.
How might challenges, adversities, and tragedies shape leaders?
What are some of the lessons we learn in the dark?
Interestingly, my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer two weeks prior to Jay’s death. It was a 9 month also before she passed away. However sad it was, my wife completed her life with purpose and focus. She loved people and prayed for them. She continued to serve others even as they tried to serve her. She blessed others as they sought to comfort her.
Turning loss into a positive experience takes time and reflection. I became more compassionate and empathic as a result of Debbie’s passing. Lessons learned? Listen more, care more deeply, and share the experience as it encourages others who are going through the same struggles and loss.
Thanks Steve. It’s an honor to read your story. Thanks for sharing it. I always worry that people might feel that I’m trivializing pain. “Time and reflection” aren’t something we rush through. I can see that you took the long path. The other thing that seems important is purpose doesn’t eliminate pain. We still feel loss, even as we find purpose in it. Best wishes Steve.
Steve, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you found that you have purpose through that experience. I go for my 1st colonoscopy a week from Thursday. Of course I wanted to avoid it but I kept on hearing others’ stories and realized I needed to do it.
One thought I have is how important it is to recognize we don’t have the right to rate another’s pain as less or more than or own. The most traumatic thing, your pain, isn’t any less meaningful from the next person just because they can tick a few extra tragedy boxes, or vice versa. Whatever is the worst for you is your barometer and sets the gauge to which you will now compare everything to. That’s going to be different for everyone. It’s also going to motivate everyone differently. Although, I do find that people who look for positive in their life will find opportunities to find positive or make something positive out of something that might devastate another.
Thanks Lucille. One of the challenges of writing about this topic is minimizing others. We tend to judge others through the lens of our experiences. Thank you for an important reminder. Everyone deals with tragedy differently.
I appreciate how you’ve tied life and leadership together. Pain is a part of both and it impacts both. Pain can be our greatest teacher. You indicate that time and reflection help turn pain into a positive experience. I’d also add a dose of resilience to the formula as well. THanks for the reflection today!
Thank Meg. Great add! I kept thinking of language about rising through tragedy or working through the darkness. That takes resilience. I think we miss great opportunities when we just give up.
Such a touching article and responses!
Everyone has fight in them, as you stated “when we just give up” we have closed the door on opportunities, take every option available.
I watched my wife beat “Hepatitis C” from a medical exposure, years ago, but never showed up till she had blood test for “Life insurance” in her struggle I saw the desire for her to live and be one again, it was a long struggle, she became the winner in this case, so many others have not!
She became a Survivor with a determination to live life to her fullest, through her medicine regimen they now have a better cure for the disease! Amen
I had one today and they said to come back in 10 years, which is good news, since they said the same thing 12 years ago… Great fun, the preparation. Wish they could do it like the guys at JiffyLube, where no preparation is needed.
The Colon Blow process would probably cost a lot less, too…
What a powerful post! Pain and tragedy do give birth to purpose, direction, inspiration, and expansion! I completely agree! Thank you for sharing! I used my previous experience to make me a better person and to do right by everyone. I had somewhat a rough childhood which made me very humbled person overall. I think that was my lesson learned in the dark in addition to patience and resilience. However, navigating through challenges, adversities shows you how to lead during those difficult situations. However, sometimes those moments come from our own actions but nonetheless an experience to make us better
Dan, I found your last paragraph very insightful, the “lessons learned” in pain are usually in looking backward over time, not in the midst of the painful circumstance.
Pain disorients and in those moments knowing our more general unchanging (North Star like)/guidemarkers is vital.
In keeping with Dan’s heartfelt post, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of those books we should all read more than once in our lifetime. Dr. Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz, wrote that the only way to get beyond suffering is to give it meaning. That meaning has nothing to do with ego and everything to do with serving a greater cause than any one of us on our own. Starving, bone-thin, freezing and exhausted, Dr. Frankl also said that the one and only thing that could not be taken away from him as a prisoner was his freedom to choose his response to the circumstances he was in. By giving meaning to his suffering he survived and ultimately served humanity.