Be Inspired to rise above!

I have always been inspired by people who have overcome great challenges and who go beyond just surviving to actually thriving. It’s impressive when people chose to test themselves by taking on activities that the majority of people don’t, such as an extreme sport. But the people who really impress me are those who don’t choose the challenge (or trauma) they experience or are witness to and yet, they manage to emerge like a phoenix from the ashes to be or do something extraordinary despite their history or circumstances.

When I received a life-threatening diagnosis, I looked for inspiration from people who had already been through a similar experience and were flourishing even if they weren’t cured – and there were more of them than I expected. They amazed me with how they showed up while still bravely grappling with a daunting condition.

One who I look to for a periodic shot of inspiration is Sophie Sabbage, a 6.5 yr survivor/thriver of lung cancer with brain and bone metastases. She has shared her roller coaster journey with amazing honesty and vulnerability in a blog, on Facebook and in three books!! she has written while dealing with her many treatments. Sophie offers this wisdom:

 “I have discovered it is possible to be well even when you feel ill and to live boldly even when – perhaps especially when – you’re told you’re going to die.”

Another brave woman who embodies this is Jane Marczewski whose professional name as a singer is Nightbirde. Her story popped up on my Upworthy feed recently. She received the golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent from the notoriously critical judge Simon Cowell, after singing a song she wrote “It’s OK’ and sharing that she had cancer for the third time with a 2% chance of survival. Jane made clear that she did not want her condition to define her.

   “It’s important that everyone know I am much more than the bad things that happen to me”.

These women have not put their lives on hold until they are well, but are living fully while grappling with adversity and uncertainty. It is not just people dealing  with cancer that inspire me, but also many others who have experienced unfathomable traumas yet navigate their journeys with positive attitudes and bold actions. They emerge as lights that can illuminate the way for the rest of us.


Rising Above Challenges

card by Jane Norton

I made this card shortly after my diagnosis and placed it in a visible location to remind me to stay focused on positive expectations while traversing the peaks and valleys of my healing journey. 

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

Jane Marczewski, Nightbirde

  • who inspires you and why do they?
  • how can you adapt what you’ve learned from them to your own life??
  • do you have your own story of surviving & thriving that could inspire others?

Every day find someone or something that inspires you.  Subscribe to Upworthy (a site that amplifies stories and ideas that inspire and uplift),  the Good News Network  or the Inspirational People section of Good News Shared.

Look to Nature for examples of amazing regeneration after adverse events – natural or human caused.


Sophie Sabbage is an inspirational writer, speaker, and facilitator who has worked in the field of human development and corporate culture change for more than twenty years. Her cancer story and shared wisdom about healing is at Cancer Whispering. 

For more inspiration, check out Jane Marczewski/ Nightbirde’s America’s Got Talent performance.