It was exactly one year ago …

May 21, 2012.

The day after my 51st birthday.

A day that I will never ever forget for the rest of my life.

It was the day that I went to the doctor because I suspected I had breast cancer. Unfortunately I was right. Stage 3 to be precise.

Talk about life throwing you to the ground! One minute you’re great and the next you’re down on the ground flat on your back.

Now that I’m on the other side of it, and I have my hair and a lot of my health back, I can safely tell you that it was certainly NOT an easy year! In fact, my 51st year was horrible thank you very much. It did teach me quite a bit though and for that I’m very grateful.

First, as many of you know already, I don’t believe in failure. Not because I never fail, it’s because failure usually gets me going in the right direction. So dying from this disease was not an option. That would be the ULTIMATE failure right? I accepted the diagnosis with a huge dose of fear and anger (just like everyone else) and after a short period of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to fight. I’m still fighting as I’ve completely changed my diet, am back to jogging six times a week and have a brand new mindset. I’m also now going in a brand new exciting direction and will have a new book out by the end of the year. See what I mean? It forced me to change my course and walk in a new direction.

Here’s something else I don’t believe in … I don’t think you can be happy and positive 100% of the time. It’s just not going to happen because it’s not sustainable. Why? Mostly because life has a nasty way of hitting you when you’re not looking, and when it hits hard it’s usually not pretty. Hard to be positive when you’re in crisis mode and feeling like crap.

So here’s something else I learned this past year … IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK!

Just don’t live there.

You need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from it and move on. It really doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a business mistake or a life altering moment, you still need to recover from it and move on. Dwelling on it will not make it go away. Trust me on this.

Dwelling on the fact that I got breast cancer did nothing except make me feel worse. It didn’t cure me, nor did it make the pain go away. I couldn’t control the fact that I got cancer and had to have a double mastectomy, chemo, radiation and Herceptin, but I darn well could control how I got through it. So I mentally decided to get through it with as much grace as possible, and now that I’m almost on the other side of it I can safely tell you that looking at it from a positive perspective got me through with minimal side affects. Some days were harder than others of course, and often I had to rely on other people to get my spirits up … but I’m alive on the other side and darn proud of it.

Dwelling on the fact that two business ventures (one company and one association) that I started failed did nothing to help the situation. It actually made it worse. If you keep looking at the bad side of something eventually it will drag you down and you’ll stay there. It’s hard to be happy when you’re looking at negativity and a bank account going in the wrong direction. Look at it this way though … you didn’t fail … you successfully learned what didn’t work!!!! Now go try again! I did with both of those ventures and each one has a brand new name, new focus and both are now doing quite well.

Never ever give up.

Here’s a reality check … if you want to be a success in business and life, then you’re going to fall down once in a while, and its going to hurt. Life is like that. One day you are on top of the world and the next day you’re down on the ground. The trick is to look at the positive side of things when you’re down there.

How do I stay positive when life hits me in the face? My husband Ron and I laugh. We crack jokes and poke fun at it. We then look at what we DO have and practice gratitude. We smile even when we don’t feel like it and we help other people be happy.

So if you are facing a major business or life crisis … it’s OK to not be OK!!!

It’s perfectly fine to be upset or angry about it. Just remember to not stay there because the longer you stay down in negativity the harder it is to get up again.

Being positive in a crisis is often a minute by minute choice. It’s something you have to work hard at. When I was sick during chemo and radiation, I had to work really really hard to stay positive, but I kept at it every single day. I looked at positive pictures that made me smile. I listened to music that motivated me. I watched motivational speakers on television and the internet that made me feel better and gave me tools to get through the day. I also held onto my two sons and husband and best friend Ron as well as several good friends of mine that ran to my side when I was diagnosed (thank you Lisa Ann, Jackie, Mindy, Mandy, Paulette and Vivienne). They called me on the phone, sent food and flowers, cards and ecards, texted me and never let me stay negative. They always had a positive encouraging word and kept me moving forward. Plus I had the incredible support of dozens of concierge and what felt like 1/3 of the population of Hoboken NJ!. My husband Ron grew up in Hoboken and I’ve learned that they stick together like glue and support each other no matter what. It didn’t matter to them that I didn’t grow up there, I felt their love and support and it helped get me through. I am blessed.

I also forgave the ones that ran away from me as fast as their legs could carry them. I did wonder if they thought I was contagious, but eventually let them go as they obviously had their own struggles to bear. Did it hurt? Absolutely it did. You move on though because carrying resentment is toxic and my body has had enough toxins put into it to last a lifetime.

So when life throws you down on the ground … keep getting up!!!!!

Follow your intuition and let it guide you back onto your feet. Your heart knows the way.

So goodbye Katharine 1.0 … it was certainly an interesting ride.

Katharine 2.0 is here … Look out world here I come!

With peace and love,


Copyright 2013 by Katharine Giovanni, All Rights Reserved

Author's Bio: 

Katharine is an award-winning author, motivational speaker and the world’s leading concierge trainer and consultant. She is the founder of both Triangle International (also known as Triangle Concierge) and the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association (ICLMA) as well as the author of several business and motivational books. She can be reached through her websites at; and