What is the worst possible scenario that could be? It’s not always our truth!

Don’t let the title of this article lead you to a negative mindset, it’s not meant to. It is all about shifting to a more positive and realistic frame of mind. In coaching we call this “safety net” coaching and we use it to let clients explore what the worst possible outcome in a situation might be, because most of the time it isn’t the truth and just a story or a flurry of thoughts that we create in our minds that only serves us by holding us back and keep us stuck in non-movement and in a place of fear. It came to mind for me earlier today as fear came up for me. It was then that I realized that I had unknowingly used safety net coaching in my own life challenges and I thought I would share some examples of what that looks like. Fear can be a very real feeling, yet it can also be a debilitating one and in that sense not real and it holds us back from what we truly want.

So for me in certain life challenges and to get to the next level I had to ask myself the question: “What is the worst possible thing that could happen?” When I thought about the worst and wrapped my mind around that, I think it lead me to: “Ok, so what is the best possible outcome?” and it allowed me to process things in a more realistic and present mindset.

When I was deciding if I wanted to end a marriage in my late 20’s, I was terrified to leave the relationship for many reasons and I thought of what the worst possible outcome could be, and there really was none. In fact, the worst possible scenario would have been if I stayed in the relationship and remained unhappy and looked back in the same place years later with regret.

In my 30’s I experienced the traumatic event of my mother’s passing and giving birth to my daughter within days. I was in a very dark place called a “grief induced post-partum depression.” For me simply being in that state was the worst possible scenario, so I finally managed to shift out of it (with much support in many areas) to a place of turning all of my negative life experiences into positive ones.

In my 40’s I was diagnosed with breast cancer and that was definitely a game changer for me because I was consciously aware at that time and the thoughts and emotions kept flowing around my mortality, around where my life was going, around my career, my relationship and my children. I remember thinking at that time also: “What is the worst possible thing that could happen?” The answer there was that I could not control this diagnosis and that yes, the worst case scenario would be I could die. Being a religious person and one with a very deep connection to faith, I was willing to accept that if it was, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about what could be and what would be and that was the best possible scenario. So when I got passed the place of what the worst could be, I was able to get to what the best possible outcome could be and although it would be a painful and emotional experience, I could walk through what I had to face, get the care and treatment that I needed and then get back to managing my relationships, my career, the care of my children and of myself.

More recently I experienced this with a career change. After 30 years in one field, I decided to start two new businesses. My initial reaction was to immediately revert to safety and took a very well-paying job where someone else would employ me. This didn’t sit well in me for long in my gut and I decided to nix that choice and go with opening up both businesses. Again, I asked myself: “What’s the worst case scenario?” The answer was simple: “If I failed I could always go back to safe, but if I didn’t explore the fear the regret would be even worse!” So here’s the thing, by exploring the worst possible scenario came the birth of the best case scenario and what exists now for me, the opening and sustaining of both businesses and the flexibility to pursue my passion.

So you see, most of the time we go on automatic pilot and think the only thing that can happen is the worst possible scenario, when in reality that is so far from the truth because we have so many options open and available to us.

Even if we do have to face the “worst possible scenario” we can do it in a place where we live in the moment and we make choices on how we want to move forward. I am seeing it via a colleague who is facing a “worst case scenario” in terms of an illness that is very real and she still walks and lives in a space of her best possible scenario every day. I have to say I am truly amazed and inspired and so happy to know her and be taught by her. We are forever all teachers and students and we were put on this earth to explore and make choices. 


Gina Costa, CPC, ELI-MP is the founder of New Beginnings Coaching Services, LLC, which helps women diagnosed with breast cancer cope, step by step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience, so they gain confidence and feel in control of their life again. To learn more about Gina and her coaching practice, visit http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com

Cancer, It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint!

When surgeries and treatment are over it’s time to embark on new territory. Adjusting to life after treatment can be challenging. Treatments and doctor visits stop and in some cases survivors can feel very alone and isolated. You can be left with the feeling of: “What direction do I go in now? I feel so lost!” These feelings and emotions that come up at this stage of the journey are completely valid and normal for what you are going through. Don’t forget, for the last year to two years you have probably been using all of the energy that you have to get from point “A” to “B” and all of your doctors, nurses and other caregivers have become your family over the months and years of treatment. So when the routine ends, of course you are left feeling a little bewildered as to where to turn next.

During this time, your relationships may have also changed along with other changes like career adjustments, eating and exercise habits. You may also be feeling fatigue as a result of anesthesia’s, chemotherapy or hormone therapies. Your energy and engagement definitely feel different as well.

Although this can feel like a downer to most survivors in that moment of discovery, the good news is that we all have choices and there are so many options open to us. Consider this a time for recreating your life and your perspective of how you view your life and how you want to live it moving forward. It is really all an education and growth process. Some of the choices that we can make from the “get go” are letting go of how you “used to do things”, e.g., constantly picking up around the house and making sure laundry is folded immediately and that the house is pristine or whatever your “used to be” modus of operation was. This is the time to learn to let go of the little things take the time to focus on what matters, mainly healing and living! Learn to ask for help, delegate to others and most of all exercise self-care! One of the best ways, aside of physical activity, to decrease fatigue is to decrease stress levels and this may mean doing less, or doing things differently and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can open you up to so much more of what you really want to do. You might also want to give yourself permission to take a break or nap or simply take some “alone” time for yourself to reflect on what is next for you.

I encourage my clients to take a look back and embrace how far they have come, then to look at their old way of doing things to see if those old thoughts and behaviors still serve them. In many cases, your eyes can be opened to a whole new way of living and you might even be wondering why you hadn’t made these choices in the past. The answer to that question really doesn’t matter, what matters is that you realize that you have these choices in the now are you are ready to start acting upon them.

Again, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the process can be an enlightening one! If you need support along the way, contact me!


Gina Costa, CPC, ELI-MP is the founder of New Beginnings Coaching Services, LLC, which helps women diagnosed with breast cancer cope, step by step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience, so they gain confidence and feel in control of their life again. To learn more about Gina and her coaching practice, visit http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

New Beginnings After Breast Cancer - A Survivor's Story

So much comes up when we receive our initial cancer diagnosis. I remember receiving mine and I immediately reframed it to taking cancer out of the equation. I told my husband right there in the moment: “this isn’t cancer, this is the boob job I always wanted.” And yes, the tears definitely fell from my eyes throughout the experience, but I kept an Rx of humor in my back pocket along with many other coping skills I had collected over the years.

For me personally, I was able to embrace a positive mindset immediately because of the lengthy and rocky relationship I had with cancer. I was caregiver to my mother who died of complications of being treated with chemo for her stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2001. She passed away and 3 days later I gave birth to my first born. To say the least, this was a very dark period for me but when I came out of it I vowed to turn all of my negative life events into positive ones. This was a conscious choice that I made on how I wanted to live my life moving forward. It helped me shed so much of the negativity that surrounded me as a child. It further lead me to being very proactive in my own health, pursuing genetic testing and becoming a top individual fundraiser for women’s cancers for an organization based in NYC and LA. Then I had the experience of my sister being diagnosed with breast cancer and a year later I received the same diagnosis.

I had a lot of tools to get me through my diagnosis and treatment. However, I still went through the entire process. Initially, I had feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious, followed by doubt and a little depression which ultimately lead me to acceptance. I had doubts on what my life would look like “after cancer” and how people would receive me. Getting through and to all of these emotions is key to getting to a place of peace and acceptance. When you get to that point you are fully able to accept what has been placed on your doorstep so that you can put your efforts into working on what you can control in your life and letting go of what you can’t. What you can do is take control of your health and your life from this point on.

Giving up control of “doing it all” for the sake of others and getting support is also critical, followed by self-care. There is no other way to fully heal unless you learn to go down this path. So many of my clients have trouble giving up the old mindset of: “If I don’t do it myself, it won’t get done” or finally coming to the place where they realize everything they have done up until this point in their lives has been to please others and they rarely do anything for themselves first. They get to a place where they realize that it is “OK” to allow them to receive!

You see, with a cancer diagnosis, not only do thoughts and emotions come up around a diagnosis and treatment, they also come up about who you are at your core. I am not one to minimize the impact of a cancer diagnosis (I saw my mother through her last days in hospice, they are forever etched in my mind and I have had my own physical and emotional journey with breast cancer) but I try to help my clients come to a place where they can see the opportunity to create awareness of who they are,  how they are living and how they can use this life altering experiencing to reassess their lives to reduce stress which feeds not only physical healing but in the mind as well and making choices to pursue the life you have always wanted to live. This can include looking at yourself and why you act as you do on a deeper level, looking at your relationships to see which serve you and those that do not, looking at the patterns in your lifestyle that have kept you on the same page and left you wondering why you are still there and so much more. When you go to your core to find out who you really are vs. who you think you should be, magical things can happen.

The next step is taking action and making choices to change your life. The choice is yours!


Gina Costa, CPC, ELI-MP is the founder of New Beginnings Coaching Services, LLC, which helps women diagnosed with breast cancer cope, step by step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience, so they gain confidence and feel in control of their life again. To learn more about Gina and her coaching practice, visit http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Fear Around Cancer Recurrence

I was at a conference this weekend, among a group of women who had metastatic breast cancer. The courage and the fear that these women had was amazing! They all came to the discussion wanting answers to individual questions and the group provided a safe place for them to share all of their fears and accomplishments. It was amazing how at the beginning of the discussion the energy was kind of wary in the room, but by the end of the discussion there was a sense of unity among the group!

One woman expressed how she had beat the disease for many years without recurrence, but now because of that length of time that had gone by, she had a feeling that “the other shoe might drop” and that maybe it was time for her disease to recur. She also expressed that if and when she passed from her disease she was concerned about all of the grief and pain her children would have to endure.

Fear of recurrence is a very real, valid and normal feeling for survivors of any cancer and it is always there lurking in the back of one’s mind. As a survivorship coach it was amazing what the group, myself included, tried to share with this woman and that was to shift her perspective to not seeing the length of her “well-being” as a fear, but more of an accomplishment of all of the achievements since her diagnosis and perhaps the longer “out” since diagnosis and treatment she was, how much better life could be. We also shared a change of perception of why not enjoying her children and have her children enjoy her in the here and now in lieu of thinking about the future, which often causes fear and anxiety.

For myself, I will admit, fear of recurrence is always there for me, but I don’t live my life daily in that state or rather I reframe my thoughts so see and live a better picture. I have learned that there are triggers for me that prompt my fear of recurrence. Since I have had so many losses in my life, e.g., divorce, loss of my mom and days later giving birth to my daughter, and via the diagnosis of breast cancer and losing the “old me” that when things start going well for me and in a very energetic direction, that is when my fear of recurrence comes in. Somewhat like this woman, when things are going my way, thoughts like: “Omg, things are going so well, this is too good to be true, my cancer must be coming back!!!” come up for me. This can be a very real and frightening experience and it can bring you back to the day of diagnosis. When these draining thoughts come up for me I catch myself and tell myself that the messages that I am hearing are my “trigger points” and that they are coming from an old voice inside of my head that is no longer serving me. Once I get to this place I am able to shift and refocus my thoughts to the here and now.

If you think about it, the here and now is all any of us really have so why not inhale and embrace every moment of it. Just remember a few things: you are not alone and all of the thoughts, feelings that are coming up for you are perfectly valid and normal for where you are. The thing is, you have a choice to change your thoughts and that can change your life!

If you are need some support in your journey in this regard, reach out to me or another professional. You can live a life of peace and happiness with cancer.  Cancer does not define you, you define you and changing your thoughts can create sustainable change for you! 

Coaching provides a safe, confidential environment for you to share your experiences, while collecting tools to shift your perspective from draining thoughts to healing thoughts.  You can email me at gina@newbeginningswithgina.com, visit my fb page: facebook.com/ginacostacoach, visit my website: gina@ewbeginningswithgina.com or just give me a call 917-882-2402. 


Gina Costa, CPC, ELI-MP is the founder of New Beginnings Coaching Services, LLC, which helps women diagnosed with breast cancer cope, step by step, with the emotional and physical challenges they experience, so they gain confidence and feel in control of their life again. To learn more about Gina and her coaching practice, visit http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/

Source: http://www.newbeginningswithgina.com/