I am excited to introduce you to Dr. Sheri Prentiss. She is a proven visionary, best-selling author and highly sought-after physician leader. She is a board-certified occupational and environmental medicine physician, public health expert and a breast cancer survivor. After breast cancer treatment, left her disabled from lymphedema in her right upper extremity, stripping her of her lifelong dream of being a practicing physician, she reinvented herself. She went on to become a national public figure, professional speaker and entrepreneur/owner of her own health care consulting business.
She has been the catalyst for transformation in the space of cultural and workplace diversity for a myriad of organizations for more than two decades. As a former national spokesperson person for six years and the former national African-American health equity ambassador for two years of the world’s largest breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen, she is no stranger to the media be it TV, radio, print, or internet. She launched her show, The Live Show where you’re going to get to know about on CAN TV Channel 21. The show is designed to increase exposure to her nonprofit organization and provide valuable education and resources to individuals living with lymphedema. Dr. Sheri, thank you for being on the show, welcome.
Moneeka, I’m excited and I consider it an honor to be on your show. As a subscriber to your show, I kept thinking, “How can I pass that? How can I exceed that?” I took the tips. Hopefully, your guests will find me as exciting as your other previous guests.
Reading your bio brings emotion up in me because I know many people who have suffered through similar things. It’s interesting how we are on the other side of that. This conversation is going to be important to a lot of ladies. Thank you for being willing to be a leader in this space because breast cancer is huge. Many women suffer from it and we don’t talk about it.
I’ve always thought that it was important that I share my story because I could have gone through the diagnosis and kept my whole diagnosis, treatment, journey and path under the radar. Doing that was not going to share my testimony and it wasn’t going to bring strength in anybody else’s life. I would have garnered strength, but what was that doing to my fellow sisters out there that find themselves in the same situation?
What are the numbers?
It’s huge. You’re looking at 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lives. About every 60 seconds, we’re losing a sister to breast cancer. When we look at black women, in particular, we die 40% higher rate than our Caucasian counterparts, even when we control for types of cancer and access to care. When everything is equal, we’re still dying at an alarming rate. I think it’s important as a physician and now as a patient, having been on both sides of that table to be able to share my story so that individuals can journey down a path that is not as hard, as harsh, as painful and as lonely as mine was. Also, to hear my story and to implement changes in their lives, such that hopefully, they won’t even have my testimony. If they were to have it that they will jump on this bandwagon and on this crusade such that our children are not living with the fear of acquiring this disease.
It’s interesting because genetics do play a big part in it. Black women die significantly more. In Indians, I’m Indian and for us, we’re predisposed to heart disease and we tend to die from heart disease significantly more, even if all care is the same. It is interesting also the genetic element that you brought up.
Here’s what’s interesting with black women is that genetics make up less than 10% of the cancers. It is not genetics. With us, that’s why the role that I played with being the national ambassador for the Health Equity Initiative with Susan G. Komen, we were working with researchers and other nonprofit organizations in trying to figure out what are those elements that are causing us to die at an alarming rate. It’s not just genetics. It is a culture. It is a fact that we don’t talk about it. It is a fact that we may have the access. We may have hospitals there. The access is there, but we don’t have the insurance.
We’re finding that it’s more of the social determinants of health that is having the larger implications into why we are dying at a higher rate even though white women are being diagnosed, there isn’t as are higher, but our mortality rates are higher. What may appear on the surface, you got to take a deeper dive. What I’ve been helping other organizations do through my consulting business and through my nonprofit is trying to figure out what can we do? What are the areas that are contributing to these larger numbers and where our carrots, where are the low hanging fruits that we can get in right now, make a difference and see that needle turn just that?
Tell us a little bit about your story. What happened? Where were you when you got the diagnosis? What was going on?
At that time, my mom was in the end stages of her life. She had a condition called Sarcoidosis. It was primarily affecting her lungs. On October 1st, 2008, I had made arrangements for my mom to be transferred to inpatient hospice for what would be the last time to make some adjustments on her medications. I had to step back, be a daughter and no longer try to be a daughter and a doctor to my mom. I told her, “This is too hard for me. I need to take a step back.” I was proud of myself for taking a step back and letting other doctors care for my mom. While I’m on the phone with her, she calls me once she makes it to inpatient hospice, and being women, we multitask. I’m on the phone with her, ambulance dropped her off, but I’m doing myself breast exams at the same time.
Fears And Limitation: Social determinants of health have larger implications into why black women are dying at a higher rate of breast cancer.
It’s 9:00 PM. She’s asking whether or not I will come and see her because you can go anytime you like. The moment that I did the left and now I’m on the right, I felt a mass. I had my baseline mammogram in February of 2008. It was normal. Six months later, I’m doing my self-breast exam and this is why I tell every woman, “Know your body.” I feel a mass and it wasn’t there. Even though I am not a pessimistic person and I’m one of the most optimistic persons out there, immediately when I felt it, I knew it was cancer. That’s because I know my body. I wasn’t fooling around. I had helped a couple of other individuals two years prior and then one year prior along their cancer journey. As a result, I met some of the best breast cancer surgeons and oncologists in the country.
I had my repertoire and I kept their numbers simply because I was that other person’s confidant, their go-to, the person that helped them keep up with all of their schedules, doctors and numbers. I kept in my phone so that I would be able to talk to the doctor if my friend had an issue, not knowing that it would be me one day. I immediately called a breast surgeon at home and told her, “I found a mass. Are we going for a mammogram? Are we going straight for the diagnostic ultrasound? What are we doing?” I’m blurting out all of this stuff. She’s like, “Sheri, I need you to breathe. You’re going to come in. We need to do a diagnostic ultrasound. We’re going to go do that, but we’ll do a diagnostic mammogram first and we’re going to go through this.”
I found the mass on October 1st. Between October 1st and 13th, I had a biopsy done. I remember I was working from home that day in front of my computer the breast surgeon called me and she was like, “Hi, Sheri.” I’m like, “Bob, how are you doing?” It’s all nice and perky. She goes, “I’ve been better.” The moment she said that even though I knew that it was cancer, it was all these opportunities where you think, “Maybe not.” You would tell other individuals. I go, “It doesn’t have to be that bad.” When she said, “It came back as invasive ductal carcinoma.” Now that was the confirmation.
I immediately like, “What are we going to do? When is going to be the surgery?” When it was all said and done, I ended up with a partial mastectomy. They removed half of my right breast. She removed sixteen lymph nodes, three of which were positive for cancer. That meant chemotherapy. I underwent fifteen rounds of chemotherapy and 33 treatments of radiation all while only missing three days of work and those were the three days that I was in a hospital for surgery. I continue to plow through it. Most people didn’t even know I had been diagnosed because I was wearing wigs even before I was diagnosed, just because I like variety. I wear my hair one day, then I’ll be blonde next redhead two days later. They thought, “Sheri’s in another wig.”
This time, I was wearing shorter wigs because I think in my mind, I was preparing for being bald. I didn’t want to wear the wigs that were either my hair length, which was past my shoulder or longer. They thought I was wearing a cute, short style. It wasn’t until after radiation that when I got tired of wearing the wigs, I took them off. By then, I started having little peach buds, a little wavy, and everybody thought I cut off my hair. People are like, “Sexy haircut. Who did your hair?” I was like, “Chemo.”
Sometimes, that’s how I introduce people to my story. I said, “It wasn’t my choice. I’m having chemo. Chemo made the decision for me.” That’s how I began to share my story with other individuals. It wasn’t that I was initially hiding it. I was plowing through it. My mom died while I was going through chemo. When I got diagnosed, I still was her caregiver along with my dad. I had to deal with her death. I had to deal with being the executor of her state. I had to deal with caring for my dad. I had to deal with raising, co-parenting with my ex-husband two daughters.
I still had to oversee the 22 facilities that I was responsible for. I had to get on with life. I plow through it, sharing my story on an as-needed basis, but it wasn’t until I took the wig off. When people would complement me on my cute short hairstyle, I thought, “This is my opportunity to share my story.” Instead of saying, “Thank you.” I let them know, “It’s not my choice. Chemo made the choice for me.” I allowed that to be an opportunity for me to let them know what happened.
I’m like you. When I’m in trouble, I work harder. I know that for me, it’s the saving grace. I don’t want to talk about what’s wrong. I don’t want to ever see pity in people’s eyes. I don’t want to answer all the questions. A lot of times my own emotional stuff is enough for me to handle. I don’t want anybody else’s emotional stuff and their questions or the, “I’m sorry,” and the many times of, “How are you?” People are compassionate and kind. I’m not saying that that’s bad, but it pulls me more into it. That sounds a little bit weird. I realize as I say that, but it’s the way that I operate when I’m in trouble. Did you find that that was the thing that helped you go in and helped you get through the whole thing?
For me, yes, it did. Remember I told you I had two friends that I had helped from their journey and I was their voice to send out the update, emails to their family members or to friends or what have you. I chose to be my own voice. Since at that time, I was overseeing 22 different facilities. I had 110 full-time employees that are reporting to me. I became my own voice to those individuals. Now I added in my friends and family. I will send out weekly email updates. My closest circle knew. It wasn’t so much of me hearing on a regular basis that, “I’m sorry.” They knew how I felt because they were anticipating the updates.
Even though I would share and be very real with the pain, the sadness, the sorrow, all of the things that life continued to happen, it wasn’t just breast cancer, but mortgage still needed to be paid. The bad things still happen even in the midst of cancer. I sure would share it, but at the end of that email update, that Facebook post or whatever it was, I always left with an up note not necessarily so much for me, because I had already been through that experience. I had already suffered and went through all of that whole week. Now I’m letting you know what this past week did for me. How bad I felt when I was going through chemo on Monday. Tuesday was bad. On Wednesday, I felt a little better.
What I did was leaving that upbeat message at the end was for those individuals to know that I’m okay, that I’m good. If you find yourself in this situation, you can be good too. I didn’t hold back what I went through, the emotions and the bad stuff, but because by the time we shared it, I was already on the upswing. I left them on the upswing. It was less of them to come back and feel sorry for me or to feel sad. When I felt the, “I’m sorry,” it was when with the new individuals. It’s the person at Walmart that was checking me out and say, “Cute hairstyle.” I said, “Chemo will do it to you.” People are like, “You had chemo?” I’m like, “I’m a breast cancer survivor, but God is good. I’m surviving. I’m here. We going to keep it moving.”
That’s how I would approach it. The few times when I was around a group of individuals where it felt like my story was bringing them down, I would take the lead and say, “I didn’t share this with you to bring you down. I shared this with you so that you can have this in your armamentarium, such that if you’re facing this again, something similar or what you’re going through now feels overwhelming. Imagine you had that and breast cancer.” “I don’t have breast cancer.” Now you can say, “What I’m going through is not so bad.” I said, “No pity for me because I’m getting through it. God has given me the strength to go through it. I’m only sharing with you such that when you see me on the other side strong, you’ll know that there was a whole bunch of weak moments in between.”
Fears And Limitation: Individuals have varying levels of pain for different reasons.
Know that it’s okay to have your weakness and know that it’s okay to express your weakness. Stop feeling like you got to be strong for everybody because that’s not what God intended and that’s not even realistic. Men and women, have your moments of weakness and be willing to share, “I’m weak right now. I’m feeling bad right now. I don’t tend to stay here, but let me have my moment.” When you come through, you’re stronger and now you can bring somebody else along.
I had this whole experience of four years where I was trying to get pregnant. There were fourteen pregnancies and fourteen miscarriages. People are always looking at me like, “How do you get on the other side of that?” Could you imagine the level of emotion that I was suffering, my poor husband was suffering and to have to explain it over and over again. We all have different strategies on how we deal with the stress of going through this stuff. I wish I had heard when you had said now before that series of events for myself, because there were few up moments. There was the up moment of finding that I was pregnant, which was exciting. I immediately went into fear about losing it because I was under so much treatment.
I did have the highs and when I was excited, I couldn’t tell anybody about it. It was such an interesting thing. I’m glad that you’re talking about the way that you deal with this. I wonder how I could have done differently to have supported myself and the people I loved more. I feel like a lot of people felt shut out. It was protective of them. I didn’t want them going through the rollercoaster, but it was also protective of David and I so we didn’t have to deal with all of the questions.
It’s important because it ties in and it goes to show you that individuals have varying different levels of pain and sometimes, they’re at the same level for different reasons. I’ve never experienced a miscarriage. Two times I got pregnant, I delivered those children. I had complications with the second one. We didn’t think she or I would make it. I had a previous pregnancy that was successful, not that I was thinking of this at the moment, but people could look at it and say, “If that one was, she still had a successful history and so there was a chance.” I can only imagine six times in, “We have a five before, this is sixth times and then there’s the seventh time.” It’s important for individuals to hear the different levels and the different causes of extreme pain, what that means and then to be able to look at us now. It doesn’t mean that we’re still not impacted or affected by our past painful experiences, but look at what we’re doing with it.
Your story is empowering. Thank you for that. Tell us a little bit about how the diagnosis changed your worldview?
One, I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since I was two years old. I announced to my parents when Marcus Welby on television. I jumped up in bed and said, “I’m going to be a doctor.” They asked me, “Why?” I said, “I want to help people.” Number two, I want to make a lot of money. They thought that was funny. I’m listening to it even I’m 52 and I’m like, “Yes, this is funny because the second part wasn’t as evident. I made enough to do well by my family but didn’t make tons of money, but I did help thousands of people.” Now having rendered the diagnosis and having gone into medicine because I wanted to help people with my hands, with healing and do what I call it to alleviate suffering, I’ve always had what I thought to be a great bedside manner, emotional and cultural intelligence.
I made the point of understanding and knowing my patients and their families, respecting their wishes, religious beliefs and all of that. I’m lenient. I was one of the doctors that would take diagnoses home with me. We’re taught in medical school, “Get in there, do what you need to do, but you got to learn how to leave work at the job. Don’t bring it home.” I wasn’t one of those individuals. I am too tightly connected in my personal relationship with God for me to make that separation and that cut. I carried individuals with me. When I gave cancer diagnosis, terminal diagnosis, I offered up a prayer to my patients that were willing to pray because I know that this was a familiar diagnosis. It’s happening to that person, but the dominoes that that person is connected with, they’re going to be dominoes that fall and they’re going to be some that will never get back up again.
Now, I’m the patient and it caused me to see things from the insurance perspective. I had issues with insurance. I decided to be a part of a clinical study. My insurance then wouldn’t pay for some of my chemos, although my chemo had nothing to do with the research study. Because I was a physician, I knew how to fight that battle, but now I’m thinking about, “What about the patients who don’t know how work? Now, they’re stuck with these bills and thinking that they have no way out.” I’m now seeing what it’s like to live with the burns from radiation and still having to go to work and smile in the midst of pain and like, “Please don’t touch me. Please don’t hug me.”
Going through that, now living through it, it caused me to take a different approach with my patients, even when they came in for a back injury. If it was a back injury to a truck driver and now he couldn’t drive and it affected his job, I now had a different impact. Even though I worked through chemo, it was difficult. As far as my patients were concerned, my viewpoint changed and my viewpoint for life changed because I realized how your life can change in a split second. Had I not found the mass when I did, I would not have lived to see the summer. I was diagnosed in October. I was also diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening congenital heart defect while I was going through chemo.
It’s another condition that drove me to the hospital. My right coronary artery is being squished by my aorta and my pulmonary artery. The chemotherapy made the constriction even more. My right coronary artery was close to 90% blocked. I’m staring at a heart attack. A cardiologist tried to put in 22 different size stents but none of them work. I could see the tears in his eyes like, “I can’t do anything for you. I’m going to send you home with some lifelong medications. I pray you never get atherosclerosis. God bless you.” Now I’m living with life-threatening breast cancer. I’m dealing with a life-threatening cardiac defect. I realize life is too short for me to continue to exist. I thought that I was living, but in retrospect, I was existing. I would go from one health project to the next.
If this girlfriend needed me on this journey, I was there. This one needed me on that, I was there. My children needed me to do this, I was there. My patient needs me to do this and our families, I was there. My dad needed this, I was there. That’s what I did. I helped people. It brought me joy in helping individuals because that’s my nature, but I wasn’t being present. I could have planned a vacation with my daughters and work. I’m looking forward to the vacation where instead of when I had precious moments at dinner or precious moments watching the movie.
In my mind, I’m like, “I’m going to do this and going to take care of this. We leave in two weeks.” Occasionally watch the movie, then the commercial on my phone, I realized I had made my life very overwhelming. Suddenly I heard a voice that said, “You shall live.” I thought, “I had overcome breast cancer and this whole cardiac heart thing, I am living.” That was when I had the reflection of, “No, I wasn’t. I was existing. I was doing, I was being, but I wasn’t living.”
Fears And Limitation: Everybody is typically uncomfortable with change, even with good ones.
I want to stop and highlight that because we’re doing, does not mean we’re living. We have exciting vacations, we are taking the kids out, roller skating, dancing or whatever it is we’re doing does not mean we’re living. I want everybody to highlight, we as a world community are going through an experience of re-evaluating everything. As we do that, are we living? Are we hoping for a future so that this ends? Are we hoping that we’ll continue to be able to have what we have right now, or are we fully present and living in this moment for exactly what it is? If we’re living in the future and the hope of a future, if we’re this end crying over a past and things that we can’t have, if we’re in fear, if things are going to stay the way that they are right now, all of those things take us out from being present and being present is what is being alive.
That’s the realization I had to come to. When I accepted that, it stayed with me for a few weeks. I still didn’t understand what living meant, even after the acknowledgment that I had been existing. Now that I’ve realized that I existed and I was doing, “What does it mean to LIVE?” I then heard the voices again of what LIVE means. LIVE for me means, “To love myself and others, to inspire those around me, to voice my dreams and ambitions and finally, to enjoy life. That flipped the script for me.”
Now I’m like, “I get it.” That’s the type of living I’m talking about that I do now and every day. I don’t let anything get in the way of that. When something tries to creep in, a double-check, take a step back, look at my life where I was twelve years ago. When it flipped upside down and my lifelong dream was stripped from me in an instant. I went from being a practicing clinical physician to now being told by my boss at the time who wasn’t a clinical physician, “Sheri, a physician who was not clinically capable because of my lymphedema is of no value.”
That’s what I was told when I’m at the job that I’m overseeing 22 different facilities. It is the largest healthcare system in Illinois. I did my thing while fighting this battle, fighting for my life, losing my mom and all of that. When lymphedema struck, which caused permanent, severe swelling on my right arm, hand and fingers made it impossible for me to do the clinical functions on my job. My fingers don’t move the way they normally do. I had neuropathy from the chemotherapy. Touch is not even the same. Now all of a sudden, “I couldn’t do the clinical part, but overseeing 22 different facilities, I can do the administrative part.” We’ll bring in a resident straight out of residency. They can do my clinical stuff. My clinical staff was filling in for the docs when they were on vacation or out on CME.
Most of my position was administrative but what I didn’t appreciate at that time is that my boss had an ulterior motive. I believe that even if I didn’t have lymphedema, he was going to find a way to cause a severe there. This was his opportunity to bring me to his office in the midst of everything. Keep in mind that I only missed three days of work. I didn’t let any of my facilities suffer. I worked for the organization to be brought in the office, to be told that you had no value, it stripped something in me. That was the period of time when the realization of my existence came to my mind. When I accepted the fact that I had been existing, I still didn’t know what living meant.
Once what live to me meant was realized, my whole world changed. Opportunities changed because I looked for opportunities in areas that I had never looked before. My eyesight was close to it because I was existing. Sometimes you’d find when you were existing, you go along the same path and everybody is typically uncomfortable with change. Even a good change. Change is changing. It shapes your world. We stay in a safety zone when we’re existing because it’s safe, it’s comfortable. We’re existing. We’re staying on the radar, but when things like breast cancer, congenital heart defect, the death of a parent, and a divorce shake your existing world, what will you do with it?
What realization will you come to, to get you over that? Mine was to live. It opened my eyes to opportunities that I had been blinded to. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t scared of stepping out of that safety zone because I was, but I learned by stepping up to the plate, even when I was afraid of striking out. It opens up a world of blessings and opportunities to me that I would never experience had I not been willing to step out, but learning to live is what caused me to gain that strength to step out.
Tell me what you’re doing now. How did that turn around? You went from managing all these hospitals. What did you do?
I realized I was existing in December of 2010 and was told that I had no value. Now, God tells me to live. I know how to live means. In January, Susan G. Komen put out a call looking for a new national spokesperson. Because I had participated in my first three-day event four months prior, I was included in the call. They terminated me from that job that I thought I was going to one day retire and now I’m clinically disabled, I guess I could apply. I had never done media, been on a stage, did the opening and closing ceremony, conducted a camp show and did entertaining, song, dance and all that stuff. Now all of a sudden, they’re looking for one and I’m like, “I’m free. I don’t have a job.”
I applied and after 586 applications, they offered the job to me. I realize, “I can do more than just treat patients clinically. I have an opportunity to heal with my voice. I have an opportunity to share my story on a national and global scale. I have an opportunity to speak and my voice be heard by millions. What can I say that will make a difference that would drop a seed in their life and cause a spark?” Sometimes all you need to leave with a person is a spark. They’ll take that spark and somebody else will help them run with it. Now, this opened doors for me. It allowed me to see that I’ve always had the gifts and talents of being able to speak. Speaking in front of people has never been an issue for me. As a matter of fact, the more the merrier. I got into my element and I learned that people want to hear my story.
Now I realize that even though I’m cultivating the ability to speak and do interviews, there was still certain expertise that I didn’t have so I self-taught myself. I joined the NSA. I went through the appropriate steps to become a certified speaking professional. That is the highest designation awarded by NSA and less than 600 of us in the world hold this designation. I didn’t stop there. I realized, “I still got it from a medical standpoint. The administrative work that I was doing for that healthcare system, I can still do it for other employers, for other healthcare systems if they need me.” I put together my LLC. I made it official. I put myself out there. I learned what it meant for branding. I learned how to brand myself. I worked with different marketing and advertising agencies. I set up the right pathway to brand Dr. Sheri. What does that mean?
Now when people hear it, Google it, they know what to expect. They know that they’re getting somebody top-notch, that’s going to come in, help them organize their organizations such that their employees are in a safe and healthy work environment. They know that Dr. Sheri is coming in and she’s going to serve as an expert witness on the stand for either a work comp case or maybe for a patient who has had some type of environmental insult. They know that Dr. Sheri is going to come to the stage and bring the keynote 110% of herself, emcee a program or moderate a panel. I went through the proper channels to now reinvent myself, doing something that I would have never imagined in 100 years that I would be doing on a consistent basis and I have not looked back.
Fears And Limitation: You will never be fulfilled if you’re not living out your full potential or unwilling to take the first step.
I thought that when the clinical practice left, that depression and loss was deep and real, I didn’t think that I would be able to feel that void. Once I learned that I would live, I did because again, it changed my mindset, viewpoint. It put me on a whole new path for myself. Now, Dr. Sheri is a keynote speaker, moderator and emcee. She’s also a best-selling author of When Everything Changed: My Journey from Physician to Patient. She’s also the president and CEO of S. Phillips Consulting, a healthcare organization and consulting firm that provides organizations with all of their policies, procedures, updates and guidance to create a safe and healthy work environment.
Ladies, I met Dr. Sheri at the New Media Summit. I was impressed by her personality and vivaciousness. She’s fun because she wears this beautiful black glove. It goes all the way up over her elbow. She looks incredibly elegant. She wears sparkly bracelets around it. She stands out as this amazing woman. When you know her story and you’re like, “That’s interesting.” That’s her signature. You walk into a room and this is part of her branding. It’s incredible. I was thinking like, “What can we talk about on this show as a real estate show that would keep this relevant.” I hope you ladies see why I wanted so much to share her with you because this story, many of us go through our own journey of challenge. The big thing here is to recognize how important mindset is in dealing with change.
We’re dealing with change in the world community now, but even on a micro-level, those of you who are reading may be thinking about investing in real estate. Maybe you have an executive position, a stay-at-home mom or a single mom trying to survive with the kids and to make a change into a new career, a new type of investing or into real estate in any way can feel like such a huge barrier to get past. Whether it’s a big life-changing thing that you can’t be a doctor anymore or it’s, “I want to do something better for me or my family and start investing in real estate,” it’s not less real, not less big, and not less hard. We go through this stuff on so many areas of our life. I hope that Dr. Sheri’s amazing story will encourage and inspire you to take a look at what you can do bigger in your own life for yourself.
I hope it does because there are many individuals out there that need help. Whether we like it or not, people are watching us and they are impacted by how we live. You may think that your role in life is insignificant. You may think that your neighbor doesn’t notice you, you think that, “I’m not noticed in my job. I’m not appreciated in my home,” but you are part of a whole domino series. There are many individuals that are connected to you. You possess an inner strength that if you tap into it, I know that it can be very fearful and scared. When I tell individuals to have courage, I’m not telling them not to fear. I’m telling them to go forward in the midst of that fear. Fear is an emotion that you can’t say, “I’m not afraid,” because fear is going to exist. You can say it all you want but that doesn’t make it so.
Courage is when you can move past it. Courage is when I travel across the world and I’m seeing in women that are affected by lymphedema and they’re not treated. They know the treatment, they know to have compression garments, but they can’t afford it. I hear it over and over again until one time I make up in my mind, “What can I do about it? I’m hearing about it and I’m comforting them. I’m telling women that, ‘You need to get treated.’ I’m informing, I’m making them aware of it, I’m educating, but for the women who can’t afford it, what do I do for them?” I will reach out to them and say, “Send me an email.” I would connect them with the company and tell the company to bill me.
After a while, I realized that, “I can’t do this with everybody that I meet because I meet a lot of people.” I decided to start my own nonprofit organization, the LIVE-Today Foundation. That was a lot stepping out with still having my business and children that you’re raising. I felt that it was necessary because there are underserved, under resourced cancer survivors out there living with lymphedema and they can’t afford compression garments. I wanted to be an avenue for that. There are still physicians out there that don’t know how to properly diagnose lymphedema. They certainly aren’t aware of the psychosocial impact, like losing a career as I did. There are patients that don’t know the importance of treatment. By starting my own nonprofit, I reach out, find partners, found the right sponsors and now we can meet a need.
Can I meet the global need? Absolutely not, but I’m doing my part. That’s what you and I are sharing with individuals. There is a part that you can do, but you will never know what you are capable of and you will never be fulfilled because you’re not living out your full potential unless you’re willing to take that step. It’s like going up a staircase in the dark. You may not be able to see the full staircase but once you take that first step, even if you can’t fully see that next step, proprioception, your foot can feel that next step and it can help guide you.
Sometimes it may not be a light shining on that next step, but maybe a bump. Maybe a bump from your husband and say, “Get on out there and go take that real estate test,” or a bump from a sister that says, “Can you be my realtor for my home? If anybody’s going to get the commission, I’d rather keep it in the family.” You never know how things are going to come together until you take a step. Nobody’s going to come and knock on your door and say, “I want to buy a house and I want you to be the one to find it for me. Could you go ahead and become a real estate professional?” You got to take a step because God is only going to do what you can’t do, not what you can. Do what you can and allow things to fall in place. If that path doesn’t work, you’re not a failure because you tried something and it doesn’t work out. You fail only when you stop trying.
If that doesn’t work out, it’s okay. You’re not married to it, but you got the experience of stepping through your fear of embracing your own courage and that’s extremely admirable. Few people do it. It’s a thing that makes you feel most alive. Sheri and I are going to do an EXTRA and we’re going to be talking about how to stay in your own lane. What are the top three things you can do in your business that you can excel at so that you can grow and sustain your own business? Dr. Sheri explained it to me this way. There are about ten million things people are telling you you should do for your business. This is true in real estate and any business.
In real estate, it’s how many different strategies are you going to expose on this show? There are many things we could be doing. You need to focus because success does not come until you focus. She’s going to be talking about that in EXTRA and how she’s done it and how you can do it too. Before we move on from here, Dr. Sheri, tell everybody how they can meet you and tell us about your amazing gift that you’re offering my audience.
If you want to find the go up to my website, www.DrSheriMD.com. You can also shoot me an email at DrSheri@DrSheriMD.com. There’s a contact form. Reach out to me. I’m here for you. I want to help individuals learn how to truly let go, live today, and every day. My free gift to individuals is the Four Tips On How To L.I.V.E. As I expressed to you, LIVE means, love yourself and others, inspire those around you, voice your dreams and ambitions and to enjoy life. I’ve created an entire blueprint on how to let go and live. What I want to give you, at least as a starter is a teaser. It’s something that can get you started on that journey are the Four Tips On How To L.I.V.E. If you apply those four tips, something’s going to stir down on the inside of you and a light bulb is going to go off. If you never say, “I want the full blueprint.” If you can change your life in jumpstart something of those four tips, then my appearance on this show would have been well worth it.
Dr. Sheri, are you ready for three rapid-fire questions?
Fears And Limitation: Following your passion will push and carry you through the ups and downs of life.
Yes. I’m ready.
Tell us one super tip on getting started in real estate investing?
One super tip would be to know your passion and follow it. Whatever your passion is, that is what you want to follow because that’s what’s going to push you and carry you through the ups and the downs, through the questioning, “Should I? Would I?” It’s going to be the thing that drives you from day-to-day waking up with joy, pursuing your passion, going to bed at night knowing, “I did a good job.”
Tell us one strategy for being successful in real estate investing?
It’s remaining true to yourself. You’re going to get a lot of advice about what to do, what to say, how to say it and where you should be, but remain true to you. You can follow advice, but if it’s not part of you, the real you, part of your truth, don’t follow it because you won’t be able to live in that truth.
What would you say is one daily practice that you do that contributes to your personal success?
One that I would say is my time for devotion. I say that because people can choose what their devotion is. For me, it is a quiet time to reflect on what I’ve done, what I want to do and how will my life be glorified in someone else’s life? I can’t do that unless I have quiet time to myself to reflect into here where I should go. For me, on a daily basis, I start off my day with a quiet time of devotion listening. I know I have my to-do list, but in my to-do list, what can I do that will also not only be a blessing for my household but a blessing in someone else’s household? Sometimes that takes me different than what I had in black and white to do that day. Sometimes it’s an added phone call, a checkup text or a check-in email, but I find that when I’m willing to give of myself, giving comes back to me.
Thank you for everything you’ve given on this portion of the show. I can’t wait until EXTRA, but this has been amazing.
Thank you, Moneeka for having me. It’s my pleasure.
Ladies, stay tuned for EXTRA. We’ve got more. We’re going to be talking about how to stay in your lane and pick those things that you can excel at so that your business can succeed. If you are subscribed to EXTRA, stay tuned. If you’re not subscribed but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenExtra.com. The first seven days are free. You can download as many of these EXTRAs that you like and binge. You can decide if it’s for you or not but get started. There’s lots of good juicy stuff. For those of you that are leaving us, thank you for joining Dr. Sheri and I for this portion of the show. I look forward to seeing you next time. Until then, always remember, goals without action are dreams. Get out there, take action and create the life your heart deeply desires. I’ll see you soon. Bye.
About Sheri Prentiss
Dr. Sheri Y. Prentiss, commonly known as Dr. Sheri, has impacted lives across the globe, promoting the essentials of health and well-being.
Dr. Sheri is an industry leader and subject matter expert in occupational health and wellness, having more than 20 years of experience as a Board-certified occupational medicine physician.
She is also a Certified Physician Executive with a Master’s degree in Public Health and proficiency in healthcare management and organizational administration.
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