I learned a new concept the other day ... "Lived Experience", well not so much the concept as the words to describe it. It is a more high brow version of "been there, done that, got the t-shirt". I have many lived experiences, probably the most compelling and life changing include having had cancer twice, being downsized out of a high level corporate job after 27 years and surviving an abusive marriage. Interesting that these experiences were horrible, in degrees, but that they had the most impact on who I am today.

I have been invited to speak a number of times on my experience with cancer, had the opportunity to share my learnings about being downsized but never discussed the abuse, not many people know about that... until now! I have even written a book that was birthed from my experiences waiting during my treatment. The really wonderful part of these experiences is that they made me stronger by strengthening my Faith and finding resources in myself I didn't know existed.

One time when I had the opportunity to speak to some cancer survivors I shared with them the concept of an Oprah moment. Although we don't see Oprah regularly anymore, most of us can remember the show and stories of people on it who overcame the odds. Similar to the talent exhibited on shows like "The Voice", "America's Got Talent" and "America's Got Talent" there are so many of us just going along with our daily lives who have wisdom to share for challenges overcome, fears faced or hearts healed. In the moment of the black whirlpool of absolute angst, with ringing in our ears, wondering what will become of us, perhaps the thought of an "Oprah moment", assuaged with our memories of previously overcoming life challenges, can save us from being pulled into the vortex of fear and dread.

Sharing that experience with a group of people who were recently downsized from a company was cathartic for me and a gift to them (they told me so). But in doing so I had to share the good parts and the not so good parts (because that is where the learning occurs). The opportunity to be present with people who are suffering so that they don't feel alone and showing that many, many people survive and thrive (not just the ones on TV shows and who write books) is a great gift we can share with another human being!

With so much strife in the world today, what Lived Experience can you share with the LinkedIn community to help them navigate the vortex? Please reply below with your insights, learning, or Oprah moment. And if you are in the midst of a vortex, know that you are never alone, God has you in the palm of his hand, always.

Karen DeCuir-DiNicola