The doctor said, “You have 9 months to live.”

At 32 years of age, my best friend Bill Walter was diagnosed with level 5 melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. The prognosis was not good. He had a young family, a beautiful wife, and a great career.

Crushing news like that leads most of us to despair or despondency. However, Bill refused that and began reframing.

He watched videos of things that made him laugh.

He read inspirational books.

He listened to positive messages.

He tried to control his negative thoughts.

He was always making others laugh in spite of his circumstances.

He relived the happy moments of his life over and over.

He reframed his priorities to focus on what mattered most in life.

Ultimately, my best friend lived almost 4 times longer than doctors predicted because he reframed his situation.

We can practice reframing as well, both personally and professionally.

Start by making a list of exquisite moments, times in your life that you felt immense joy or incredibly happy. Here are some ideas:

– Your wedding day

– The birth of a child

– Acing an exam or obtaining a difficult certification

– Finishing that race or athletic competition

– Nailing a presentation

– Viewing a spectacular sight

– Learning something new

– Receiving a big award or surprise recognition

Keep those moments top of mind when you need to reframe a bad situation.

Refuse to let your mind be altered by negativity. Relive one of those moments and use the energy and feeling you experienced to help reframe your current situation.

Great leaders do this all the time by:

– Finding the good in a chronically negative team member

– Looking for the hope in a seemingly hopeless situation

– Generating new ideas when it seems like all options have failed

– Leading a team of diverse personalities and viewpoints

– Focusing on achieving a common goal when the odds are against it

– Winning over an unhappy customer

This week marks the anniversary of the death of my best friend of 22 years. He understood better than anyone else I’ve known that sometimes we must reframe our current reality to deal with negativity or uncertainty just like he did.

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