PR 103 | Self Advocates


It feels easier to fall apart when we are diagnosed with a medical condition. Knowing full well the struggles of those who have been in that position is Sharon Sayler, bestselling author, internationally known speaker, executive consultant and founder of Competitive Edge Communications. Diagnosed with a rare medical condition herself, Sharon channeled her frustrations to educating herself about her disease. This ultimately transformed into her mission – that of helping others to become resilient and courageous self-advocates in their own lives. Sharon shares her journey, including learning about the importance of language and labeling to healing and caring in the field. Through comforting advice, Sharon discusses the typical experience of seeing a doctor and learning what it means to be seen whole.
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Becoming Resilient And Courageous Self-Advocates with Sharon Sayler

I feel very energized. I got a good night’s sleep. I had a great massage actually. We’ve got this incredible massage therapist that comes to our house. He is incredibly gifted. He has a way of tracking down where if I’ve got a stiff neck, a sore back or some other thing that’s going on, he never goes to that spot. He always starts in some other seemingly random place, some bizarre other spot like under my armpits or my little toe or something. He’s a miracle worker, a great guy. I’ve got a great night’s sleep. I have more energy than I know what to do with. When you have so much energy, I don’t know what to do with it. A podcast is the answer. I don’t know what all of you are up to, but I hope it’s something that you’re enthusiastic about. I hope it’s something that you can muster up some energy for and maybe you’re in that trough between the waves and you don’t feel a great deal of energy in the moment. This is the opportunity for you to get re-energized and we all need that. I needed all the time and I think we all do.

When we think somehow that we’re supposed to be stronger than that or have endurance than that, we’re making an assumption that’s erroneous or back to my law school and lawyer days, it’s an erroneous premise. We all get tired. The idea that somehow we’re supposed to be able to endure and muscle through it is an unrealistic expectation of ourselves. It’s an unrealistic expectation that we place. I put on a lot of other people. Mostly it’s in the context of work of either our business, entrepreneurial pursuits, as employees or as the managers of people in a company. Exhaustion is not the road to resilience. Endurance is not the only factor in what creates resilience for us. Not just the science that I’ve researched but in my own personal experiences and the people that we’ve worked with, it’s our ability to recover that creates our opportunity for greater resilience and for greater growth. It’s like going to the gym.

We can’t go to the gym once every blue moon and expect that we’re going to have the body or feel as fit as we want to feel. In the same vein, we can’t go to the gym every single day and work the same body parts, do the same exercises again and again and not end up resilient as a result of it. What ends up happening is we become exhausted. We become worn out, we become burned out, our muscles become burned out. That is not how they actually grow and get larger, get firmer or whatever it is. It’s this wonderful harmony between the stress, the work and the recovery that creates resilience. That’s more and more what I’ve come to understand and have this blessing to share with other people. We have the perfect guest to be diving into some of that. Realize that it’s not stress that kills us. There’s a lot out there that says stress is an enemy. I don’t believe stress is the enemy. It’s our belief that stress is the enemy that makes stress the enemy on some level.

On another level, it’s stress without the counterpart to stress, which is recovery, self-care that makes stress a dangerous thing. When we get resistance and stress combined with the commensurate amount of recovery and self-care, then that’s a wicked combination for growth. That’s important, resilience and that growth. I’ve got this amazing woman on the show. Her name is Sharon Sayler and I actually got to be on her show, which was a blessing. We definitely wanted to have her on and have her share her wisdom with our community. Sharon Sayler is the Founder of Competitive Edge Communications. She is a bestselling author, internationally known speaker and executive consultant who teaches professionals how to create their own competitive edge using verbal and nonverbal communication skills. She is in the top twenty in the world for body language skills according to Sharon’s life and work took an unexpected turn to become what friends call an irrational passion.

She takes her communications training and combines it with her own experience dealing with a rare medical condition to teach others to become courageous self-advocates as they work to turn life transitions into transformations, pivots in other words. Along with speaking group and personal coaching, she is the host of the popular podcast called The Autoimmune Hour where she inspires hope and shares experts to help those with autoimmune conditions. Welcome to the show. Thank you for being with us.

Thank you, Adam. It’s always a pleasure to see and chat with you. I always have so much fun.

I want to go back to that last line in your bio which says, “She inspires hope and shares experts to help those with autoimmune conditions.” I had this desire to know exactly what do you help people with those conditions do? Is there a way to formulate that to a word or a sentence?

To me, it’s a pivot. You talk about a pivot in business but as you and I’ve chatted before, we pivot in all areas of our life. Once you get a diagnosis that it’s not, “Take two aspirin and you’ll be fine in the morning,” it takes a lot of courage and resilience to go. Sometimes buck the medical system and say, “Nope, I’ve got to pivot here.”

You’ve done a lot of amazing things and the introduction is always a great way to help people to know that somebody who they’re about to listen to has the expertise has earned the right to be sharing information. What’s not written in this bio that you would love for people to know about you?

I’m not always as courageous as I appear. Sometimes I have to fake being courageous to get to the other side.

We’re not always as courageous as we look to be.

PR 103 | Self Advocates

Self Advocates: We can have cockroaches in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we own them or want them.


I have so many people on the show comment, “Sharon, you’re so courageous. You move through the autoimmune condition to that point of thriving regardless of the diagnosis.” Sometimes it looks simpler on the outside than it is when you’re moving through it.

What were some of the more profound challenges that looking at outside in didn’t reveal how much you were impacted?

I refused to accept ownership of the diagnosis. A lot of the medical community thought I wasn’t being realistic. As you and I have chatted before, words mean things and if someone says you have X and it’s a critical diagnosis, the last thing you want to do is have ownership of that word. I tried to explain to them, “I can have cockroaches but that doesn’t mean I own them nor do I want them. You telling me, giving me a great big label, almost printing it on my forehead in red letters, ‘You have a very profound chronic medical condition,’ I don’t want my unconscious brain to believe that.” I want my unconscious brain to believe, “I have cockroaches. What do I do?”

Language is so important and even the way we label certain things is important. There’re a lot of reasons for labels and yet at the same time labels can have the impact of defining people in so many ways. Ownership becomes one of those cases of, “My something, my rheumatoid arthritis, my fibromyalgia, my whatever.” People start to take that on as a part of their identity even. That can be a dangerous thing. Is that accurate, do you think?

It can be a dangerous thing but we can say, “My divorce, my bad child, my failure, my firing from that business,” it could be any number of things where we take these labels on that keep us stuck. I’m always on the lookout for if I am playing professional victim at any time, am I getting a secondary gain out of what I’m doing? It’s a question I like to ask myself because I always want to be in forward momentum. When we start looking for the secondary gain and I am at this moment being a professional victim, I keep myself stuck. I can actually even start to move backwards. Especially in health, when it’s our own health, it becomes pretty profound because with longer condition instead of ten days you’ll be fine. Not only do you have to be mindful but you have to be very clear with your friends, family, coworkers that this is not going to limit me. It may be you have some adjustments to make but in my mind, I’m going to keep moving forward.

I’m going to keep seeing myself as thriving because what we think also does affect how our body reacts. If we see ourselves, maybe not right in this moment but we are able to project into the future that we’re back at optimal health. It’s motivating to keep you moving forward but if you believe when the medical community says, “You have this diagnosis. These are the terrible things that are going to happen to you and I’m sorry.” Their body language blew me away. Before they gave me the diagnosis, from their body language I knew it wasn’t good, which creates fear. When you see someone else doing body language, wringing their hands, maybe hemming and hawing, looking down and not making eye contact with you, you go into fear. You’re like, “This isn’t good.” You have to be able to move forward and move past that and go, “I’ve got to keep looking forward.” If I accept what they say, I’m going to be stuck at this place where I don’t want to be.

Exhaustion is not the road to resilience. Click To Tweet

Where chronic actually becomes something chronic. Secondary gain, would you say more about that? How would you define secondary gain?

Secondary gain is interesting to me. We all do it. Maybe we don’t want to do something, all of a sudden that day we wake up feeling a little not so good. We can get out of going to something that we didn’t want to go to. A secondary gain can be on the positive. If we do X for that person, maybe they’ll reciprocate and do Y for us. It’s usually not our very first thought. I have to be honest, we all have these little tiny twins on our shoulders that are whispering, “Maybe you could do this and you’ll get that or if you do that, you’ll get this.” A lot of times I was talking on the show to Dr. Naeem, a cardiac pulmonologist and a surgeon and this was a shocking statistic. He said to me that 80% of his patients do not have the intention of getting well. That was absolutely shocking to me because that means only 20% of his patients have the intention of getting well. He says, “I can repair whatever’s wrong but it’s the mental mindset. Do you have the intention of getting well?” He found a lot of his patients are like, “If I’m not well, then I don’t have to do X, Y or Z.”

The secondary gain in that context would be that there’s some payoff for people to be unwell.

It’s a hard question to ask yourself. You have to be very self-aware and honest with yourself because at all levels we always have some secondary gain going on. When it’s around a chronic health condition, “Am I getting some emotional payoff by not being well?”

That could be so many things which we don’t have to dive too deeply but it can even be, “Who is it that I’m punishing by being unwell? Who am I making right by being the way I am? Who do I get to prove wrong in some ways by being stuck or becoming my identity?” It’s interesting because the words themselves can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and the question is, “What do I get out of that?” Which is not an easy question to answer and sometimes it’s quite difficult to ask it as well because who wants to believe? I’m sitting listening to this or I’m watching us, “Are they saying that because my body is in a state of disease maybe, that there’s something that’s not right that I’ve created that or worse than creating it that I actually want to keep it?” This is something I’m making a story for it becoming a part of me on, for some long time or maybe permanently. That’s a tough proposition.

PR 103 | Self Advocates

Self Advocates: Words themselves can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


It is a tough proposition and it may or may not be true for you but to explore it, I’m asking play with the notion. I’m not saying you caused it or whatever. We all get different medical conditions for different reasons. We’re exposed to a virus, we’re exposed to a bacteria, genetics. There are tons of reasons why our body goes into the disease. However, once you’re there, is there something in mentally, emotionally besides the physical that’s keeping you in a place that maybe it’s more comfortable than going over there are or going past that? Maybe it’s more comfortable here than going over there. I’m not saying that’s a hard fact for everyone for sure but play with it because it’s an interesting aspect of healing. Anything that we do, not just our health that we play with these notions that might be uncomfortable and ask the question. Sit quiet, breathe, meditate, spend some time and let the question resonate. You may or may not have an answer pop up right away. Answers appear in the strangest places.

We can’t figure something out and then all of a sudden, you’re in the shower and the solution shows over. The name of the person you couldn’t think of happens. That’s a fairly common experience and it’s interesting too about questions. This is a personal belief more than anything else, I suppose. I feel like questions and the answers, they’re very much cause and effect related. In my belief system, you can’t ask a question where you don’t receive an answer, you will always get an answer. I never know what the timing of the answer is. It could require a great deal of patience. Maybe you ask, what’s the nature of life? What’s my purpose and having been born and all that kind of thing? You may not get an answer immediately. You might get something and drops in pretty quickly if you set the intention to want to have an answer, which presupposes why you’ve asked the question. You want the answer. You give yourself some space to sit still and allow for the answer to present. It could be that it’s six years that question triggered a lot of other things. It became a quest but ultimately you get an answer. That’s one of the wonderful things we can count on.

I also believe that a lot of people are hesitant to ask those questions. In many ways the answers might change things, the answer might be, “Am I willing?” When I was pivoting myself in the occupational space, I was saying, “Am I willing to trade the next 30 years of my life for a lot of money?” I was earning a lot of money as an attorney, certainly doing well financially but I was miserable. I wasn’t fulfilled. I didn’t feel like a success. I actually felt like a failure even though everybody would have said, “It’s totally got it going on,” plenty of all that. To ask that question meant that if I was genuinely wanting an answer, the answer might not be something that would make me comfortable. Maybe you asked that question, the universe might deliver you the answer, “30 years from now, you’re going to be 30 times more miserable than you are. Take a look around you and see all the guys and colleagues that you have who are 30 years your senior and he and she are miserable. They’re unhappy. That’s your future.” What do you do with that? You ask that question. You get this answer and it puts you in a state even on some level more uncertainty because the answer says a change is required. A pivot is necessary.

It may not be the answer you want.

It could be, “The answer relative to my body is that I can’t continue to live where I live. I can’t do the work I’m doing. It’s not a good idea for me to do that. I have to stop drinking what I love to drink. I have to stop eating this thing that I love to eat but only causes inflammation.” The answer itself can bring about a lot of change and a lot of uncertainties that brings up fear.

It takes courage to muscle through it too. You started the talk about force, resilience, courage and muscling through. Sometimes it takes a certain amount of force to take that first step. After that, I found that it becomes self-perpetuating and become self-motivating that when you know you’re on the right step, when you’re on the right path. The problem is that I knew something was wrong before the diagnosis. However, I kept living the old life, forcing myself through, muscling myself through, forcing myself to get up and give that speech. Then the problem happened. The body broke down. That was the continuation of the force. Sometimes it does take a little bit of extra willpower to, “I’m going to leap. I’m not sure that there’s a net but I’m going to leap.” It’s a continuation of the force where you have to stop and ask yourself, “Am I on the right path?”

It's this wonderful harmony between the stress, the work, and the recovery that creates resilience. Click To Tweet

It’s what people sometimes called balance but harmony is the word. It’s more that Yin and Yang, male and female or this idea that there’s a place where things coexist harmoniously. There’s a coexistence of everything that’s possible. I haven’t read the Tao Te Ching in full. I’ve read pieces and parts of it. What I understand of it is that idea of how do we find the center. We’re at the center and balance or the mid-point exist in everything. Continued force only will lead to this imbalance, if you will but force oscillating with acceptance or force oscillating with relaxation or with surrender, there’s a counterpart to all the force. Sometimes to get something started, it requires a certain amount of force. That force doesn’t mean to be a big deal itself. It can be the tiniest of dominoes that starts this domino effect that creates this momentum. To tip the first domino requires some effort. Sometimes that effort in regard to health and wellness, what would you say is the is the tiniest domino that would also symbolically represent the force that’s required to change something important in your in your health life?

On setting the intention that this isn’t going to define who you are, that you are more than this, that you are bigger than this, it may change the way you live in certain ways but it doesn’t define who you are. It’s taking that next step to find the why. I know this is going to sound a little bit nuts but the reason I started The Autoimmune Hour is I was so frustrated. I have a background in communications. I teach people how to get out and be public speakers. However, I was so frustrated with getting the medical community to listen to me. They would listen to one little minute and then all of a sudden try to fix that little thing and I’m like “Wait, no. See me as a whole.” That’s what I love about functional medicine. That the medical community is shifting to seeing you as a whole. However, it does take us as the person who’s in the healing process on this healing journey, “Why did this happen?” I can’t tell you why the autoimmune condition happened to me. I definitely wouldn’t have started The Autoimmune Hour without it and part of that was from my frustration.

If I am frustrated talking to doctors, what is the person without the level of training I have going through? What could they be going through? I started offering The Autoimmune Hour partly of my own therapy because I enjoyed learning but also as a way of sharing. You don’t have to accept. I used to hear, “Sharon, get real. You’re not listening to your diagnosis.” I’m like, “I hear you. I don’t accept it.” They would hear me, “Get real.” That can be very defeating. On The Autoimmune Hour, I started to help people know that you’re not defined by your diagnosis. That took force to do, it took courage to do. It took a lot of things to line up but we’re in almost 200 episodes into our fourth year. It exploded so then all of a sudden, you may not know the answer right away but here we are four years down the road. I’m like, “I’m not sure I needed this diagnosis but I know the why.” That’s critically important.

What you described is what that momentum looks like, that one thing tipping into the next and the next. It’s a cool example to see this visually. Newton’s Law of Physics is, “Body at rest tends to stay at rest and body in motion can stay in motion.” That’s the classic explanation of momentum. What’s cool is that a body in motion can impact another body. With dominoes for example, a little domino or any size domino can knock over another domino that’s bigger than itself, usually one and a half times depending on the weight of it but one and a half times its size, its capacity. You start out with a domino that’s three-eighths of an inch tall, by the 29th domino that process of knocking over another domino that’s one and a half times its size, it’s a compounding effect.

You get to 29th domino, it’s the size of the Empire State building, which is pretty remarkable. It also explains on some level you start out before you know it, you’ve tipped over a domino and four years later you’ve got 200 episodes and the thing is exploding. You understand the why behind your diagnosis originally, which must have caught you off guard like it catches a lot of us off guard when we hear something like that. I would love to know you said, “See me whole.” I’d love to understand a little bit more when people go to the doctor, what is their typical experience and what does it mean to be seen whole?

In the medical community, it means a lot of things to be in the wider consciousness of my mind. However, in the medical part of it, my frustration was they would see perhaps my diagnosis contains a skin condition as well as muscle weakness. The problem with the medical community is you go and you’ll see a rheumatologist and endocrinologist, a gastroenterologist and so let’s take gastroenterology. They see you as the digestive track. That’s it. They don’t look at, “What if I change in my digestive track, will strengthen my muscles or help me with the skin condition?” In the medical community, it’s important for us to be an integrated patient. We see ourselves as whole. I’m not coming to you for the stomach or the rheumatology, endocrinology, whatever it is. This called body has to heal as a whole. We can’t tweak on the outsides, on the different parts and hope to have it fixed. It works like an engine. It has to all function in a healthy way. It’s incumbent upon me as the patient to make sure that the doctor understands we’re not here to fix, “A digestive issue.” I need you to see me as this is the whole patient, how do we optimize the whole unit not tweak a part of it.

PR 103 | Self Advocates

Self Advocates: A body in motion can impact another body.


It’s a holistic approach. If you tweak or change or toy with one piece of the system, it impacts other areas of the system.

A frustration of mine was when you take an autoimmune medication, they’re typically pretty significant medications that have a lot of side effects. Some things that happened to me that I started calling symptoms, I had a period where I had short-term memory loss. I’m saying to the doctor, “You’re saying it cured my skin condition but it caused short-term memory loss. Let me choose, do I want skin condition or do I want a memory loss?” The doctor is arguing with me like, “No but we fixed it.” Yes, but the other part of the system is out of balance and that’s where I think it’s incumbent on the patient to keep good journals of what their conditions are, their experience, the journey that they’re on. Keep good notes and that way you know that when this is tweaked, that may or may not happen over on this side. As we know from physics, you push one place something else gives.

I’m trying to remember from the last talk we had. Were you diagnosed with dermatomyositis? Is that what they said it was?

Great memory, dermatomyositis.

I remember it because I had a family that has also had that diagnosis as well. It’s an interesting thing what you’re saying about the side effects. I don’t watch very much TV but if you’re ever on regular TV with commercials, not watching Netflix or something else, which is much better in my opinion, occasionally what I see are these pharmaceutical ads. There’s more pharmaceutical advertising in marketing than has ever been before. More than half of the ad is talking to the side effects of the drug that’s supposed to help one thing but it’s potentially creating every other thing you can imagine. Many things you can imagine including death. How does anybody make heads or tails of this stuff? Clearly, they’re advertising because it’s working. There’s no question that the pharmaceutical companies are very astute business people. They wouldn’t be spending the millions and potentially hundreds of millions in advertising if people were not actually taking those drugs as a result of that market.

I want to make it clear that I’m not anti-drug. Those drugs saved my life because when you’re at the heights of certain medical conditions, thank goodness there are antibiotics in the world. Thank goodness there’re all sorts of things in the world. They saved my life. At another point, you get to that place where some of these side effects, “Is it worth the price?” You can’t answer that as a group. It’s not a collective decision. That particular part has to be a very personal decision and spending time with yourself, knowing your intent, knowing your why and understanding the cost is the decision that only you can make. I have friends that have gone through all sorts of chronic medical conditions and sometimes the doctors disagree. I have a friend quit cancer therapy. They’re older and they said, “This is not the quality of life I want. I’d rather have a shorter life and the quality I want then extending my life.” As much as I am worried and don’t want the prognosis because I know we’ll lose him sooner, I have to honor that his choice.

Answers to our questions tend to appear in the strangest places. Click To Tweet

There are no easy answers to this.

We have to make choices. We all played our own way. That’s my big thing.

We want easy answers and that’s not necessarily setting ourselves up for success for sure. In this arena, you have to take responsibility for being educated yourself. Having a certain amount of advocacy in your corner. I don’t want to speak ill of any profession. If you have a cause to be in the hospital, you need advocates and you need to have people around you when you’re not at your best. When you’re not going to be able to think objectively about what’s best long-term for you, to have other people around to bounce at a minimum, to bounce things off and get their hopefully independent viewpoint. Is there more that you advocate for people to do when they’ve been given that scary diagnosis or they don’t know what to do next?

Educate yourself but I always say, be wary of Dr. Google because you can freak yourself out on Dr. Google. Educate yourself, find researchers, it’s okay to ask people if you had this, who would you go to? Ask your primary care physician, who’s the best person in this community? It’s okay to do that stuff. Sometimes people say, “I’m going to go where I’m told to go.” I have gone through so many doctors and I have found a quality team that gets me and that’s the important thing. You got to find a team. It’s rarely one doctor because nobody can know it all and nobody knows you like you. They can’t look at you and say, “Maybe her toes hurting today.” They don’t know that. Find a team that gets you, that listened to you and that you know have your back in the medical profession as well as your friends. I have this theory about friends and I had two set types of friends and I love them both.

You opened and close the loop there, but I want people to hear what you said again, which is that part of what’s vital is that you’re working with a team. It means like having a team for anything, a team for your marketing, a team for your sales. When we need a medical team for whatever purpose in our lives, you want a team that gets you. Having run companies and running a company, you have to work with a team that gets you out. I certainly know what it’s like to work with a team that doesn’t get you. It’s a frustrating experience and it’s not setting anybody up for success. Not them, not you, you’ve got to have a team that gets you and part of that is that they’re listening to you. That’s what I heard you say. They’re listening to you. They get you, they understand you. Anything else in that equation of what it means to get you because that’s fundamentally important?

PR 103 | Self Advocates

Self Advocates: Not one medical professional is going to be the absolute answer.


It’s fundamentally important that not only do they get you, but you get them. You see their place on the team. A little bit ago, I was railing about how we specialize. You’ve got these different specialties. You also have to realize not one medical professional is going to be the absolute answer. Even though I had the label dermatomyositis, my dermatomyositis doesn’t look like the next person’s dermatomyositis. It’s completely different. Even if you find a dermatomyositis expert, you have to understand that they’re doing the best they can, like you’re doing the best you can. Having that grace of relationship, where you’re open to sharing ideas, you’re not discounting, you’re not over exaggerating. It’s this wonderful grace between people.

That’s a beautiful way to put that. Part of the grace between people is how we communicate. If the communication between you and your doctor isn’t great or the team that you have doesn’t feel right to you, that’s a pretty good sign that maybe there’s some reexamination there that’s required. I switched doctors and part of why I switched doctors was I never felt connected to this particular GP that I had. It was my feeling was it’s good enough, it’s a hassle to find somebody new. They take my insurance and some of the other rationalizations. When a bigger medical organization purchased that other practice and I became a part of this big organization, I couldn’t even get my doctor on the phone. Had a lot of other things that were impeding what I would expect in any relationship. I didn’t feel any grace in that communication and that relationship. I said, “I’m going to make a change and did.” I went out and found a medical doctor who also is a homeopathic practitioner as well. He got a common combination of both traditional medicine and homeopathy.

That’s the thing about medical professionals though is you’ll find the one that fits you. Maybe not everybody’s into homeopathy and that’s okay. Maybe you like traditional Western medicine, that’s fine. Maybe you want to find someone who is traditionally Western medicine trained but is open to understanding the idea of simple things. I had a doctor, one of the best rheumatologists in the West Coast. That was my first rheumatologist that we decided to part ways because he kept telling me, being careful and drinking filtered water or eating organic food were not going to help me. That was so against migraine is because it’s not going to hurt.

You can’t make an argument for whole foods. You can’t make an argument for certain things.

I needed someone a little more open-minded than eating more organic fruits, veggies and drinking pure water were going to be helpful to my health. That’s why we agreed to part ways. We didn’t see medicine the same way.

I’m so glad that we landed on the spot in our conversation. People who are relying on any other professional in life have to be empowered and it. It usually isn’t the case. It’s usually the case that, somebody is an expert, you’re not an expert. There isn’t a balance or a harmony in that relationship. One is very much more empowered than the other and so whether it’s your mechanic who tells you there’s a problem with your car and you don’t know any better, they say, “It’s going to cost $1,000 and this is what has to be done.” It’s like, “Hold on a second, hold on. I want to understand exactly what it is and I want to know what other options I’ve got.” If the conversation goes like, “I’m the person who knows, you don’t know. You’re going to need to trust me here. This is what I’m going to do for you.” It’s like, “Maybe I need to see somebody else. Maybe I need to get a second opinion or third opinion, whatever it is.” Feel at least that there is a conversation that’s a two-way conversation between people. I wanted a doctor that was actually looking at me the whole of me.

It takes courage to muscle through a difficult situation in life. Click To Tweet

It’s interesting what you said about 80% of people do not intend to get better. That percentage about a doctor had relayed that eight in ten people he was seeing do not have an intention for getting better. It’s a very interesting thing when you try to reconcile that statistic with this other conversation around how it is that we are more empowered. Part of us being more empowered is we decide we want to be more empowered or ask the question. I want to go back to that loop earlier where what’s the purpose of questions and how is a question potentially that smallest of dominoes. You started a show and years later it’s 200 episodes and the thing is it’s going gangbusters. It probably started with you asking a question, “Could I do something to make a difference? Could I do something to share my experience and what I went through that might actually help other people?” Was it something like that for you, Sharon?     

It was a little question that grew out of my frustration. With all your years of training and all the beautiful mentors you’ve had in your life have brought you to this moment, to realize even with all your training, you’re having a difficulty being heard. With a person who hasn’t had the blessing of my trainings and all the gifts I’ve been given, what are they going through in trying to be healed, trying to have a better experience in the healing journey? I decided to start sharing that way and then I thought, “I want to find this expert in nutrition because I haven’t found any experts in nutrition. What can I learn that way?” It was part selfish in a way because I wanted to know more about nutrition, sleep, stress management, meditation. The other part was, “Come on this healing journey with me. Come with me.” It’s wasn’t that easy for me to find. Here it is, I find it here because that grew out of frustration.

We started our conversation talking about resilience. I’d love to move toward by asking you about your rituals. I believe in the power of rituals and these rituals can be very impactful as to resilience. You’ve been a resilient person. Do you have rituals that have helped you to create resilience?

Many on the physical level the ones that I’ve learned, especially since diagnosis is honoring myself and it’s not selfish to put yourself first. Give yourself moments where you can find peace and away from stress. It’s good sleep hygiene as they call it. Honoring what your body needs as far as nutrition. Those physical types of rituals are critically important. The other one that I want to share, the ritual that I always ask myself whenever is to know the value of no. Oftentimes that’s the one little ritual that I use when someone asks me to do something. You’re always being asked regardless of where you are, either a public figure, private figure, you’re always being asked to do things. If you haven’t figured out the value of no, then you’re giving up something else. You’re giving up a valuable yes if you say yes to something that’s not valuable to you.

I always have this little ritual that when someone asks me something, I know it sounds weird little ritual but what am I giving up to say yes? Oftentimes that makes saying no easier and when you say no, it’s a true no that like, this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing, that’s where true healing comes in. It’s better for the other person too because like as we talked, coming around into a loop of frustration. If you said yes and you meant no, you’re not doing them a service either because you’re not there 100%. It wasn’t your intention. Ask yourself the question, that’s one of my rituals is I always stop, take a couple of nice deep breaths. Nobody says you have to answer the question right away. Ask myself, what am I giving up to say yes to this?

PR 103 | Self Advocates

Self Advocates: If you haven’t figured out the value of no, then you’re giving up something else.


I love that, Sharon. I myself will start to ask that question. That’s a great question and since I’m fascinated with things that create resilience that to me feels so right. Saying no to things that don’t feel good would lead us into more exhaustion, burnout or any of those things. Saying no is an antidote to being worn out. It produces a resilience of itself. Sharon, thank you for adding that.

Thank you. There are polite ways to say no. People are always like, “I hate saying no.”

What you said earlier about creating grace in a relationship, if that’s your focus, if that’s what your intention is, there’s grace in a relationship regardless of whether we say yes to this deal or we say no to this deal, I don’t think you could do it unkindly in that context.

It’s all about intention.

Thank you so much for being on the show, what a pleasure.

Thank you, Adam. It’s always a pleasure to see and chat with you. You did such an awesome job and I love your book, Pivot. It’s a life-changing book. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I will shout out to everybody if you’ve loved this episode, I cannot imagine that you wouldn’t love conversation, but you have a right to your opinion. Either way, we want to know what that is and you leave a comment or you can go on iTunes and leave a review. All of it is so welcome and we respond and it’s helpful to us. Taking those two or three minutes as though you were doing a Yelp review or something else. We respect the time it takes to do it and we appreciate it. Thank you so much for your willingness. Our Facebook community is a way for us to give back. Start My PIVOT community on Facebook. You can get there either by going to Start My PIVOT community on Facebook directly or you can go to, which takes you right to the front door. We also have six powerful questions that will help you to determine where you are potentially in your pivot process.

Are you designing a pivot? Is a pivot there in the mist and you could sense it but you can’t see it? Change is ever present and it was so perfect that we had a conversation about the power of questions. These are six questions that will help you to get greater clarity and you can get that as a gift. It’s no strings attached. If you go to, you can get those six questions and join our community there as well. It’s been a blessing. A real pleasure, Sharon. Thank you so much for being on the show. I never think things are ending. It’s always an ongoing beginning. I want to remind everybody how blessed we all were to wake up, that was not a guarantee. It is my intention that we all wake up and I hope that you will join me in that intention that you wake. You wake up with the understanding hopefully right out of the gate, that there’s something special about that.

It’s not guaranteed. As you are taking your first conscious breath of the day, there will be people taking their last breath in that same moment. It’s very sacred. It’s very special and it deserves to be acknowledged. The word for acknowledgment in that context is gratitude. Hopefully, you’re brought into and intent to wake up to be grateful in that moment for whatever it is that you are called to be grateful for. If you’re so inclined to say something out loud, to declare out loud some very powerful words about how you feel about yourself. I’ve got the words written on my shirts, I’m going to say them out loud, “I love my life, I love my life, I love my life.” Wake up, feel grateful and declare if you’re willing out loud that you love your life. What a blessing. Sharon, thanks so much for being on the show.

Thank you.

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About Sharon Sayler

PR 103 | Self Advocates

Sharon Sayler founder of Competitive Edge Communications is a bestselling author, internationally known speaker and executive consultant who teaches professionals how to create their own competitive edge using verbal and nonverbal communication skills. She is in the top twenty in the world for body language skills according to Four years ago, Sharon’s life and work took an unexpected turn to become what friends call an “irrational-passion.”

She now takes her communications training and combines it with her own experience dealing with a rare medical condition to teach others to become courageous self-advocates as they work to turn life transitions into transformations. Along with speaking, group and personal coaching, she is the host of the popular podcast called The Autoimmune Hour where she inspires hope and share experts to help for those with autoimmune conditions.