Leaders power story by Devon Bandison, MPA, Personal & Business Coach, ILUAIGUB,


When the doctor told me I had cancer I created it as this….

This post is an intimate peek into my world and my life. I wanted to share this with you because the story highlights a few practices that I’ve developed over the years that have helped myself and my clients. My hope is that this story inspires you and possibly someone you know and love.

Inspiration comes from the latin phrase Inspirare which means “To breathe or blow life into.”

Over the years, this has always been something I’ve kept in mind whether as a parent, a coach, speaker, author or just walking into a coffee shop. I pause and ask myself, “Devon, are you breathing life into this situation or sucking life out of it?” Try it out the next time your teenager does something that makes you cringe or when a family member tells you about a difficult health diagnosis. This simple question can shift how you show up in that situation.

Am I breathing life into this situation or sucking the life out.

In early January 2019, my doctor, during a routine exam, randomly saw something that he wanted me to check out. What I initially went to follow up on with the doctor didn’t turn out to be anything. AND they noticed something else that he said needed immediate attention. He recommended the best kidney doctor in New York (and in my opinion, the world).

As I sat in the room waiting for the doctor, I felt relaxed, calm and grateful. Yes, grateful! Grateful that I’d developed certain practices over the years that allowed me to show up ready to breathe life into this room and situation. So the doctor walked in, a nerdy looking guy with a bow tie, who also had that “I know what I’m doing” type swag. I knew right away that this is the guy I wanted if anything needed to be done.

The doctor sat down, legs crossed and asked, “Devon, how can I help you?”

Now, as a coach, people know that I LOVE GREAT QUESTIONS.

My response? “Doc, that is a GREAT question. Wow! Well I figure there are two ways that you can help me. The first way is that you tell me nothing’s wrong with my kidney. I’ll go on my way, you’ll never see me again AND I’ll mail you a signed copy of my book.”

I continued, “the second way you can help is that you tell me everything is not OK and you’re going to show me how it will be OK. In that case,  I’ll bring you a signed copy of my book.”

The doctor laughed and said, “well, it will be the second thing. You have a cancerous tumor in your kidney and we have to get it out as soon as possible.”

At that moment I was expecting panic or a sunken feeling. Yet, nothing. What I felt was an uninterrupted presence and peace. Because of me staying present in who I was BEing, the DOing came next. “Doc, so what do we need to DO?” We booked surgery to have it removed.

Now I must admit, there were times before the surgery that some fear and anxiety set in. Those things set in only when I left the present moment and went into some future that hadn’t occurred yet. If I wanted a recipe for real fear and anxiety, then I would imagine a future (what happens if I die?) and attach my children (will they be ok?). The funny thing is that I could count those moments on one hand.

The real practice of staying present, positive and understanding that our words create our world started long before this diagnosis. It’s been a daily practice of mine for years.

While this was going on, I was in a conversation with a colleague who in her speaking mentioned two random words “something nothing.” 

I LOVED how those words sounded together and adopted it as my new “diagnosis.” I knew that I had the power to give this thing any word I wanted so while the doctor called it one thing (cancer), I now called it a something nothing.

I called the doctor, who had called it cancer and I said, “Doc, let your team know that from here on in this thing is called a SOMETHING NOTHING.” 

Confused, the doctor asked me to repeat myself. I repeated my request- “I’d like you to gather my medical team and let them know that in my case, this will now be called a something nothing. Can you do that Doc?”

He was enrolled, agreed and even sounded excited to share with the medical team this new creation. He said “You got it, I’m In”

And so it was. A CREATION, brought to existence from my word!

I enrolled family and friends in the new diagnosis called something nothing. This simple shift impacted how people in my life related to it. There were no long faces or doom in gloom, just hope and possibility. Everyone, especially my children, helped breathe life into the situation.

The reason why I knew this was important is that we can either be Creators or Reactors in our life. I often use the sports terms Game Changer or Spectator. 

Players have different conversations than spectators. Spectators are reactors, sitting in the stands judging what the people on the court are doing. Game Changers affect the game by what they say and what they do.

I knew that changing the language and calling it a “something nothing” would shift the entire relationship to it. AND IT DID.

The surgery was a success. Mentally and spiritually I felt great both before and after, but physically, this thing kicked my butt! So I listened to the doctors and took my time (5 weeks) before getting back into the world. The experience was truly a gift and I’m grateful for all that it afforded me.

A month later I can report that one of the doctors called and told me that the something nothing was removed and there were no signs of it returning.

But before the Doctor hung up, she said something very interesting:

“Devon, the doctors and I have been talking about you and we knew you’d be OK.”

I asked, “How did you know that?

Her response – “because of your spirit.” I laughed and responded, “Don’t look now Doc but you (Western Medicine Doctors) are now coming to the other side (spiritual).” We both laughed. She continued “the moment that you called and recreated this as a something nothing, something shifted in me and my team. We had done hundreds of these surgeries but your words put a different focus on it. This one seemed different”

This is a perfect example of OUR WORDS CREATING OUR WORLD.

The world that the doctors knew and operated from (pun intended) shifted because of my words.

It was a new world- a new diagnosis- a new outlook.

I showed up healthy and something nothing free even before the surgery.

And that is the opportunity we all have- in our lives, in our businesses, and in our relationships.

We have the amazing opportunity to create life instead of being a victim to it.

We have the opportunity to realize that a situation may not change. But we can change our relationship to the situation.

We have the opportunity to be POWERFUL and FREE at any moment, no matter what.

That is our CHOICE.

This is true power and absolute freedom.

And it is all created by our word.

Before I sign off, I want to leave you with some practical lessons that this amazing opportunity afforded me.

My hope is that this story and these insights shifts something inside of you and breathes life into any situation in front of you right now.

  1. Language is powerful – your word creates your world
  2. Your daily practice (journaling, gratitude, meditation, exercise, reading etc.) prepares you for when situations occur in life
  3. Who you BE comes before what you need to DO in order to HAVE what you want (BE. DO. HAVE.)
  4. Breathe life into every room you enter
  5. Be kind to people, no matter what you’re going through – everyone’s going through something
  6. Don’t sweat the small stuff AND it’s ALL small stuff
  7. Surround yourself with LOVE. If you give love, you get love (special shout out to my children, mom, family and friends).

As you go on with your day, remember that your WORD creates your world!


Always ask yourself “How can I breathe life into this situation?”

Thank you for your attention and my hope is that this story INSPIRES you so you can inspire others!

Serve First,
Love Always



Connect with Devon:

Devon Bandison, MPA
Personal & Business Coach