Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

How Cancer Changed My Blog

Posted By Guest Blogger 16th of January 2011 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This post is by Karl Staib of Work Happy Now.

I was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. Yes, the dreaded c word. It’s probably not what you are thinking. I don’t look at this health issue as an anchor. I look at this as an opportunity for growth.

I’ve been blogging for over three years. Each year I’ve gone through unique pains.

The pain of no one reading my blog eventually transformed to Forbes.com contacting me and naming my blog one of the top 100 blogs for women. It’s been an amazing blogging journey.

I want to share how a major illness has shifted and improved my blog. It has been a journey that has bruised my ego, but it has also lifted me to new heights.

Blogging is not easy, every blogger will tell you that, especially when also dealing with personal issues. There are so many factors that can derail your progress if you don’t stay focused.

Put the important stuff first

You know that you need to put the important stuff first, but how do you figure out what’s important and what’s not?

You have to see where your present wins are coming from and figure out how to expand on them. I teach people to leverage their superpowers and bloggers are no different. You have your strengths, passions, and the work that puts you in the zone. All of these actions need to be pushed to the front.

Too many people say to focus on your strengths and you’ll be successful. That’s not true. You may be a great writer, but if you write about the wrong subject you are never going to thrive. You must take a holistic approach to your work. If you are crazy about music, but can’t seem to string your notes together then you won’t thrive either. It’s all about creating synergy between your passions, strengths, and focus. All three must be present for your action to be a superpower.

When you do work that gets you excited every day, it’s easier to keep your energy level high and stay productive. You have to have a system. Everybody’s system is different. Leo loves to write in the morning. Darren loves to do work in batches. The most important thing is that they put their passions at the top of the list and so should you.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Blogs are dependent upon people not just following your posts, but also sharing your blog with others. That means you have to find the people who are willing to share your stuff with their friends. This is hard and I struggled with this concept in the first couple of years.

Since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve been more willing to put myself out there to be found by someone like you. I don’t care if I get rejected. The fear is just a little less intense.

Because the fear is less intense, I’m more willing to market my coaching or my brand.

You have to realize that you only have a finite number of days on this earth. If you want your blog to get to the next level you have to find people who will tell their friends about it. You have to connect with people in your niche and find a way to encourage other people’s audience to visit your blog on a regular basis. I know you know this, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. You have to test out a lot of different blogs until you find one that connects with your style.

Stop letting your frustration dictate your choices

I could have given up on my blog a long time ago. I have a full-time job, a wife, a kid, and not much time. My cancer would have been a perfect excuse to give up. Believe me, there have been times when I really wanted to do just that.

I didn’t give up because I know that I’m on a mission to help people leverage their superpowers. I want to help people change the world. It’s why I love working with bloggers. They are the type of people that are creative and passionate. They aren’t always sure how to get to point b, but they really do want to get there.

Your frustrations can take over if you let them, and they’ll wreck your happiness and relationships. You constantly have to be working with your emotions and using them to fuel your actions. Don’t not let them hold you back.

You can deal with your frustrations by taking time to process your emotions. I like to do a ten-minute meditation every morning and every night. It helps me set up my day and process my feelings each night. This mental exfoliating process is what keeps me balanced.

You may not like meditation, but you need to take time to process your emotions every single day. When you create this habit, you’ll improve your productivity and creativity. I promise.

Use a day each week to rest

As a blogger you have access to your work wherever you go. You can write a blog in any country, check your Facebook and Twitter account in any coffee shop, and build more connections at every comment on your friends’ blogs.

I’ve seen too many bloggers burn out because they go non-stop for too long and don’t enjoy the process. Blogging is a skill that takes time to develop, especially in this overcrowded age.

You have to take time to relax.

After discovering I had cancer and having it removed, I took a short time off from blogging. After a few days I quickly got back to it, but realized that I can’t go seven days a week any longer. I should never have been going seven days a week. I needed more time to relax and enjoy my family and life.

I’ve been blogging, networking and planning six days a week and I feel so much better. Sundays are no longer for blogging; whatever I don’t get done Monday through Saturday can wait until the following Monday. The best part about this new routine is that I get just as much done. I’m a little more focused, and I make sure that I get everything done by Saturday night.

You have to find time to relax that brain of yours. There is nothing wrong with posting seven times a week, but if you are constantly checking your stats, email, and whatever else you do all the time then you are missing out on life. You have to be willing to relax and let your mind recharge.

No pity

I’m not writing this post to gain your pity. I’m here to tell you that we have a short amount of time on this earth no matter how you look at it.

Bloggers are one of the luckiest groups of people on the internet. They have the superpower of communication. You can write, podcast, or video cast coherently. That’s a beautiful talent that you must optimize. You are changing people’s lives for the better. It’s up to you to find a way to take your setbacks and make you smarter, stronger and more widely read.

Have you ever been sick or had a family member become sick and had to adjust your blogging work load? What did you do and how did it change your blog?

Karl Staib is a career coach who helps people leverage their superpowers! If you enjoyed this article, you may want to check him out on or join his free 10 Part eCourse to a Happier and More Successful You.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Hi Karl,

    We’ve contacted quite a bit over the years, so it really shocked and saddened me to read the title and intro to this post. I’m really sorry about what you’re going through.

    That being said, I’m very confident you’ll get over this hurdle fighting, and it’s great to see you’ve managed to gain some insights from your experience.

    Best of luck with your ordeal.

    – Glen

    • Thanks Glen. My online support network has been awesome. I truly do feel blessed to be in the position that I’m in. I caught it early and gained a ton of self-knowledge that I’ll be able to share with others for a long time.

  2. Wow, that is powerful, thanks for sharing

  3. Thanks Karl for sharing yourself. It is true what you say we only have a certain time on earth and no-one knows how long we have or when it will end. By taking time for ourselves and our family we are giving them a gift that can never be taken away.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience and resulting insights – I look forward to checking out your eCourse =)

  5. A very powerful post Karl. Thanks for sharing this with us. Good luck in the days that lie ahead.

  6. Karl, I was diagnosed as a diabetic last March. I could have given up, but it actually transformed my blog, family, and life. I shifted the focus if my blog from random ramblings of a chef, to sharing my journey of discovery of FLOURISHING with diabetes. I discovered a whole community out there, and a whole new way of life.
    My motto is “REAL food for your LIFE”, and that is what I am about. I don’t like to look at the negatives of diabetes, but rather what I can do to make my situation better.

  7. Alison Moore Smith says: 01/16/2011 at 4:15 am

    Karl, thank you for sharing your story and your amazing attitude. Best to you!

  8. Karl,

    Welcome to being a cancer survivor! I was diagnosed with metastisized endometrial cancer 13 years ago. It definitely can change one’s priorities and perspectives on what really matters. Be well.


  9. Your message is a strong and poignant one.
    I’m new to blogging, but have already experienced the all-encompassing powers it can wield, so I now post Monday to Friday, and leave weekends for my family.
    I’ve also experienced the self doubts and frustration you mention, and it never grows old reading of other, more successful bloggers, who have encountered these moments. Inspired by your words and commitment, I will keep plugging along in my anonymous glory.

  10. your story make me more active
    thanks for the sharing

  11. Very good article and story. Thanks for sharing Karl.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story, Karl! I have all the faith in the world that you’ll make it through this, stronger than ever.

    Several of these tips are awesome ones – meditation is one of my top tips, too. I actually do 20 minutes in the morning, but maybe I should do some at night as well. And every once in a while (usually once a week or once every two weeks) I skip my morning meditation. Sounds bizarre, but it reminds me how much better my work/days are *with* it, and it makes me extra sure to do it the next morning.

    Having a day totally off each week is a necessity as well, especially if you’re prone to burn out.

    Great post!

    • Meditation helps me keep everything into perspective. I know that I won’t live forever, so I may as well be as present as I can, enjoying every interaction I have with my friends, family and soon to be friends. It’s all about practicing how I want my life to be. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in others.”

  13. Extremely powerful, and lessons for us all to learn from in this article. Its great article for a reality check

  14. Karl,

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is very powerful and it is encouraging to see that you are able to get some positives out a negative. that is wonderful optimism and I applaud you sir! I really wish you the best of luck and success

    Best of Wishes,


  15. This is a great piece! thank you.. I discovered already I cannot blog every day but anyway got a lovely fanbase now after three years. It is intensive and I love it .. I also enjoy the weeks I am on hollidays and do not have any access to the internet ;)

    Just like you I have been sick for some time and was at home for a year to recover.. I remember writing that post that I had to take care after myself .. before going in the hospital… I did felt I had to explain a bit what happened.to my readers afterward.. and the amount of love I got from fellow bloggers You are right we are lucky people. Stay well !

  16. Wow, what a fantastic post – open, transparent and raw. Thanks for opening up your heart and sharing your personal journey with us and how you have linked it back to blogging better. I have RT’ed this now.

  17. Wow, what a slap on the wrist that was for me–in a good way. I am a Christian, and I believe the 4th commandment which says we should rest one day a week. But I had just started a new blog and couldn’t resist checking stats and all that. Then I read this.

    Thank you for reminding me about what is important in life!

  18. Thanks for sharing your story with us Karl. I wanted to add one thing that I find very useful.

    Knowing your strengths is just part of the game. You really need to reflect on your weaknesses as much as on your strengths. Think about it, they always come in pairs. Knowing your weaknesses will help you leverage your strengths to their fullest potential.

    If you try to use the right tool for the job, why not make sure it has no cracks or defects? Trying to use a broken tool might result in more damage. Check your strengths, check your weaknesses, and make sure your weaknesses do not hinder your strengths.

    Last thought I think about all the time, especially while I’m currently working on stories about personal struggle of people with addictions and homelessness. Sometimes you need to hit the bottom to know which way is up.

    Hmm this inspires me to write :) off I go now.

  19. Hi Karl. Sorry for your ordeal, the story pretty sad. Do not know how you still have the power to continue blogging. usually in these situation people feel like…resigning themselves. huh. anyway, all the best.

  20. You are very helpful Karl. I know that many people are and will be inspired by this entry.

    We shall all die. Some of us will be ahead, and others will stay a little longer. But we do not know who will be gone tomorrow.

    Therefore, we must do the best that we can today. And that includes blogging.

    Thank you for your inspirational and educative article.

    Jef Menguin

    • Hi Jef, Thank you. You are exactly right. We have to dig deep and allow our superpowers to change the world. Darren is doing just that by helping us take our blogs to a new level. Just think of all the bloggers he has inspired to improve and make an even bigger impact in people’s lives all around this earth.

  21. Hi Karl,

    It is so fantastic to see you here, sharing your valuable knowledge and experience.

    I love all that you shared here. I most resonated with taking a holistic approach to blogging. I take this approach in all other parts of my life, so it makes perfect sense to hear you say that it should be used in blogging too.

    I agree so much. Burnout is so easy in blogging and we need to have our priorities strongly in place. So many of us so often want to help others out there, but we can’t help others, while hurting ourselves.

    Thank you again Karl for this, it is a refreshing and most valuable message!

  22. Hi Karl,
    My husband also had testicular cancer 3 years ago and then our daughter was diagnosed with ALL Leukaemia. I started blogging just after my daughter’s diagnosis. It started just as a way of connecting with family during the intense ordeal but it took on a life of it’s own and has become like therapy for me. Both my husband and daughter are doing well. I have returned to full-time work, I have two other kids as well but I write every morning and then over the weekend I pull the pieces together into a once a week post.

    I did a short course with Problogger online in December and subscribe to daily email updates. I am loving learning about this wonderful community of people who all have inspirational stories to share.Thankyou for sharing your story here, I think we really need each others stories. I wish you all the best with your recovery. Clare

  23. I can really relate to this post. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with an incurable disease that attacks my hip bones and so now my hips are slowly dying and I haven’t even reached 30 yet! I don’t say this for pity either but to say I could not word better than you how this has affected my blogging. I wanted to allow my friends in blogland to see my journey and I hope in some small way it helps someone else. Thanks for posting this I pray you will fully recover from this cancer!

  24. Best wishes Karl, it sounds like you have a great attitude.

    It is so hard to know how personal to get on your blog. I’ve been sharing my experiences with my son with autism and I often wonder if I’m getting too specific. It is a hard balancing act, especially when things aren’t going well. How can you transform your experiences into teachable moments, moments for change.

    The expert bloggers tell you to find your passion, your niche, and yet… it is difficult to lay your life open for strangers. I think you are right that you have to “Put the important stuff first.” but it makes me feel so vulnerable. Wondering how you reconcile the pros and cons?

    • Hi Mary, I try not to think of it as a balancing act. I try to make decisions from my heart. I want to help people in any way that I can. They deserve to be empowered and loved. If I can be the trigger that helps them reach people they didn’t think was possible that is all that matters.

  25. Your writing voice is really great. I agree with your concept about one day rest in every week.

  26. Thanks for sharing your personal story, Karl. I pray that you stay cancer free and thrive moving forward. You struck a chord with the “rest your brain” suggestion. I worked all day yesterday, and I’m back at it on this Sunday morning. Sometimes our passion can overwhelm us … I often get my best ideas as soon as I shut the computer down. I definitely need to schedule down time – I believe you when you say that it will help me enjoy my life more. Thank you!


  27. There have been awesome strides in treating cancer over the last few years. My son was diagnosed with NonHodgkins Lymphoma over ten years ago and has remained stable from new methods of delivering chemotherapy. During that time he launched a new and now successful career. My niece had a double mastectomy seven years ago to remove the cancer in her breast and shows no sign of that it has reoccurred.

    I will keep you in my prayers that the miracle of modern cancer treatment will work for you.

  28. Wow Karl, this is an incredible post and one that really hits home for me on so many levels. I especially appreciate your thoughts on burn out and the importance of at least one “no blogging” day a week. As someone who has burned out and abandoned blogs before, I know it well. I’m so glad I found this post on the day of launching my blog — this advice is now bookmarked for future reading!

  29. Sounds like you have learned the most important thing… love for family and oneself. Stay balanced and true to the course. I think we’re all living on borrowed time but for sure, your “golden nugget” of wisdom echoes loudly to us all. Indeed, I will take time to smell the roses. Thanks for sharing an inspiring post.

    Best wishes Karl. Sending up prayers,
    — LadyD

  30. Karl, After many many days, I felt as if somebody is talking to me, while I was reading your article.
    Cheers! & regards

  31. Karl,
    Your post is quite timely. I have early stage prostate cancer and am based in the US, Am in Cancun this weekend having HIFU treatment. I had it yesterday and am walking on the beach today.

    I wish you well and will sign up to follow you.

    Glenn Seymour
    Raleigh NC.

  32. Great post. My husband was diagnosed at age 36 and he has done so well. Now at 63 he is still cancer free. Blessings to you through your recovery. My blog at heartfelt is for parents and children dealing with You can never take your health for granted, nor can you let it dictate what purpose you have in life. Your post will be an inspiration to many. God Bless you.

  33. Yes, Karl, I can relate to the positive effects of the cancer thing too. I found that my diagnosis showed me that if could face my worst fear, and I did, what else was there left to fear!

    I also came to understand that we only ever have ‘today’ so we might as well live each day! I know people say this but untill something huge happens we don’t ever actually do it…

    I’m fine now and loving my writing but I never forget…

  34. I absolutely positively felt the energy, inspiration and encouragement from your post. You hit home for me in several ways…at the top are meditation and taking time off. I recently starting meditating in the morning and it has helped. I will add an evening meditation now. I am a full time virtual assistant, and there are times I work seven days a week and honestly sometimes because I haven’t managed my time correctly during the week. I use to take one day off and it did feel better…so I will definitely start that up again. You also touched me in the area of making each day count. I lost my sister a few years ago to suicide that still resonates with me and I needed to be reminded of that pain and lost to jumpstart me back into being more proactive and truly making each day count for something. Thank you for the encouragement.

  35. Thanks Karl,really enjoyed the read and hearing your self-evaluation of your situation.Also sounds like your getting into mindfulness training to enjoy the moment of life your in and not live in future shock. Keep it up and the good writing.

  36. Karl, It is good to see that you have used the cancer to find focus and passion in your life and in your blog. It is also good that you have seen what is more important in your life, what gives it more value. Some people are so busy running from their pain that they miss out on living life to its fullest. Thanks for sharing your struggles and your courage and enthusiasm for life.

  37. Very powerful. Thanks for sharing this Karl. I know there are many times where I take my opportunities for granted. You have definitely opened my eyes.

  38. Jim Beasley says: 01/17/2011 at 5:20 am

    One of the BEST posts (ever) I can recall. Thanks for sharing, and having the capacity to do so.

  39. Karl, I can tell you that cancer, or any type of life threatening disease, can alter not just the life of the person directly but their family as well. My husband will be the first to tell you that he is grateful he had cancer. It changed not just his life but our life together. I kept a journal while he was in the hospital and I’ve turned it into a free ebook, While You Were Sleeping, on my blog. It’s been 10 years since we went through our life altering experience, but the book has helped many others since then.

    Sometimes God needs a 2×4 to get our attention.

    All the best to you and your family!

  40. “Dying is easy, living takes true courage.” – Kenshin Himura

    Even if no one can control how they die, they certainly can control how they live.

    Great post, very inspirational. Do not ever give up on yourself, EVER.

    Life is balance in itself. Work HARD, play HARD. Life without fun is drab and you’ll only burn yourself out.

  41. Karl, thank you for being real and sharing from your heart. The “c” word has been all too real for my family recently and isn’t fun. My prayers are with you and keep up the wonderful work!

  42. Karl, your inner power shines through this post and so does your wisdom. Your point about not letting frustration dictate your choices is SO important. Any decision made from a place of “twisted energy” generally takes you in directions you don’t want to go. And a day of rest? Oh yes–I do what author, Brenda Ueland, calls “moodling.” Just do-nothing time. It’s so important.

    I had so many life things jump up and bite me last year, that in September, I started a new blog called Up From Splat, which is all about finding the up side of things like major illness and other life “splats.” I agree with you that there is a gift in every experience like this.

    I send you positive energy for a wondrous healing journey!

  43. A coach who specializes in helping people under treatment for cancer and cancer survivors says, “Don’t waste your cancer.” You know exactly what she means, don’t you, Karl? You’re already well on the way to not wasting yours just with this one blog post.

    A year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer has a way of stripping away all the crap that doesn’t matter, and that’s got to be one of the biggest gifts a person could get. Once you’ve stared “the Big C” in the face, you get a new pair of eyes that sees in a very different way. It’s like that old saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. . . . . . It’s all small stuff.” Ain’t that the truth!

    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, Karl. Keep on keeping on. You’ve got lots more messages to share with the world. Thanks for sharing this one.

  44. Thank you for your post today, so full of heart! I love the “mental exfoliating” exercise as well as the advice to take some time to rest. I’m looking forward to your next post and wish you all the best in your journey.

  45. Very powerful post!

  46. I start blogging on 2008 and till now I enjoy it. Many experiences and many knowledges thai I’ve got from blogging activities beside get money…Thank’s for nice suggestions – I think you right about rest – and I need take a rest on monday

  47. Karl, I wish you the very best over the next few months. This will be something that is a true test of character, but after reading this post, I’m confident you can do whatever it takes to get through this.

    The fact that you’re still willing to help others shows that you are a true hero, and for that I salute you *SALUTE* :-)

  48. Hey Karl, you know what’s also amazing? That having a blog and sharing your story with people will create a community that supports you, cheers you on, and can take care of you. You’re awesome at making the most of life and I really respect and admire you for that.

    Lots of love & support always,

  49. If this post doesn’t inspire you, nothing will… Cheers to your journey – and thanks for sharing Karl!

  50. Hi Karl
    I can relate to what your are saying about making sure that you leave enough time for relaxation. Almost 2 years ago I had a Gran Mal Seizure. When I was checked out nothing could be pinpointed to why I had a seizure. Anyway to make a long story short I am now working fewer hours have less stress and enjoying life more. You are doing a fantastic job motivating and encouraging us to be better bloggers and better communicators.
    Thank you for your efforts!

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…