Helping is a two-way street

Everyone struggles with how to help another person in need.  We might know someone in crisis and we want to help but we are afraid to ask questions and we don’t want to be nosey or impose.  We end the conversation with “If there is anything I can do, please let me know.”  The offerer and the offeree end up looking at each other with nothing to say and no help happens.  I have been on both ends of this conversation and am writing now to offer some insights.

In our stroke experience, we had the good fortune of knowing people who offered specific help–I’ll mow your lawn; I’ll clean your house; I will organize meals for you; etc.  People were amazingly generous and helpful and we are so grateful.

The experience highlighted the fact that helping is a two-way street.  People were willing to help us and we were willing to accept help.  By being open and communicating effectively, we were able to receive the help we needed.  Nothing was wasted, every effort was appreciated.  I shudder to think what would have happened if I had rejected offers of help and tried to do everything on my own.

Click here for:

  1. a list of items to have in order BEFORE a crisis happens, and
  2. a practical list of how to be helpful when a crisis occurs.

Jill Viggiano

What more can I learn?

mobile-learning-tech-online-edI was thinking I could learn a few more things to boost me to the next level.  The TRUE answer: I need to learn EVERYTHING!

After accepting the fact, I felt kind of relieved.  I DON’T know everything and nobody expects me to! You don’t know how freeing this was.

I thought :                                                The truth is:
My website was killer                                It needs some work

I thought :                                                The truth is:
My speech was ready                               It needs some work

I thought :                                                The truth is:
My sales process was working                   It needs some work

The GOOD news:  I found my angel…and she agreed to do it… for free!

I met her while she presented at the NSA Convention.  I got her address and I mailed her Jill’s book just to thank her.   She received it, read the book and attempted to email me the next morning.  She was up at 6:00am HER time, which was 4:00am here!  She told me how much she enjoyed the book and how she want to help us.  Do you believe that?

What a gift!


That was Jill.  Truly amazing!  I hate to gush…but I will.  It is Sunday night.  Your probably preparing for your Monday as you read this.

I head this speech a lot…but this time it was different. As she addressed the group, I could “FEEL” each slide.  Does that make sense?  Her presentation was spot on.  Her annunciation….her pauses…. her timing….her jokes….were perfect. I can’t praise Jill enough.

Jill’s presentation is about MY recovery…from HER perspective…not MY perspective.  In her speech, she covers:


  • How bad I really was
  • Risk of raising our 2 children
  • Long, long road of recovery
  • My crazy path of recovery and all the different stages
  • Changes she faced
  • What she learned as a result of the experience
  • How she is different now

Jill completes her talk with:

I am ok with my weakness! I am a better person for it.  I am wiser and more compassionate.  I try to live with gratitude and a cheerful heart.  Reaching this place of peace in my life has been a Painful Blessing, but a blessing all the same.


Are women a bigger risk for stroke?

stroke-preventionThe answer is YES!

I had the privilege of speaking to a group of women last week, only one of whom owned a disability insurance policy.  Why did that one woman own that policy?  Because she had already gone through the devastating experience of not being able to work and losing everything.

If you are reading this blog, please consider what would happen to you and your family if you were unable to work.  What would be the effect?  If we hadn’t owned insurance, I would have had to find a job–fast.  What would have happened to Gordon?  Who would have taken care of him and worked with him on his recovery?  Who would have been there for the kids?  What would have happened to us?

Women are 5 times more likely to have a disability claim than men.  I will say it again.  Women are 5 times more likely to have a disability claim than men. Think about that.  Yeah, we’re smart and beautiful…but we need to also be financially prepared.  Please don’t wait until it is too late.  It just isn’t worth the gamble.

Jill Viggiano

I did it!

I can’t explain it, but I was nervous before the speech I gave last Thursday.  I guess it was because I didn’t deliver THIS speed as many times as I delivered my other speech.  For My Brain Has A Hole In It speech, I delivered it to myself for 8 months BEFORE anyone heard it.  When I started giving it, I would practice on the days I didn’t give my speech.  This means, in 2 years, I gave the speech about 500 times ( and I still have to read it).

For the Putting Failure In Its Place speech, I kind of slacked off…only giving/practicing for less than a year (about 100 times).  No wonder I didn’t feel “prepared”.

But I gave my speech and the audience loved it.  I spoke to my client, and she said she really needed to hear my talk. She said I told them that “it took commitment and follow though every day to make it happen.  If you make this plan, you HAVE to do it.  No exceptions.”  I couldn’t say it better!

They put your book in the gift shop?

IMG_0363Recently, I was walking through the hospital where Gordon spent his first few weeks post-stroke.  As I walked through those familiar halls, I noticed that the hospital’s gift shops offered many books for sale, none of which dealt with recovery, hope, or encouragement.  I was shocked!

Gordon and I immediately decided to pursue getting “Painful Blessing” into a hospital gift shop.  After all, we cannot be the only people who need encouraging words and hope to get through those awful, early days.

As of this week, “Painful Blessing” is available in the gift shop at OHSU!  I pray copies of the book get into the hands of people who need it, whoever they may be.  I pray that they will be encouraged to face their challenges and to hope for the blessings that God has for them.

Jill Viggiano

I am rusty!

I was at the National Speakers Association last week and I have a “to do” list of things I want to better myself.

It has been awhile side I last spoke.  I have been comfortable watching Jill speak, effortlessly.  I realize I will NEVER be as good as Jill, but looking at her is a great motivation for me to aspire. Jill just reads her talk…and each time…it is like the first time she did it.  Does that make sense?  What a joy to watch her!

Anyway, back to me. After the NSA meeting, I decided to form a MasterMind group of just new members.  I found a few people that I liked and asked them if they would be interested in jointing. I will put together the list now, and mail to them tomorrow. I figure we all have something to bring to the party and we all have something to learn.  I am excited.

I also am going to connect with some people that were a huge help to me.  Before I call them, I will do the worksheets they provided so I know what to ask.  What a fantastic meeting!

From this, to this….

nsa         TOperform


I went on my first National Speakers Association meeting, and came back a different person…in more ways then you think!

Let me back up.  I was told that my first meeting would be my most memorable and they were right.  First, they teamed me up with a “buddy” who took me under his wing. We met in the morning and then in the evening every one of the three days.  My first meeting was alright, but I didn’t know what to ask. But then I met him after the session and had a ton of questions.  And guess what?  He answered each one.  Then he told me that ALL members were here to help.  If I had a question, I should just ask.

And I did.  I met with a former NBA player, a former radio announcer, former football player…just to name a few.  And they all gave me answers to my questions.  I don’t know about you, but my experience is that people are guarded at these shows.  But not these people. They were a wonderful group and I proud to be associated with them.

OK, back to the topic. While I went to the meeting as an National Speakers Association member, I came back as a member of PLATFORM.   Inform.   Influence.  Inspire.

At this point, I think it is fine.  People lit-up the NSA (not National Security Administration which was a reason for the change) Facebook site with concerns.  But I won’t let those concerns bother me.  I now have a ton of ideas to work on in building my business.  I figure the other people can worry about the name change.

Good…but different

After giving my speech last week, an audience member thanked me for talking about how “normal life” changes after a dramatic event.  He talked about the realization that “recovery” doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the way things were.

This is an important distinction.  In my speech, I talk about Gordon’s and my decision that life was still going to be good after his stroke, even though it was going to be different.   When our “normal life” was taken away from us, we chose to embrace the different life we were given.

There is still love and happiness to be had in this different life.  Yes, I miss the old life sometimes but I cannot let myself dwell on it.  It is gone.  We have today and it is good–good but different.

Jill Viggiano

Focusing on the Bright Side

After Gordon and I speak to various audiences, I am always struck by the stories told to us privately by a few audience members.  People confide in us with their own difficult journeys, whether it be from illness or injury or whatever might have happened.

With each story, I am reminded to be grateful that Gordon has the opportunity to get better.  Not everyone has that chance.  Some must endure the long, slow decline of affliction, facing each day without the hope of improvement.  These people and the people who love them live with that reality.

Gordon and I have hope for a better tomorrow.  Rather than endure a long, slow decline, we persevere through a long, slow recovery, always optimistic that improvement is around the corner.  We remind each other how far Gordon has come in his recovery and talk about our goals for continued improvement.  We don’t want to squander this chance we have–a chance that many people don’t have.  We will focus on the bright side of our difficult journey.

Jill Viggiano