How to Choose to Smile Through Life’s Biggest Trials

What You Will Learn In This Episode

In this episode, Glenda Standeven shares her incredible journey with losing her leg and half of her hip to cancer. She describes how she not only got through this tremendous challenge but how she triumphed by choosing to smile and inspiring others. Glenda also courageously talks about her husband’s battle with cancer and how they have created a passionate and loving relationship that overcomes any challenge they face (If you have little ears listening to this podcast…we talk about intimacy in detail around the 30-minute mark). Her story is inspiring and will not only help anyone facing a challenge but will encourage you to find joy in the journey.

What I loved About This Interview

I read Glenda’s book “I am Choosing to Smile” before this interview and while I was reading it, I laughed, I cried, I gasped and I cheered. I thought how could talking with Glenda possibly be even better than the stories she told in her incredible book. Well…it was incredible!

Glenda shares her incredible story of losing her leg, hip, and part of her pelvis to cancer. She talks about the intimate details of healing and coming to terms with her changed life. She shares incredible lessons about dealing with loss, healing, finding joy even when going through tremendous trials.

Glenda even shares about her experience with supporting her husband as he battled prostate cancer and how they worked to create a passionate and loving relationship. Glenda courageously talks about how we can protect our loved ones from prostate cancer and the intimate details of how couples can find passion even after surgery.

This interview inspired me to be better in the face of challenges and to seek for putting Glenda’s wisdom to work in my own life. Her story has changed me and I know it will change you.

Who is Glenda?

Glenda Standeven is a humorous inspirational speaker and author of ‘What Men Won’t Talk About and Women Need to Know – A Woman’s Perspective on Prostate Cancer’ as well as the author of ‘I Am Choosing to Smile’ – The Inspirational Life Story of a Bone Cancer Survivor’ which were both released in 2014. She has been recognized locally and internationally for her speaking, writing, and volunteer efforts.

Glenda Standeven is a humorous inspirational speaker and author of ‘What Men Won’t Talk About and Women Need to Know – A Woman’s Perspective on Prostate Cancer’ as well as the author of ‘I Am Choosing to Smile’ – The Inspirational Life Story of a Bone Cancer Survivor’ which were both released in 2014. She has been recognized locally and internationally for her speaking, writing, and volunteer efforts.

After being diagnosed with cancer in 1987, and losing her entire right leg to the disease in 1988, Glenda felt it important to give encouragement and hope to others facing adversity. On her own journey back to wellness Glenda discovered she has a passion for adventure. From zip-lining to para-sailing, snorkeling, or hiking, Glenda’s zest for life is always apparent and her enthusiasm is contagious.

She presents a unique ‘Smoking Awareness Program for Teens’ to middle schools students and is much in demand as an inspirational speaker who promotes the ‘Choosing to Smile’ philosophy wherever she goes. Glenda enjoys sharing her moving and often hilarious life stories with audiences of all ages.
Glenda also presents a one-hour POPP (Power Of Positive People) in the Workplace workshop which focuses on team-building and the importance of maintaining a positive attitude in a work environment.

Her books are available on Kindle and

Glenda was awarded 2 silver medals at the BC Winter Games in disabled skiing Slalom and Giant Slalom, she was presented with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2005, she received The Global Woman of Courage Award in Washington, DC, in 2011, and was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013, which honors significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

The Optimist Creed

Bonus Wisdom

These are questions that I asked Glenda outside our interview. You are going to love her answers!

What is 1 thing you believe every woman entrepreneur should know?

I believe that one thing every woman entrepreneur should know is that she doesn’t have to do it all, or be good at everything! If you need a web designer – HIRE one – if you need an office organizer – HIRE ONE. If you are in a position to trade services do that!

When is a time in your life when you went through a challenge or felt like giving up? How did you overcome this? What did you learn from it?

Well, when I lost my leg, my whole persona was redefined. I was no longer the able-bodied woman I used to be – life slowed down considerably because I just couldn’t keep up lol… so working with my ABILITIES, not focusing on my disability was the key to recovery and moving away from the victim mentality. I learned that we all have skills no matter what our weaknesses are – we need to channel our energies towards our strengths and passion, rather than spend time moaning about the things we ‘can’t’ do…

What is the one area of life or business you are an expert in?

I am by no means an expert in ANYthing – there is always so much to learn about everything in life and in business. If I had to say that there is one thing in particular that I do excel in, I would say that is my ability to think outside the box and to see solutions, where other people might just see problems. When I lost my leg for example – rather than focus on the missing part I looked at all that I had left …I became an author and an inspirational speaker – I lost my leg, but I found my voice – and that was not a bad thing!!

What is one thing you want to share about this that will make all the difference for women?

One thing I would like to share with women about their business and about coping with adversity when it comes along is not to give up on your dreams, but to occasionally reassess them – maybe redefine your goals – it’s okay to shift gears when you’re stalling out! The definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over, and expecting a different outcome – I think too many of us dig ourselves into a rut because we are afraid of ‘failing’ but some of the best lessons we learn are born of failure – celebrate your success by ALL means, but celebrate your failures too. I dated a lot of men in my life before meeting my husband – I could have given up on ever finding a suitable life partner after having far too many failures, but I didn’t let that happen – I learned a valuable lesson from all my relationships. You can learn a lot from watching the people around you – I always say that even if you learn a lesson by someone else’s BAD example, they are still valuable teachers. I thank every single one of my past relationships for the lessons I learned that led me to make better and wiser choices in the future. In business and in life – look at both the people you admire and those that you don’t – DO the things that you admire, and avoid doing the things that don’t lift you up!

Please tell me about your family. What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced with balancing work, family, and taking care of yourself? What did you learn from this challenge? What helps you balance these roles now?

If I had to redo my past when I was working, volunteering, and raising my children, I would definitely have spent LESS time on my business and made more time to spend with them. I had a real wake-up call when I was awarded the woman of the year for our city back in 2003 – my 13-year-old son wrote a ‘wish’ inside my card – he said, “My wish is that my mom didn’t have to work so hard and could take more time off to be with us.” I was so busy doing for ‘others’ that I didn’t realize my own family was missing me! I started to reassess my work and my goals at that time but you never get those early years back – so DO spend quality time with your family at every opportunity. There will always be a time for work but it’s just as important to make time for fun and family. Now that my children are grown I have more time to do the things I love – I write every day for a local magazine; I am a two-time contributing author for Chicken Soup for the Soul books; I speak as a keynote speaker and recently traveled 10 weeks across Canada with my books – something my husband and I had wanted to do for years. Focusing on the things that truly bring me joy, even if they don’t bring me the most money, is key to my happiness – the money is also a happy by-product of doing what I love!

What is one resource that you love (a book, app, service)?

I am the LEAST techie person in the world, but I have to say my favorite resources are the non-profit groups I belong to – The Optimist Club resonates with me because of their creed and the work they do to help children in need. My Rotary Club has amazing service projects that help not just our own community to be better, but the world as a whole. It feels good to GIVE BACK and not just receive. One of my favorite keynotes is about the power of giving, but we CANNOT be gracious givers if someone is not there to be an equally gracious receiver. So what I would like to leave your audience with as their takeaway, is to always remember that now might be their time to GIVE, but there will come a day when they will need to receive; and when that day comes, I want them to remember two very important words said with a sincere heart – “THANK YOU”.

How to Connect with Glenda:




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