In this episode:
Abandoned at birth in a parking lot in Seoul, South Korea, Shari’s life had a traumatic beginning. Shari’s American family didn’t hide her adoption, yet it wasn’t something that was discussed. It wasn’t until later in her life that Shari would begin processing her adoption and the impact that it had on her life. After Shari and her husband adopted their daughter from China, Shari began to process her own adoption. Shari realized how similar her journey was to her daughter’s, particularly struggling with identity issues, having to justify belonging in their family.
One thing that has been glossed over is the loss that the adoptee has; the loss of the birth family, birth country, that entire identity
A lover of checklists, Shari marched through her life achieving one goal after another. Checking off her accomplishments and milestones: graduate, lawyer, wife, mother. Her checklist now is filled with what Shari wants to do not what society expects.
In 2017 Shari was diagnosed with breast cancer requiring a double mastectomy. Upon hearing her diagnosis, Shari fell to her knees, paralyzed.
The fear of course is death, dying
Shari’s biggest fear was leaving her children. If Shari could go back in time, she would talk more openly with her children about her diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
Shari’s cancer journey was marked by loneliness. Shari began journaling to help manage her loneliness and her journey. Part of her journaling practice now entails looking back at previous journals to see her growth and progress. Journaling helped her maintain focus and discover meaning in the struggle.
Shari began listening to inspiring podcasts, hearing stories of people who had struggled. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations is one of Shari’s favorites. Shari also began reading, actively seeking out sources of positivity.
If today was the last day of your life would you be doing what you are doing now?
This quote is one of Shari’s guiding principles. She knows life can change quickly and wants to ensure that what she does each day is what she truly desires. Answering this question is particularly helpful on difficult days and helps her to discover a renewed sense of optimism.
A few years ago, Shari attended a memorial service and listened to the beautiful sentiments shared by friends and family. People told stories of how this woman impacted their lives. Stories this woman never heard. Shari vowed she would not let another year pass without sharing what her friends mean to her. She met with 50 woman over the course of a year for intimate, meaningful conversations.
Everyone we meet is both our teacher and our student
After each conversation, Shari captured the essence of their conversation on Facebook. While writing the synopsis of each conversation, Shari reflected and was filled with gratitude for all of the amazing women in her life. Every woman will remember that meeting with Shari; it was a moment that someone heard how much they mattered and the difference they made in the world. These conversations became Shari’s debut novel, The 50/50 Friendship Flow, a perfect book for every woman and her friends.
Shari’s current initiative is meeting with 52 women asking them “What is the mess that became your message?” Hearing these insights gained along these journeys has been therapeutic for Shari. Her hope for these conversations is that we learn from one another.
Revealing her story has felt vulnerable. Once behind her, Shari didn’t openly talk about her adoption and breast cancer journey. During her book launch interviews, these life experiences resurfaced. Speaking freely, reflecting, and recognizing the power of her stories has been a powerful process for Shari.
Every struggle and challenge she’s faced has developed Shari’s strength. Shari draws strength from writing, reflecting, and journaling.
Shari recognizes that her struggles have led to meaningful gifts. Appreciating the gift of each day, knowing where to spend her time and energy keep Shari focused on the beauty that surrounds her. Shari is able to relate to more people and to connect with them on a deeper level. Focusing on our similarities brings us together.
We all have a common story, something that connects us
An Imperfectly Perfect Life, Shari’s life coaching site
Thank you for listening!
May our stories help forge your path forward. I hope you’ll stay tuned for our next episode and in the meantime, learn more about my story on my blog.