As I’ve shared in previous posts, for better or for worse, each year helps teach us something about ourselves and the world around us – whether it’s a memory that we’ll look back on fondly, or an experience or decision we’ll gladly leave behind for good. I think many of us will look back on 2017 with mixed feelings. But as I’ve learned from many of the people I’ve highlighted in this post and in my own experience, in circumstances that could make for some low moments, people are embracing them, defying them, and in some cases, choosing to dance instead.

I also want to note that there are many, many other people I’ve met who have touched me in a very deep and profound way. It was impossible to include them all, but my life is better for having met them.


1. There are many different Wonder Women out there, and all of us are making it happen. I met this wonder lady at the Disability Pride Parade in NYC while marching with Independence Care System.


2. Baldness is beauty. I never was brave enough to show my bald head while I was going through cancer before, but many – like my courageous sister-in-law Jen, who survived breast cancer  – inspired me to “own it.”


3. If you ever get asked to officiate a friend or family member’s wedding, do it. Marrying Jen and my brother Matt was an experience that will always stay with me.


4. Biotech, pharma, and medtech are acknowledging that what’s been missing is the patient voice. I give a lot of credit to DPharm and the Conference Forum helping to lead this new direction in the industry and inviting me to share my thoughts about service and patient engagement.


5. Buenos Aires has the best street art I’ve seen. It emerged as one of the first signs of democracy, and it’s captivating.


6. Celebrate vulnerability. When I spoke at Stanford Medicine X this year, I heard Anthony Carbajal share this powerful message. He’s a street photographer battling ALS and found that his wheelchair helped break barriers and got people to open up. His photos show the importance of celebrating life’s fleeting moments, mirroring his own reality as his disease progresses. “I live in the moment,” he said. “Every single moment.” Watch his presentation here.


7. No one bats an eye if you show up in Times Square sporting a mustache and angel wings for a music video.


8. We are all connected, in ways we may not always know. I learned this again when I gave a speech at Kate Spade headquarters and met Michelle Feo, an employee whose mother Maria was one of the nurses who took care of me the night of my heart attack!


9. No matter what happens in life, Never. Stop. Dancing. I learned this important lesson from Chase Merriweather, who break-danced his way into all of our hearts at the Challenged Athletes Foundation gala. Despite missing his arms and legs, he also plays on a softball team and beats his brothers at video games. And he might be the happiest kid I’ve met.


10. Even when you and the world feels like it’s getting rained on (literally or figuratively), there is, and always will be, moments of beauty waiting for you.