Hoda Kotb: “You can’t scare me.” (Book Review + More)

Hold on tightly to the things you love and
get rid of the things you don’t.
– Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb, Today Show co-host, Dateline correspondent, and breast cancer survivor, has learned lessons that I think will help those of us who are wearing purple.

It only takes one person to change your life.
– Hoda Kotb

Her memoir, Hoda:  How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee, is a delightful quick read which is loaded with photos.  She was born in Norman, Oklahoma to Egyptian parents.  When the malignant tumors were removed from her breast, she had the full support of her family and colleagues.  She has experienced the joy of being celebrated as a breast cancer survivor.

Hoda’s Pink Ring

I know that I’m in a big club with lots of people.
– Hoda Kotb

“You don’t scare me.”

Ms. Kotb wore a pink ring on her index finger after surviving breast cancer:

 . . .it’s not like I need a physical reminder of my breast cancer. . .I feel safe with it on. . .My take-away. . .was the headline that “You can’t scare me.”. . .It’s such an exciting, liberating headline. . .it also reminds you that your life has limits.  It’s to be valued and not wasted. . .your life gets clearer, and it weeds everything out.

Her breast cancer survival mantra became the mantra for the rest of her life:

 . . .no matter what you overcome, whether it’s breast cancer or the break up of a relationship, when you say those four words, it strangely empowers you.  I think after overcoming breast cancer, you sort of become fearless and somehow going up to your boss to talk about a possible promotion doesn’t seem like such a daunting task anymore.

She weeded out her unfaithful husband and planted seeds that would become the fourth hour of the Today Show.  She wrote her memoir and met a new love while on her book tour.  The storm clouds of the worst year of her life morphed into the silver lining of the best year of her life.

Jay Blumenkopf, Hoda, Kathie Lee Gifford

 Getting sick and divorced was probably the worst chapter of my life.
I never would have imagined that the best chapter was right behind it.
– Hoda Kotb


At a book signing in New York City, attorney Jay Blumenkopf’s daughters presented her with a list of ten reasons she should date their dad:

Life is like that.  One day it’s great, the next it’s terrible, and the day after you’re in love and on top.

Ms. Kotb now lives her life looking forward to the future:

In my life. . .there’s just no telling what’s coming next. . .Would any of us get up in the morning if we knew about some of the shit storms headed our way? . . .I prefer to create mini milestones to skip across uncharted waters. . .

My crystal ball is calibrated for short-term hopes and dreams:  a sunny morning, a beach vacation circled in red on my calendar, the thump-thump of chemistry with a man. . . .

You can’t resolve everything in your life.  Stop with the four-hour phone calls and lunches, burning through hours dissecting a stubborn issue.  I think it’s okay to tuck some things away and live your life.  Stop wishing for a resolution!  Life’s not perfect.  Some loose ends may never get trimmed up and tidied. . .it’s freeing.

Hoda and Jay

My rule now is that if I truly believe in something,
I should go for it with gusto.
I’ve discovered the power of not only positive thinking, but positive doing.
– Hoda Kotb

Hoda’s Life Lessons

I decided to read Ms. Kotb’s memoir after reading these:

  • Surround yourself only with people who fill you up.  Get rid of the toxic ones.
  • Don’t sweat the little stuff ~ 90% of what you worry about won’t happen.
  • If you’re still standing after surviving an illness or death of a loved one or whatever your cross to bear is, you get four words:  You Can’t Scare Me.  Use them.
  • Don’t hog your journey; share it to help others.
  • Allow yourself dark days to stay under the covers watching Law & Order reruns and eating junk food.

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