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When Hoda Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, her newfound outlook on life impacted her career in an unexpected way.
On Nov. 2, the Today co-host used a The Wall Street Journal interview—during which Julia Louis Dreyfus said she is "living more mindfully" after her cancer journey—as a jumping-off point to discuss her own experience.
“I feel like anyone who’s ever gone through that cancer trip or journey, I feel like your life does snap into focus," Kotb said on the show. "It’s sort of like, ‘Boom!’ And you’re like, ‘Ok, what am I doing right now?’”
Kotb, 59, who previously shared she thought it was "the end" upon learning she had breast cancer, explained how the diagnosis put things into perspective.
“Think about if someone told you today that your life has margins. You know where it started and now you know where it could possibly end,” she explained. “I thought this when I had breast cancer years ago. I remember thinking, ‘There’s a beginning and an end.’ And I hadn’t thought of that.”
It was at this time that Kotb started implementing changes in her life, including "offload[ing] the things that aren’t good for me, serving me, working for me."
The result was pretty amazing. And it positively affected her career.
"I became fearless, like wildly fearless," Kotb said. "I was always concerned, I was a pleaser. Suddenly, I was like, 'It could be over.'"
Kotb recalled approaching Today's "head honcho" to put herself in the running for co-host of the show's fourth hour—which is how she landed the role she's still in now.
"I thought, 'Oh my God, if I hadn't gotten sick, I wouldn't have been brave and if I wasn't gonna be brave, I wouldn't be there and I wouldn't be here,'" Kotb reflected. "Sometimes it’s like the scariest thing in the world becomes the thing that makes you fearless."