How Life Can Throw You Off Track

How Life Can Throw You Off Track

We live in a fast paced, hectic world. We’re always connected, multi-tasking and somewhat present in our life – constantly trying to find that “work-life balance” – whatever that means. And then you get stopped in your tracks by a personal challenge. Something that may be life changing – and not in a good way. It freezes you and makes you take a long hard look at what is really important.

Here’s my story

At the end of last year, my husband and I traveled to Barcelona Spain where he was going to have ADR – artificial disc replacement surgery. Sounds like a crazy thing to do (and I too thought it was at the beginning) until we did extensive research and found the surgeon to be one of the best in the world. This type of surgery has been performed on tens of thousands of people and has been proven to be highly successful with few – if any – complications. However, the wonderful insurance companies in the US who run our health care decisions have deemed it to be “experimental” and not covered. So, if we were going to pay out of pocket, why not go for the best. The surgery was successful, the care was amazing and the recovery process was to walk around the beautiful city of Barcelona. Not a bad thing!

It was a few months later that life took a major turn for the worst.

With his back recovering very well, my husband felt ready for new professional challenges. He quickly found an exciting opportunity and left his job. He wanted to take some time to relax and recharge his energy before starting his new gig. He suddenly began to have trouble walking. We went to an orthopedic doctor who recommended certain treatments. The pain got worse and worse because he was misdiagnosed. All of a sudden, he was bedridden and unable to walk. It was the start of the perfect storm:

  • No healthcare coverage (did you know that your ex-employer doesn’t have to send severance information for Cobra coverage until 30 days AFTER you leave and then it takes a month for it to kick in. If you incur any medical costs during that time they are out of pocket and then you file a claim to get the money back. BTW – Medical costs are really, really expensive in this country!)
  • No primary care physician. His previous physician decided to change his practice to a concierge service charging $6,000 per year. We were starting from scratch to find someone.
  • A new employer who was excited to have him start working at a job that consists of 3 – 4 weeks of travel a month and the fear that the opportunity might not wait for him to get better. The last thing you want to tell a new employer before you start working is that you’re dealing with medical issues.


Being Called Forth as a Leader

For those of you who have dealt with the illness of a loved one, you know how quickly your priorities change and how important it is to step in as a strong leader and advocate for them. That became my sole calling for a few months. This experience made me step back and look at what leadership really means. Here are some lessons I took away about great leaders:

Passion can move mountains. When you really believe in something, there is no stopping you.

  1. Emotions need to be controlled at times, so level headed thinking can happen. It’s great to advocate fiercely about something, but it’s also important to think clearly about the best way to be heard.
  2. Persistence is your friend. Very little happen quickly, so you have to keep at it until you get what you want and need.
  3. “No” does not mean “no”. There are always options. Great leaders are creating in finding new options of getting things done.
  4. Self-awareness is vital. Leaders need to be authentic to be great. The path becomes very bumpy when you are not behaving in a way that is genuine. People pick up on it and don’t want to deal with you.
  5. People love to help, so never hesitate to ask.


The good news is my husband is doing much better and is enjoying being part of his new team. I’ve taken some personal time over the summer to re-energize and recover from the situation. On reflecting back over the events, I feel compelled to take a stronger stance within my business around leadership – specifically around how we:

  • Lead others
  • Lead our business
  • Lead our self


We always have to look for the silver lining when faced with challenges. This is mine – using my business to support the leadership growth of others – including myself. Leadership brings greatness to organizations and the world. One thing that all great leaders have in common is that they are always looking for ways to grow. I hope you will join me in the continuous journey of leadership growth.

What is a quality you feel a great leader should possess?

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