How being a good leader in business can translate to being a good partner in marriage.

I made a note a while back, maybe even a year ago, in the hodgepodge of notebooks I keep for the next story I’m working on. Each of us privately tending to our own decay. Our bodies, even in marriage, are such a private affair.

I have bad eyes. Genetic. So many surgeries. I also have an outrageously high, statistically significant risk of getting breast cancer. Recently, I looked into the abyss of genetic testing for the cancer bit. I decided not to. My decision came after much conferring with experts, my husband Hal being one of them. He is an expert on me.

And more recently I had another scare with my eyes. I won’t go into the boring details, but there were scary tests and talk of tumors and vascular anomalies inside my head. All is good. But that’s not the point. The point of this story is that I engaged with the personal of this really scary moment the way I would engage with a business hurdle, and it gave me tremendous perspective.

I decided not to just think good thoughts and trust that everything would be ok. I also made a pact with myself not to just worry about the worst case scenarios and hyperventilate.

I looked forward to a bad outcome and put together a team that I would literally trust with my life, knowing they would help get Hal and I through it. I spoke to everyone before there was a problem, and mapped out what could happen and how it would go down if there was a problem. Just like I would on a project.

On projects I know that teams like to have “if, then” scenarios planned out. If this happens, then we do that. If that happens… etc. It means that people, including myself, know what to do when the shit hits the fan.

I did this planning for myself, and for my husband. He would be overwhelmed taking care of me and our business. It was simple really: Look forward, put together the team that would be needed to support us. But there’s something funny that happens to us when it’s our own health. There’s an implied weakness to being sick, there’s shame, and hiding. All of this happens when there’s a problem in business, too. But people are trained to be rational, to mitigate, to succession plan.

I’m thrilled there was no shit, and no whirling fan. I’m also thrilled that I’ve learned that there are rational business practices that I’m deeply familiar with that can serve me, my friends and family, and my marriage, in case of emergency.

Originally published at