“That’s terrible,” Nancy said.
“I guess I’m just looking for you to confirm that I have to cancel my trip,” I confessed.
“You ABSOLUTELY have to cancel it,” she said, without a second’s hesitation. “Like you said, Kate will be there, so we’re covered.” That was Sunday.
Rewind to Friday afternoon when I got a text from my wife that she was heading to the ER. She’d started up with a case of the flu and now her temp had hit the scary zone.
“Come to the hospital,” she wrote.
If not panic mode, I certainly went into “intense ponder mode with that faraway look” as I watched our two boys tear up the house as usual. My sister, her kids and my Dad were on their way over for our usual Friday afternoon visit. I knew I could hit the road once I’d briefed them.
“Hey Lisa,” I said, as she got out of her car. “I’m leaving.”
Like most ER visits, I’d assumed/hoped this one was going to be long and boring, but when I say long I mean 8-10 hours long, not inpatient days upon days long.
But there we were on Sunday and it was becoming apparent — no matter how hard I’d hoped it wouldn’t — that going on my trip to the CHIME Fall Forum in Phoenix the next day was not going to happen. I had pondered going as planned, going later in the week or, of course, not going at all. But I could see that even continued discussion of the issue with my wife was upsetting to her. I had to make a decision to cancel and make that issue go away. We had plenty of others to deal with.
So I texted Nancy and asked her to call me. I needed to talk it out. I find that I like to do this with both Nancy and Kate when I’m making a difficult decision, or even when I need an endorsement to help me do what I know I need to do.
“Here is how I see the issue,” I essentially say. “Am I missing something? Please tell me if I am.”
Because they are great, both their responses focused on me, not them, not even on the business. You read Nancy’s comments above, and Kate essentially said the same thing.
“God, I hope Marie gets better soon. I’ll take care of things in Phoenix. I’ll go into your calendar and pick up any meetings I see. Don’t worry about it,” she said.
“Well, thank you. If I can do anything to help you get the newsletter out this week, just let me know,” I said. Thinking back on the conversation, I actually made this offer twice, and she never took me up on it. Kate would rather handle the load while at the show than ask me to pick up the slack from the hospital. Amazing.
I thought back to a story Kate told me about one of her old bosses.
“When I told him I had to take care of a family medical emergency, he just started talking about all the work he was being stuck with. I was stunned.”
So once again, I’m thankful I’ve been given the chance to work with these two, who are stepping up so I can step out. It’s a wonderful thing when you can learn leadership from those you are supposed to be leading. I’m sure there are some folks under you who are shining examples of how you should behave. Appreciate them, notice them, so that when it’s your turn to offer support, you can mimic them.