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Are there any downsides to not getting cancer?

You read that correctly.

Downsides – this may sound like a preposterous question.

I recently felt a lump in my breast. My doctor examined me. She was wearing a mask and was stony-faced. So I couldn’t discern if her parting words, “it may be benign, but it’s better to check” was hollow pep talk. She organised urgent scans at the oncology department of a local hospital.

In the two-week period where I waited for the scans I would occasionally feel a chill run down my spine as I contemplated the possibility of chemo, radio, mastectomy, pain….

The most important thing was that my priorities changed. This shock made me reflect deeply on what I cared about and what legacy I wanted to leave. I also wanted to ensure that my partner would be financially secure, that my will and power of attorney were in order. That my clients wouldn’t be left in limbo, that broken relationships were repaired or, at the very least, that I made attempts to reconcile with difficult family members or friends.

I sought counsel from a friend who had survived breast cancer.  She put everything aside to accompany me to the hospital. She advised me not to immerse myself in exploring the internet as I waited for the news. To take one step at a time and not to catastrophise.

Shortly after the scans showed that I was fine and I celebrated the good news, life went pretty much back to ‘normal’. I no longer had the urgency to make those changes that had roared up to the top of my to-do list. That was the downside.

What does my experience have to do with business and the workplace?

Whilst I wouldn’t recommend living life on tenterhooks, I would recommend periodically reviewing your business priorities, relationships and employee engagement. Don’t wait for a crisis or leave it to your colleagues who design your company’s Disaster Recovery plans.

What do you do to keep what matters at the forefront and not slip back into complacency?

If you’ve faced a shock or are determined that you want to make significant changes in how you prioritise what is important to your professional and personal life contact me +44 (0) 7952 068133 or


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