The ease with which we genuinely love others is directly proportional to our commitment to loving as a priority in our lives. To love is a decision first, an action second, a value next.  – Karen Casey

I loved reading Jeff Haden’s recent post on marrying the right person to be more successful. It made me reflect on my own life. I have always prided myself on being an independent, successful executive woman. It is what I stand for – and I actually love it. I boldly stepped into my career right after getting my MBA with a firm stance of independence and success on my mind. I was married right before my 29th birthday, divorced at 33 and single for another 15 years. I was proud of my career accomplishments, which have been fortunately many and equally entrenched in being such a brazenly independent woman.

Then it all changed. In 2010, I met my now husband, Joe. We were married in 2012. About a year into the marriage, I realized that I had been missing the deep, unconditional love of a contented relationship. I didn’t know I was missing it because I hadn’t had it for so long. I was happier, more relaxed, more at ease, and more confident.

What does this have to do with the success that Jeff writes about?  For me, as a business owner and executive woman, it has made me more successful. Not just by the measure of our revenues, which have grown substantially, but in the way I show up for my clients.

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These are the three things I now know, and they all contribute to my success and our company’s success:

  1. Having my back. Joe always has my back. I am always sure that Joe will be there, encouraging me, cheering me on, believing in the business and mostly, believing in me.
  2. An objective view. Joe provides an objective view. I am fortunate that my husband has a business background, so I can run things by him. He is very balanced and has a clear sense of what might work and not. I get emotional at times; he rarely does in business matters. This is priceless counsel.
  3. Changing priorities. Most importantly, I have learned to be ok that my career is very high on my “most important” list. I love being in business and being an executive. However, having a deeply meaningful relationship has allowed me to pause and take stock. Simply put, my marriage is number one and for me, it is a game changer that allows me to put less pressure on myself in an odd way.

Who knew?! I consider myself a lifelong learner, but this is one lesson that took me awhile to learn – and it was oh so worth waiting for. And by the way, I am still brazenly independent and in love!


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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