Entrepreneurs are not the easiest of people to be with. When the’re not taking risks they are quite often over-committed to the latest project/person/possibility.
I’ve been lucky to be supported by my partner, but it hurts me to see friends with partners who do not share the enthusiasm, hope & journey. I put this down to the sacrifice and disappointment caused by moving goals.
This post isn’t a quick fix, but should help save a few arguments.
Tips for the partner:
1) Don’t ask if I’m free – Just book it in & tell me about it
I work from a shared calendar & give you read/write access to it. You don’t need to ask if I’m free, if I’ve not booked the time out then you can claim it. Just add the event to my calendar (or your own and invite me to join). That way you’re not waiting for me to get back to you about which weekend I’m free etc.
2) Everything has a place & time
When you call me at work, ask if its convenient to talk. If I can take the call I will, but if I’m pressed for time or with someone then I’ll need the communication style to be more direct than when I’m free. This helps to avoid me sounding short & gives you an opportunity to gauge my mood.
3) Respect & use my team
I don’t have an assistant, but some things (like receipts / expenses / credit card statements) can go direct to finance without needing my input.
4) I need downtime
Whether I’m going to my proverbial man-cave or enjoying a few games, let me escape the stresses of work occasionally. I’m better company afterwards. Make time to catch up with the girls & talk about 50 shades or do whatever it is you girls do.
5) I make 156 decisions a day… the least you can do is decide what to eat
Throughout each day I’m forever making decisions & living by my choices; over what to prioritise, who to get back to etc. Whether big, considered, calculated, small, inconsequential or life-changing every decision takes energy. So the least you can do is choose where, when & what you would like to eat. It’s not something I afford the luxury of deliberation.
Tips for the entrepreneur:
1) Show your appreciation EVERY DAY
I make a point of telling my partner how grateful I am for having her. Every day. On days where I’m not sure if I have or not, I’ll ask “Have I told you how much I love you today?…” Never wears thin, always brings a smile.
2) Pick your battles & equip your army
At work it can be necessary to ‘nip it in the bud’ or ‘tackle things head on’ this is a necessary skill to hone. Over the years I’ve gotten increasing skilled at knowing why & with what I get frustrated. Articulating your anger professionally, clearly & concisely to give your sales manager a proverbial KITA is necessary on a weekly basis. The emotional strength required by the job means they are ready for and expect it. Dealing with a similar emotion (frustration) in a personal context requires tact. If it bothers me & its important to me, I’ll raise it tomorrow & frame it in a “Tell me, what would you do if…” scenario. Think of the film Notting Hill, when the wife confronts the husband about finding the necklace bought for someone else. A perfect example of skillful confrontation.
If you’re really find it hard not to tell your partner what’s on your tits, then use the 4 strikes ideology so that you confront them once you spot four things (however minor) that have bothered you. Then you can make the case that none of these things individually bothered you, but that by the time the 4 thing happened you though it best to let them know.
3) Deal with it. – You can’t selectively numb your feelings so don’t
You deal with a lot. Many of us will numb our frustration / negative feelings but don’t. You can internalise it or deal with it in thousands of different ways, but don’t hold onto it, deal with it.
If you get skillful at numbing your feelings you’ll start numbing the wrong ones, like love, enthusiasm, excitement, passion because you can’t pick & choose the emotions you want.
4) Your business should serve your life, not vice-versa
Let your partner realise and enjoy the profits from your business & connect the successes with your work. Make a point that XYZ customer paid for the latest holiday, it just helps to psychologically attribute the appreciation of effort that goes it to the hard work you do.
You’ll never cut at the hours you work if your personal life isn’t what it can be, so work on improving it. You’ll find that with combined effort your standard of living will improve.
5) If it isn’t working get out
If you’ve given something a few years, planed your journey to a better place and not been able to get there despite your effort then there is probably something fundamentally wrong. Whether its the business or the partner, cut your ties, look for something better. Starting afresh is easier than you might think, you’ll always have more support thank you expect.