On the Same Team

Have you ever felt like your relationship has lost its way? You started off all happy and cozy with your partner and then that little pesky thing called LIFE got in the way. Suddenly you’re arguing over how to handle the kids and how much time (or how little time) your spouse spends at home. These bigger issues take hold and manifest into smaller, more inconsequential issues like putting the toilet seat down or replacing the cap to the toothpaste. At the end of the day, you’re both left with anger and resentment and it just grows and festers over time.

A while back I was conducting an interview with the spouse of an entrepreneur. Her preverbal “Ah ha” moment became one of mine as well. She and her husband had been seeing a therapist for a little while to work through some issues. Months had passed and they were still struggling with the same issues.

Mid-fight, the therapist looked at them and said, “You’re on the same team. Why are you fighting against each other here when you’re both on the same team?” Hmm. It seems so simple; and yet so profound. He was right. When you join forces with your partner and get married, you are essentially vowing to support your teammate through thick and thin. All issues, grievances and what not should be approached from an “us vs. them” perspective.

When you look at the challenges that a couple faces on a daily basis from the viewpoint of “us” instead of “me” it may change the way you approach many decisions.

In business, we collaborate with our partners and employees all the time to ensure the best outcome; so why don’t we do the same with our partners in the household?

One reason is that as time passes and our lives become more complex, we spend less time actually talking with our spouses about important issues. During one of my seminars, one couple shared what works for them. They have a “shit that matters” book in their kitchen. Throughout the day/week they write down all the things they want to discuss with each other so they don’t forget. Then they schedule a weekly meeting to talk about what’s written in the book.

Do you have a method that works for your family? If so, let us know what you do and how it works!

250K Satisfaction

One could assume that the more money you make in your business, the happier your spouse would be with regard to their role in the household. After all, you can now afford to buy more things for your home, take care of the family needs and even pay for someone to clean the house. According to research from the Harp Family Institute, however, as family income increases over $250K a year, spousal satisfaction with their role in the household decreases. Why might this be?

Happiness is a Choice

I had an amazingly profound experience with my almost five-year-old son recently that made me proud to be his mother. My husband and I were going away for the night and leaving our two boys with some family friends. When I told my son, he immediately grew very sad and perseverated on the fact that he was unhappy. Over and over he kept repeating, “I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. Hmph.” I get it. I am the center of his universe right now and when I go away, even for just one night; that can cause anxiety and sadness.

As a mother, though, hearing those words over and over can become grating and rather depressing. I called him over to me, put my hands on his shoulders and said, “Honey, I’m going to teach you a really important life lesson right now. Are you ready?”

He shook his head, yes.

“Sweetheart, happiness is a choice. If you choose to be happy, then you will be happy. If you choose to be unhappy, that you will be unhappy. Which do you think is a better choice?”

He looked at me and said plainly, “Happy.”

The next day we dropped him off at our friend’s house. He said good-bye with a smile on his face, gave me a great big hug and said, “Have fun, Mommy!”

I said good-bye and watched him climb the steps to go inside. I stood in the driveway dumb founded! Huh? It worked? I couldn’t believe it. That’s a concept many adults struggle with.

For now – I’m thrilled, but cautious. I’m certain we will be having this conversation many times again, but for today . . . life lesson #1 . . . a HUGE success!!

Goal Setting

Research from the Harp Family Institute reports that entrepreneurs who set long term shared family and business goals with their significant other scored higher in every single area of satisfaction than those who didn’t set goals. Entrepreneurs who set those goals were upwards of 32% happier than those who didn’t. Surprisingly only one-third of entrepreneurs set shared long term business goals and about one-half set shared long term family goals with their spouse.

So why does goal setting make such a big difference to the entrepreneurial couple? To begin with, it helps to generate and maintain buy-in from your significant other about why you are on this journey together. Because if you want one thing out of life and your spouse wants something completely different, that can present some real challenge. However, if you have a shared vision for the future that has components that are important to both of you, it makes this crazy entrepreneurial journey a little easier.

So how do you begin? There are a number of ways to develop your goals; but the first step is to set a date on the calendar with your spouse. Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes to generate and discuss your own personal goals and then your joint goals. Establish timelines for which you hope to achieve your goals.

Once you have gone through the exercise of dreaming up all the things you hope to accomplish in your lives, you may find that some of those goals seem impossible to achieve. If that’s the case, whether it’s a today, 1 year or 5 year goal, I encourage you to follow the following 4-Step GOAL process to weed through the obstacles and figure out a way to accomplish your dreams together.



Five Qualities Entrepreneurs Should Look for in a Mate

It can be hard enough in this world to find “the one” – but if you’re an entrepreneur, you may feel this task is an especially onerous one. After all, you’re currently married to your business and who wants to be the “other wo/man”? The truth is, according to research through The Harp Family Institute most spouses are genuinely happy being married to their entrepreneurial counterpart and would marry them again and again. Ever wondered what personality characteristics to look for in a partner? Below are five personality characteristics that help make for a successful marriage to an entrepreneur.

  1. Intelligence: According to both entrepreneurs and their significant others, intelligence was the #1 personality characteristic to look for. Arm candy can come in a variety of shapes and sizes . . . especially when that comes in the form of a brain that can match and challenge you!
  2. Confidence: Entrepreneurs exude confidence, so it’s equally as important for your partner to feel secure as well. When choosing a partner, you will want to look for someone who is confident enough to stand up to you when necessary. You will also want to find someone whose confidence enables them to pursue their own independent activities, without resentment, while you are busy working on the company.
  3. Fun: Believe it or not, entrepreneurs identified ‘fun’ as one of the top characteristics of their partners. Why? Business ownership comes with an enormous amount of stress and tension. When you come home at the end of the day, it’s rejuvenating to be around someone you think is fun to be with. It helps make tomorrow a little easier!
  4. Dedicated: It is important for your spouse to be just as dedicated to you and your life mission as you are to the two loves of your life (your business and your family). That high level of dedication will help ease you through both the ups and downs life will inevitably throw your way.
  5. Loving: This seems obvious, but in reality, it’s not. It’s easy to mistake a physical connection with a genuine emotionally charged love that’s based on real friendship and caring. Look for someone who picks you up when you are down and who is a true friend.