Get a freaking job!
If you’ve been on this entrepreneur journey for any length of time, these four words have crossed your mind, crossed your lips, or have been spoken to you at some point.
Jumping into entrepreneurship is a risk; when you’re married on this journey, it becomes the family’s risk as well. The investments alone are enough to make some run for the hills, and I do not mean just the financial investment. The time invested in growing a business can create a significant strain on the family.
An entrepreneur cannot be two places at once, so if they are in their office working, at an event, or on a call, they are not spending time with the family. Add to that the crazy work hours, and it’s a perfect storm. Because of this, sometimes abandonment triggers pop up, and those triggers can develop resentment and frustration around the business that has seemingly taken so much of the entrepreneur’s time.
I know you want me to give you all the tools on how to make this part of the journey easier. Many of my coaching students want me to help them “fix” this. The tool I’ve found that works best is self-reflection. Yes, that is correct. Sometimes we have big emotional reactions to things not because of what is happening but because of how we perceive it.
Most of the time, the spouse of the entrepreneur is not 100% involved in the decision to jump into self-employment. I’m not saying you as a spouse was in the dark, there may have been many table conversations, and support has been given. Still, it’s not until the nitty-gritty happens that the spouse realizes they have gone from a supportive bystander to this dream to now riding the entrepreneur roller coaster alongside of their partner. This is where I believe things get sticky. We want to control our lives, and when things feel out of our control, and those “things” are affecting everything around us, it provokes the fight or flight chemicals in our brain because we subconsciously believe we are in trouble. We are on a roller coaster and are barely strapped in, and there isn’t an ending in sight. When will this get easier?
When I go inward though and say, why am I feeling this way? What is it that I hope happens here? I can then figure out my real why. See, we know that our entrepreneur needs to work longer hours to make sure this vision gets off the ground. We knew it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing and there were going to be bumps in the road. But when the success doesn’t happen on our timeline or the financial strain is becoming too heavy, we then start looking for a place to run. No one wants to be uncomfortable, but for the entrepreneur, this is their dream; this is part of the story, they are willing to crawl through it. The spouse of an entrepreneur is willing to crawl for a while, but eventually wants to get up and brush themselves off. All of this is normal.
To help get the footing needed to be strong and supportive, we need to let go of “in the box” expectations. They are probably not going to clock out at 5:00; they are probably going to be on their phones more than most, they are going to talk about the business all the time. When we stop expecting them to be something they’re not, and we start understanding their vision. Then things become less chaotic. I am in no way saying you should not get the attention and time that you deserve; I am saying that it might look different than your best friend and her husband, who both work a 9-5.
It’s not easy. Period. Anyone who tells you differently hasn’t hit a pothole yet. I have hit many. We have lost everything … twice, we have almost gotten a divorce, but we are now stronger, calmer, and more in love than we have ever been. It started with me. I learned his language, not just his love language but his entrepreneur language. I showed interest, and picked my battles. I went in and dealt with my own insecurities, and because of that became stronger. Ultimately, you cannot control what happens around you; you can only control how you react, and in that reaction is a powerful vibration that can diffuse or ignite. It’s your choice.
My most common advice? Develop a rhythm for your family that takes into consideration your unconventional entrepreneur lifestyle. Trust me; the conversation will be a lot less confrontational when you go into it saying, let’s do this together instead of, you need to be more…