I used to often wake up before 5AM, head to the living room and get to work.
I woke up at the crack of dawn because it was the only way to fit everything in. I had client sessions and business meetings and networking events. I had to do admin like tracking expenses, preparing a social media calendar, responding to emails and writing blogs. The to do list of business necessities ran on and on and on.
Add to that the desire to make time for life – for myself, for my friends, and for my husband – and you can understand how there was never enough time in the day. We can really only achieve so much.
if you’re not careful, business kills relationships
Even if you’re starting a business that does good, the act of starting a business can be very selfish. We allow so much of ourselves and our ego to get caught up in what we’re doing. We’re afraid to fail so we work day and night to prevent that from happening. We stress ourselves out in the hopes that doing more will prevent our demise. The things that we once loved to do make it to the bottom of our to do list….if they make it on there at all.
I used to wake up super early in an attempt to minimise the impact on my husband. I figured if he was still sleeping, he wouldn’t notice that I was working. I guess it was my way of making it better. I’d get a good solid 3-4 hours in before he woke up, squeeze everything else into the “normal” working day and still make a bit of time for him in the evening.
He never complained, so I kept at it.
I said yes to a lot of opportunities. Although they were (mostly) aligned to the longer term vision I had for my business, they were also a huge distraction. In 2015, I spent about 1/3 of the year away from home on business. That’s 120 days that I put my business first and not my marriage.
He never complained, so I burnt out.
2016 was meant to be different. I said I would travel less. I put a lot more energy into trying to salvage a broken marriage. My business and my work ethic weren’t the only reasons my relationship didn’t last, but they certainly didn’t help the situation. My focus had clearly been elsewhere for too long. My needs, my schedule, and my ability to make money came before my duties as a wife.
He finally complained. It was too late.
And once it was too late, business was finally forced onto the back burner. There was no time to blog, or tweet or even think about the next client. Instead I tried desperately to figure out what the hell had gone wrong and how I could move forward.
so why am I telling you all this?
Because now that I know what he must have felt like, it kinda sucks.
About a month ago, I came to Jamaica to try and start a new life with a new person. He runs his own business. Both of his parents run their own businesses. Entrepreneurship is in his blood. He is ambitious. He is determined. He is hungry.
And, just like me, he is selfish.
He doesn’t want to fail. He wants to prove to all the naysayers around him that he can do this. That he will succeed. That he can build something great.
But first comes the blood, sweat and tears.
First comes the late nights, the early starts and the long days in between.
First comes the neglect of self-care because it’s easy to forget the time and then realise we haven’t eaten or showered or done laundry in really long time.
First comes the broken promises because although the intentions are there, something will always come up. We don’t want to say no to opportunities. We want to go above and beyond what we promised in business. But that means that promises at home get neglected or forgotten.
First comes the need to put business first and EVERYTHING else last.
And the funny thing is that you’d think I’d get it. I went through it myself. I see all of my clients go through it. And I know there will come a day when I’ll go through it all again.
When I talk to other entrepreneurs about it, we all say that we just need a partner who is really supportive and understanding. One who understands our dreams and encourages us to keep going. But do we ever really stop and consider the impact that our actions are having on the people around us? Do we put even a fraction of the effort into our relationships that we do into our businesses?
I can tell you firsthand that watching someone you love go through the highs and lows of starting a business, rolling over to find the bed empty because someone is still working, holding your tongue because you want just a little attention but know that they’re working REALLY hard on something… all that starts to add up. The pressure builds and builds and builds and home life can really start to feel like shit.
Take my word for it…business kills.
is there a better way?
Sometimes when the tension has already mounted, it can be hard to see things from a different perspective. If you’re the one in the business, your stress may increase as you try to do your part at home. You may start talking less – neither sharing the joys or the hardships – because you feel that your partner no longer understands. Quality may suffer as you rush to complete some work. You may sacrifice sleep just to get it all done, which in turn could stress you out a lot more and ultimately burn you out.
If you’re the one watching on as your loved one builds a business, you may start to feel resentment or anger. You may may start to assume that no promises will be kept, that you’ll be disappointed again, that you’ll come last for a long time. You may also start talking less because you don’t want to say anything that could be interpreted as being unsupportive, which ultimately means that issues aren’t getting discussed or resolved and the giant elephant still sits in the room.
If either of these paths continue for too long, business may succeed but your relationships may not.
get the support you need
If you want to discuss matters like this that affect you and your business, why not join a community of likeminded entrepreneurs and offload your thoughts and fears in a safe and confidential space? When you can rely on other people who do truly “GET IT” without worrying about any emotions being triggered, you will get clarity on how to move forward and the encouragement to do so.
over to you
As always, I’d love to hear from you. Have you found your relationships to be more challenging since starting a business? If so, what techniques can you share that have helped you through? Let us know in the comments below.