I remember walking through the door of my condo in March of 2005 to let my wife know some important and shocking news. “Honey, I’m home,” I exclaimed.
When Emily asked me how my day was at work, and why I was home rather early, I explained to her that I was fired. I then proceeded to tell her that I was planning to start a painting company and needed to get to work right away to get things going.
I remember the look of concern on her face, but what I remember more was when she told me:
“Matt, I believe in you and support you. You’ve got this!”
Since day one, my wife, Emily, has been my rock and my cheerleader in business. She has believed in me and supported me in all of my business ventures. As we have journeyed through business together, and grown our family together, I have learned many lessons about business, marriage and family, and how they all interact together. I must admit, I have learned many of these lessons from doing things the wrong way and finding out the hard way.
However I learned these lessons, I would love to share them with you in this week’s blog.
- When you begin your business, it is important that you have a clear “why” and a strong vision for your business. It is also important that you communicate this with your spouse. Be open to questions, concerns, input, and thoughts your spouse may have surrounding your business.
- Clearly understand and have open communication about your financial situation. When I was fired in 2005, I was six figures in debt and started M & E Painting with the last $100 Emily and I had to spare. However, she was not aware of our exact financial situation. She actually found out years later when I was speaking about it to a group of business owners! Communicate often, early and accurately over your finances, wherever they may be.
- Your marriage and business will only be as healthy as you. Emily and I were brought up in very different types of environments. In any marriage, both partners will bring their past hurts, pains, struggles and baggage to the marriage. This baggage will also show up in business. In my case, I brought a lot of it, and I had a lot of things to work through to improve myself. Looking back, I now realize the negative affect not facing these things had in both my marriage and business early on. Work on yourself and work on your marriage early and often. It will greatly benefit your business.
- Will your spouse be a cheerleader or player on the team when it comes to your business? Decide if both you and your spouse will be actively involved in the operations of the business; or will your spouse support you from the sidelines and not be actively involved in the business? This is an important thing to determine early on. This allows you both to establish clear boundaries as to how much your spouse will or will not participate in the business with you. Either way is okay, it is just important to make it clear.
- Understand you and your spouse’s leadership language. How and why you behave, communicate, make decisions and how you do life, leadership and business is what I refer to as your “leadership language”. In, 2008, Emily and I took a leadership language survey prior to attending a business retreat together. The information and results contained in those surveys were very valuable to us. We gained insight into how we made decisions together, how we communicated, why we fought, how we were alike, how we were different, and most importantly how to adapt to the other’s styles. Understanding these things have been monumental in the advancement of both our marriage and business.
- Understand your spouse and children’s Love Language. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, explains that people show and receive love in different ways. There are 5 main ways love is given and received. Acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, giving/receiving gifts, and quality time. It is important as you consider how to connect and love on your spouse and kids that you take this into account.
- Remember life is business and business is life. What happens in one flows to the other. I remember coming home after a long day, and a rather crappy one, in business. When I arrived home, I could not leave what happened outside the door. I needed to talk to Emily about it. We both realized in this conversation that it is impossible to compartmentalize business 100% from life and vice versa. It is completely okay to share your amazing top of the mountain days with your spouse, as well, your down in the dumps days. We have grown closer together when this communication has been open.
- As your family grows and kids come along, it is important to schedule intentional time in your calendar for your family. Schedule one on one time with your spouse, and do the same with your children. When kids arrive, they will take a priority in your life and it is easy to put your spouse on the back burner. Be sure not to let this happen. As you family grows, and the demand on your time grows, it is important to take strong control of your time. Click here and check out my video coaching series, Take Your Time Back, where I share a framework and method to take absolute control of your time and your tasks.
Marriage, parenthood and business are three of the most difficult yet fulfilling roles in which you can participate in life. They all converge in the most unique and challenging way. I hope this week’s blog was able to help you with some tips to navigate the journey.
For more free tools on how to grow your business and advance your leadership, click here.