Negotiating Work Seasons With Your Spouse

Yup crazy I know, but we don’t have the full story yet. The thing is that this schedule was a reduction from 16 hours a day 7 days a week. When her husband heard that she’d be working less he jumped to say yes at whatever the offer was.

Just like if you hadn’t had a drop to drink in a few days you wouldn’t be too choosy about the water you let pass your lips.

How do you make sure that as your business wins, so does your relationship? How do you make sure that you don’t look back at your business and count your relationship as one of the things that got railroaded on your trail to success?

Maybe you’re hard to be around

First, you need to realize that you’re likely hard to be around. You’re driven and have a singular focus. These traits are needed to build a successful business, but they also have a destructive side.

As you focus singularly on your business you can forget about what others around you need. You come home stressed out about finances and it doesn’t feel like a big deal to hear that the kids escaped the house and poured milk all over the floor…twice.

You decide that as your business has a bit of success you want to use the bit of extra time to workout again. Since you’re driven you throw yourself into some huge goal and the time your spouse thought would be for the family is gone again in another huge goal.

Your spouse has just as much stressful situations going on in their life as you do. Remember to be empathetic to what happened in their day. Remember to talk about something other than the business when you have time together.

Entrepreneur work life balance means recognizing your other has goals too

Second, it’s likely your spouse has goals as well. They want to be an awesome parent. They want to homeschool the kids. They want to keep pursuing their own career and interests. They’re not a trophy attached to your elbow.

All of my coaching clients go through their goal setting exercise at the same time as their spouse. Once they’ve both spent time building out their goals on their own, they come together and talk through their goals to build the family goals. I can’t count the number of times where the initial set of goals were so different that both parties couldn’t get what they wanted without compromise.

 

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You will both need to give on some of your goals to help the other achieve their goals. My wife and I both love to run. Sometimes she’s training for a race and I get less time on the trail. Sometimes I’m working towards a big mountain traverse and I get more time out. We both give up so that the other can achieve as many goals as possible. Don’t make the family goals revolve around your business goals.

The seasons of entrepreneur work life balance

The final idea you need to take into any discussion with your spouse about goals is that there are seasons. In the 3 months before we had our second child I worked lots and lots. My wife bought in to 3 months where I was more absent. This meant I could take from December 20 – February 15th off to meet our new baby and be around the house.

That’s not the only season we’ve had in business either. Many summers I work less and spend more time at the beach with the family. I schedule less client work and focus on the very few tasks needed to keep the business running.

The big danger here is that your season turns into the new normal. You realize you get so much done by getting up early and then you leave your spouse on their own in the morning with the kids. You don’t come home early, you still work till 5 and it’s been 6 months.

 

 

As you work out any season in your business, set a clear deadline on it. Work your extra time for 4 weeks and then stop it for at least one week. Use that one week to connect again and decide what the plan moving forward is. Maybe it’s working more again, or maybe it’s sticking to a standard office day.

Whatever it is, make sure you’re both on board with the new plan.

If your partner doesn’t support you then not only are you trying to build a business, you’re doing it with opposition at home.

That’s going to mean you have so many extra hurdles to jump that it’s unlikely you’ll build a successful business and a successful relationship.

Even building a successful business is so much harder if you don’t have support at home.

You both need to invest in the hard work that it’s going to take to build a business. You both need to commit to communication and you both need to be willing to give up a bit.

When you spend the time getting your spouse on your side, you’ve got someone backing you when things go south. You have someone that picked you and believes that you can succeed. Having that cheerleader can be the difference between success and failure.

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