Entrepreneurship, dream chasing, world-changing work - it’s not for the faint of heart. The hours can be long, the disappointment can be crushing and the payoff can take years. All of that gets much worse if your spouse or boyfriend isn’t on Team Take Over The World with you.
Why can’t they see the light? What do you do about it? I will do my best to answer those questions for you and more, based on my interview, research, conversations with readers, and my own dream chasing journey (during some of which I did not have my handsome husband on my side!)
First Realize That They Are Probably Not Your Target Audience
My husband did not read my first book, and he doesn’t watch most of my videos. When we were younger, that would have really irked me. But now I realize that if my husband is loving my content, uh, that’s a problem. He is not my people. He is not going to opt in to read a personal growth and entrepreneurship magazine. He’s not going to listen to a rah rah podcast on success. He likes straight lines and hard numbers. He likes dry, factual, mathematical stuff. My content should not appeal to him, and I should not expect him to love it. Will I ask him to watch something or read something I’m particularly proud of, of course! But I don’t expect him to be one of my community members.
Also, there are some things he is interested in, some things he watches or reads, but it’s not in his personality to jump up and down about it, and it would be unfair for me to expect that of him. Cut your partner some slack!
Next Understand That You Are (Mostly) to Blame For Their Lack of Support
There are weeks in this process of growing my show that I do nothing but complain to the Hubs about all the No’s I’ve gotten from big celebrities, how only 100 people were on my livestream, etc. We all get down in the dumps, right? But if that went on week after week, why would he support my dream? All he sees is a tired, defeated, unhappy wife!
Many couples come together at the end of a long day, usually tired and thinking about what’s left to do, dinner to cook, dogs to walk and what have you. Unless we have had a big win that day, we may not be projecting the most I-lovethis-incredibly-time-consuming-passion-I’m-pursuiing vibe. Obviously, we can lean on our partners for support but you need to watch what you say when you communicate about your clients, deadlines, etc. Make sure to tell them the happy fun stuff, the things you’re looking forward to, etc.
Next, Clearly Explain Your Vision
More important than seeing the parts that you love and enjoy, do they see the benefits to them? To your family? Have you explained how achieving this dream will benefit your both financially or give you the flexibility to do the things you want to do? How you’ll be happier and healthier and a better mom or better boyfriend, etc. because of it? Make sure you have laid out for them not only who you’ll serve and why you feel like you need to embark on your mission, but what it will mean for your actual life - what’s in it for them? (Hopefully there is an answer to that question or you may want to rethink things!)
Ask Them About Their Fears (and Address Them)
At the start of this journey, my man stated clearly: I do not want to be here raising our daughter here without you. The show does cause me to travel, and if I’m not careful, I’ll say yes to every opportutnity, knock down every door and be gone way too much. Is your partner afraid you’ll be working 90 hour weeks forever? Are they afraid you’ll outgrow them? Afraid you’ve forgotten about some of your family goals like paying off debt or eventually homeschooling, etc? Ask them and have some honest discussion about their fears and the realities of the situation - which might not be great, by the way. Be open and honest, you may have to make some adjustments if their fears are well-founded.
Discuss Your Priorities
Often the fears they feel are rooted in where each of your priorities lie (i.e. they are really wanting to know, is your dream more important than me? Than our financial well being? Than time with the kids?) Figure out what your priorities are as a couple. There may be seasons where your dream has to take a back seat to a sick parent or a child failing at school. There may be times your business is the #1 priority, because it’s paying the bills and things are tight. What important activities should work travel be scheduled around? What other activities or investments should be given up in order to spend time and money on the dream? The key is to discuss these things together and make a game plan.
Check In Early and Often
Every 3-6 months, you’ll probably need to go through these steps again. Can they still see your vision? Do they have new fears that need to be addressed? Have you become a tired, complaining zombie? Have you been putting your mission first because you love your work so much? The more you can recalibrate and refocus, together, the better.
Find Some Like-Minded Support
I have a small group of fellow hustlers that I check in with about once a week. Sometimes we hold eachother accountable, sometimes we just whine, sometimes we ask for help. They are entrepreneurial like me, most of them are also married and also mothers. This has made a HUGE difference in my success. I cannot expect my spouse to fill the roles those ladies fill. Find someone who can be your cheerleader/coach/ accountability buddy, etc. A word of caution, however. I don’t form these kinds of relationships with men, because that would open the door for a man to fill a role in my life that my husband cannot fill. No bueno for a marriage. Consider that when you find your accountability buddies.
Get Outside Help
Just like couples who work together in their business, outside help can be a great idea. Find other ambitious couples whose relationships you admire and spend time with them. Ask them for advice, listen to their lessons. You can also go to counseling together or separately or both.
Entrepreneurship, building a big career, a world changing app, writing a book, whatever you’re working on - it’s hard to go through alone, but if you feel alone you’ve got to meet your partner half way. Start the discussion. Ask them the tough questions. Keep your heart open and keep your relationship first, and I assure you, all the warm fuzzies you feel will help grow your business and propel your pursuits.