I was conducting a coaching session the other day on your circle of influence. We were discussing who you let into the core inner circle and allow access to influence you and your energy. My client withdrew a little and asked how you can get people to support you as you are chasing your dream.
This client felt that while her husband had been supportive of her starting this business, she was now feeling that he was bringing her negative energy and being critical. She shared that when her husband doesn’t see any progress in the business, he gives her a lot of pressure on the money she is putting out each month and she feels like he is not being supportive of the work it takes to build a business. This is the most challenging part for her! No matter how positive she is, he drains her energy when they start talking about her business. Then when she hears about other people’s spouses supporting their entrepreneurial endeavors it makes her cry with envy.
Does this feel familiar? Has this happened to you? It is tough when we feel like we are going it alone. Our partners should be our greatest source of strength and energy. Luckily it doesn’t have to be this way!
I want to share with you a few ways to help build this support from a spouse or partner that is not involved in your business.
- Be aware that they may really not “get” what it takes – Your spouse honestly may not understand the struggle of an entrepreneur, even if they want to be supportive. For me, I had to realize that my husband has always worked in a stable corporate career in an industry where he was knowledgeable and for big companies with brand recognition and multiple people to help do the work. This is totally different from running a small entrepreneurial start-up where you are doing EVERYTHING! I also found that this led to his impatience with how long it took to get results, which for him was only focused on making money.
- Talk about your work – If you keep your spouse out of the day-to-day struggles (and the successes) then they will not understand what goes into running your business which can lead them to question what you do all day. You need to talk about what you are working on. Let them be a part of the process with you. It is easy to be critical of what you don’t see or understand.
- Ask for advice or help – Involve your spouse in your business in some way. I found that my husband wanted to be supportive, he just didn’t know how. By asking for his opinion on something or telling him where I could use support it gave him ways to feel like he was helping me. By letting your spouse be involved, it allows them to connect and feel part of the business you are pouring your heart, soul, and energy into.
- Open up the conversation – Find out what concerns your spouse has. Tell them that you feel unsupported. Just get the conversation started. Your marriage is a partnership and should be the most important relationship in your life. You need to keep the lines of communication open in order to keep it healthy and strong.
- Stay strong – Know why this is important to you and be able to communicate that. If making this business work is important to you and you are passionate about seeing it succeed, then make sure you fight for it. Don’t let anyone’s negativity discourage you or make you doubt that you can be a successful entrepreneur.
- Find positivity – Surround yourself with other people who will support you and can cancel out any negative energy that you feel from your spouse. Having a good support system is critical to any entrepreneur’s success.
Building a life and business you love means that you also have to value the relationships you’re in. It means that you need to make the important people in your life feel like a priority. When we aren’t feeling supported by our partners, it often leads to us feeling out of balance or unhappy.
One of the tools I use to help my coaching clients better understand their priorities and where they may be feeling off balance is something called a Diamond Map. Using this tool, we look at four key areas that we know are related to your overall feeling of happiness and fulfilment in your life.
Very often as we are in the building or scaling stages of our businesses, it is easy to get consumed with the work of making the business succeed. I find most often it is our personal relationships and our own health that suffer or get put on the back burner as we strive for this success in our business.
This showed up for me a few months back. I didn’t look at the vacation schedule that my husband had put together. It was a calendar that listed out all the days he had taken off. I just figured I’d “get around to” looking at it when I had some time. It was in my inbox for weeks, maybe months, which meant I didn’t realize he scheduled a week off, or that my daughter had a 4-day weekend from school, until it was too late. The week came and I had a calendar booked full of client meetings while the rest of my family enjoyed some quality time together…without me.
I was a bad week for me all around. I wanted to be having fun with my family. My mind wasn’t fully with my clients. I felt GUILTY the whole week that my coaching clients weren’t getting my best and especially when my girls asked why I wasn’t joining them on their adventures. I committed right there that I would not let that happen again. My husband and I now are aligned on our days off and I look at his calendars right away when I see them pop into my inbox!
As entrepreneurs, we are managing full schedules and the demands on us are high. It is up to you to make daily choices (and sometimes hourly ones) about what balance looks like for you. Each of us needs something different, so you need to define YOUR balance and it only has to make sense to you. It’s okay to fall off the wagon sometimes and not be perfect, it is going to happen to us all. I coach on this all the time and it still happens to me! You just need to get back up and keep going forward.
If you would like a copy of the Diamond Map exercise to see where you may be getting out of balance, please send me a request at www.empoweredleadershipcoach.com/contact.