There are many blogs, books, and videos discussing how to be a successful entrepreneur, create work/life balance or how to keep a job while being an entrepreneur. But there are fewer outlets which address how to balance being an entrepreneur and have a relationship, at the same time. Note: Entrepreneurs can be men or women and for this article I’ll be using both genres interchangeably.
There is a thin line in which entrepreneurs can find themselves sitting on when trying to figure out how to include or maintain a relationship in their daily life as an entrepreneur. After all, being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle that is with you 365 days a year and it never turns off. Even when you have a dedicated team of effective and competent people working for you, you’re still the boss and the decision maker. You can’t just “disconnect” for any amount of uncertain time and you are in essence married to your work. You work is your life and you are your work. The two cannot be separated.
The entrepreneur side of your life is who you love the most with all of its intricacies. But there is another side to you which longs for companionship or someone to share a life and build with. Yet, you know that being in a relationship you have to be mindful of its commitments if you want to keep it.
Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of work. Relationships take a lot of work. Both require full time commitment, and patience if you want to see it become successful and last.
So how does one balance being an entrepreneur with having a relationship at the same time?
Here are 5 ways to help you unlock methods to help you figure it out.
1) Be honest about your needs upfront.
How many times have you had to change the plans on previously planned events with your mate? Have you had to cancel yet another date because there were things which came and you’re hoping she’ll understand or better yet still be available when you’re available?
If you’re experiencing this or anything similar, it’s possible to trace it back to not fully stating what you need or not updating what you need as things change. It’s easy for one to take for granted that his mate just knows who he is. Besides, you may assume your partner should know what’s going on, handle it, and be able to figure it out without you needing to explain things or complain about it.
Yet, sometimes entrepreneurs expect their mate to read context clues without necessarily asking for a verbal understanding of what’s needed. Being honest upfront about what you need is one of the best ways to ensure your relationship can survive when things change, because things will change.
One of the best ways to be on the same page is to lay everything on the table by writing it down on a 3×5 notecard. A notecard is not so overwhelming and you can make your list short and sweet. Have your mate write a list too and the two of you can exchange list and discuss. Keep the notecard in your wallet, purse or somewhere handy so you can refer to it occasionally. It’ll help you to remember what’s important to your mate and it’ll help your mate to remember what’s important to you. Having a list of a few things you need is also a good way to help both parties adjust to ever changing entrepreneur lifestyle while remembering the needs of the other.
2) Disconnect and be present in the moment.
Is this you?
You wake up with your phone. You go to bed with your phone. You wake up throughout the night and check your phone. You text, email, surf the internet, make post to social media, check voicemails or you’re always making deals no matter where you are and what time of day it is. You never turn your devices off, you’re never without them and it seems like everyone has 24-hour access to you.
As technology expands, we have more information available at our finger tips. So we are naturally inclined to want to stay connected in real time. You’re probably thinking “This is the best way to stay on top of the game and ahead of my competition!” Yes, there is some truth in this, but at what price are you paying by missing out on moments you can never get back?
There are so many things you will miss out on simply because you are an entrepreneur. However, many who have been interviewed on their death-bed or in a nursing home regretted not being present in the moment with their significant other while they still had their “youth” or while the person was alive. When you have the opportunity to be with your mate, disconnect from everything and be present in that moment.
What does that look like?
Next time you are home, consider leaving your phone and other devices turned off for a few hours. This means you take no phone calls, do not check email nor text messages. Give your mate your full attention and tune in to what is going on in your home and within their heart.
Disconnect from the grid as there is no refund on time.
3) Make your Significant Other #1
Disconnecting and being present in the moment brings me to number three. Make your significant other numeral uno!
Yes, you’re busy and in demand. Yes, the business and clients constantly pull at you. You have multiple deadlines to meet, projects to see about and money to generate. You also have your own personal things you like to do which you may rarely find time to do.
However, you also know if it weren’t for this person being the support beam behind the scenes caring for the children and the dog, the home would fall to pieces. Don’t wait until the tension is high and no one wants to talk. Schedule time for your mate at random moments that you can take to get away from the business. To start, consider creating one standing day a week or a few hours during the week where it is just the two of you doing whatever he or she wants to do. At other times, go out of your way to make your mate feel special with a night out on the town that you planned or just watch TV together. More than doing things or going places, find out what he or she wants to do with their life and let him know how you may be able to help him fulfill his dreams and goals. After a long day, give an hour of your time that’s dedicated just to your mate, uninterrupted. This creates intimacy, which can create open and honest communication, which creates trust. It can also give you more freedom to be the entrepreneur you are because your mate knows you will take care of home first.
4) Stay Connected by Showing Appreciation & Have Sex Regularly!
When a person is praised and shown appreciation, they tend to do more and go above what is requested of them for those they love on a consistent basis. Praise your partner with words of affirmation verbaly, on little sticky notes or via text messages. Recognize your significant other for maintaining the home, caring for your parents, handling the bills or simply sticking it out with you on your journey.
And what better way to say “thank you” or “I love you” than with random hugs, intimate touching and of course, sex! Create ways to have uninterrupted, unplanned intimate moments at different times as your schedule allows. Schedule lunch dates during the day when the children are at school or at the sitter’s house. Check into a hotel with your partner nearby the business if you have to drive far to get home and back to the office in a timely manner. You’re the boss! Call in “sick” and take some time off and reconnect with your partner. Do this regularly and you will not only balance your relationship, you will also be able to find balance in your life!
5) Communication! Communicate often and reassuringly.
Communication builds trust.
The number one reason for divorce and failed relationships is due to lack of communication or the inability to communicate effectively with understanding. Over time poor communication breeds mistrust and resentment and it can ruin a relationship in seconds, which may have taken years to build.
Frequent communication can lay the perfect foundation for having a balanced relationship. When the communication occurs frequently, it can expand your partner’s trust in you with his or her emotions while you’re away or when things come up and you need to be understood.
Reassuring communication doesn’t mean texting every little nuisance that may occur or “checking in” so to speak. It does however mean you take responsibility to touch base with your mate so they stay connected to you. You can do this through text messages or short phone calls once or twice a day. A random “Hello handsome.” or “I miss you beautiful.” can go a long way and turn into something magical when you get home and over time.
Take note if your partner is having a rough day. Make your words more gentle than usual. Be the listener and listen intently, ask questions or just let your mate vent.
The bottom line? Communicate.
Overall, it is very tough being an entrepreneur and you will make huge sacrifices for the success and continuance of your lifestyle and your relationship. With that said, although I have given you some tools to help you balance the two, it is imperative to choose the person who best compliments you in their understanding of what you do, who you are and what you need.
In short, make your needs known upfront or as they change. Give your partner your undivided attention and disconnect from the grid and work on a regular basis. When you prioritize your schedule and put your mate on top, this will let her know she is number one to you and she’ll be more giving and understanding because she knows you will take care of home first. At various opportunities affirm him for supporting you and have sex regularly to stay connected (if that is the nature of your relationship). Communicate about everything often and reassuringly.
When you find balance, you can expect to succeed as an entrepreneur and have a relationship……at the same time.