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If there is upset in our primary relationship what often happens can seem camouflaged as a committed business owner doing whatever it takes to be profitable. 


It can show up as the addiction of a workaholic and can create greater problems at home.  We have also seen it show up as rapid business failure or the slow death of the business. When things are conflicted at home it is difficult not to bring this into your business affairs. We hear about this all the time from small business owners and solo entrepreneurs.


Ted’s Story

A colleague shared a very common and sad story.  His good friend, Ted had a very successful mid six-figure business. Ted went though a very painful separation and eventually a costly divorce and for 7 months wasn’t able to focus on his business and even with help he couldn’t delegate clearly; the result was that his profitable business was almost ruined and he took a huge loss that he is still recovering from.  Ted had his head down when his wife wanted to make some changes, very engrossed in his business.  When he looked up and realized what was happening, it was too late.


Common Underlying Issues

If you are a solo entrepreneur or small business owner and find yourself struggling in your intimate relationship, we understand this and empathize.


When this happens, we sometimes over-compensate by working harder in our business; that can be painful and bring up more feelings of isolation and loneliness for both partners as seen in Ted’s story.


Here are three things that we have found to be the most common underlying issues when this is happening. See if you can recognize yourself in any of these scenarios:


     1. If you just did things my way we’d get along great!  Code for -Not appreciating and honoring each other’s differences.  

         Everyone is unique as  his or her own DNA.  When we fail to understand this, attempting to change our partner, we experience real              problems. Often when we first get together we actually believe we can change our partner or give our partner advice on what would              be best for them.  Have you ever experienced this trap? 


2. “You are just like your mother, what’s wrong with you?”  Code for - Toxic interactions.


         If you often get into disagreements, by giving or receiving criticism, blame, stonewalling or just are living parallel lives and feel alone              you know how painful all of this can be.  Research indicates that couples that regularly engage in this type of interaction have almost a          90% likehood of divorcing.


3. “You spent more money, on your business, why? We can’t afford that.” Code for- Not understanding each other and each      other’s vision.


CS Lewis said, “Any road will do if you don’t where you’re going.” Entrepreneurs need a vision for their business.  When we don’t understand our partner or their vision because they are not in alignment with our vision we often clash.


These top three issues will often appear as arguments about sex, chores, money, children (or if you don’t have children in-laws or relatives) careers/work, annoyances and habits (toilet seat, how to put on the toilet paper roll, snoring).  We have found that as couples begin to resolve the underlying issues they start working out the other ones and some of the minor annoyances become something they can laugh about.


We experienced all three of these underlying issues when Michael was starting his private practice as a Marriage Family Therapist.  We were living parallel lives at that point and were like ships passing in the night.  Our interactions were brief and to the point and sometimes heated with lots of blaming one another.  We didn’t seem to care too much about the other person having a different point of view from us.  We both were focused on what we wanted and needed. It was not a high point in our marriage.


When we were married, I knew that Michael’s vision included a private practice, yet 10 years later when we mortgaged our house to the hilt to pay for his dream and money was not flowing in as expected, I was not very supportive or understanding. Later the tables were turned when I left my social work career and started my coaching business.


We had to work to turn things around, as they were not going well.  It was through our individual self-exploration and some intensive couples work that we began making sense of our differences, changed the unhealthy interactions and got more on board with our partner’s dreams.


If you desire success in your business and with your intimate partner, consider if any of these three underlying issues or other similar issues are showing up in your relationship.  If so, it may be time to step back and reassess how you can begin to turn things around.  Your personal and professional success are very interconnected.

P.S.  If you would like more support in applying these principles, give us a call.  In between our speaking and coaching engagements, we carve out a few individualized sessions each month. Schedule your appointment here.

To Personal and Professional Success,


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