I was in a conversation today with my personal clothing stylist (yes, I have one). Her name is Mary, and I was sharing with her all the things that make my relationship great. There are many things, and my wife is amazing. But it wasn’t the communication, regular date nights, or the way we raise our son, Teddy. She was most impressed with when I admitted my imperfections. The ability and courage to share where you are not great gives the listener permission to come to grips with their own humanity. So, I decided to share my recent “fail” when it comes to my relationship with my wife, as it pertains to my entrepreneurship.
You see, I am just like you. I love my life, I love my family, and I love what I do. But sometimes, not all three things are in alignment at one time. But don’t worry, what I am about to share is a demonstration that you can have it all.
This story begins last week — it was the night before my wife’s birthday. She and my son were already fast asleep, it was just me awake in a very quiet house. I was sitting there stunned. Why? Because who I am normally when it comes to birthday’s and other celebrations, is the guy that goes OVER THE TOP. I ensure every detail is accounted for, that every emotion is created and that my wife feels totally loved and cared for from the moment she wakes on her birthday, till the moment she goes to sleep. I lavish her with gifts, I make her breakfast, I have flowers for her, and I plan a day she will never forget, down to the smallest detail. But, here is why I was in shock this particular night: I had planned nothing, I had gotten her no flowers, no gift, and not even a card. NOTHING. Some of you might be thinking at this point: “what a jerk, why are you so uncaring?” My answer, “I have no defense.” You see, there had been this numbness building these past few weeks that led to this moment.
Here is the part you may understand. I had become an obsessed entrepreneur! John and I have been creating this amazing Facebook Marketing product, and there are so many details that go into creating and marketing it. And, I have been having so much fun creating it. But, it has been a juggling act, and because I have been so obsessed and passionate about creating it, I started to develop “blinders” to everything else in my life. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I suppose I thought, “If I give too much attention to my wife, and it gets really juicy and good, it will take me off course and I won’t be able to create an amazing program for my tribe.” As if, if my relationship is good, I won’t be able to have a good business life too.
Please get that none of what I am telling you fits in the world of logic, it is just what my mind was unconsciously doing. My blinders had gotten so strong that there had become static and resentment between me and my wife. And because I was so singularly focused, I couldn’t see that I had developed these defenses that were turning me into a real jerk. And, what is worse, I thought that the arguments and tension that ensued were my wife’s fault! Seriously, I am not making this stuff up!
To make matters worse, I had begun waking up in a state of misery. My sleep was suffering and my eating habits during this “tour de force” of entrepreneurial energy were less than nurturing. I had been going to sleep in almost a state of panic, like my heart might give way to attack at any moment, and I am still a relatively young guy, but remember that my mind had begun reacting irrationally.
So, what was the turning point, you may be wondering? It was my wife’s birthday. You see, even though I had been a jerk in my lack of planning for her big day, I did have the foresight to block out the entire day to spend with her and pamper her as much as I could. Even though I woke up numb and feeling miserable, I made her a delicious and healthy breakfast, filled with goodies from our garden. I made her fresh green juice even. And I gave her the card my son and his nanny made for her, although there was no card from me! By this point, I had also created an appointment in the afternoon for a couples massage and decided we would stop in the healthy restaurant next door to the spa for some good eats after our massage. Then, I made reservations at the very best restaurant in the city. While I started the day distracted and wanting to get right down to business, I knew I had to try to stay present to the birthday plan I had wearily created. And, sometime between massage and an incredibly nourishing food experience at dinner that night, it happened. I finally began to thaw and see the beauty in my wife’s eyes, the incredible emotion that came over me when I saw her smile and words poured out of my mouth that hadn’t been there in a while. I told her she looked beautiful. I said it in a way that really “got to her,” in a way that I really meant it. I was breaking away from being numb, and I could finally feel the emotion and love again that I very strongly have for my wife. This “un-thawing” led to a connected, heartfelt and rich conversation and a 3 hour dinner experience that we didn’t want to end.
I was so happy to feel the love again, and my wife had her husband back, and I have been uber presence ever since. The lesson here is about balance. Without yin, yang is useless. And without love and emotion in your life, your business will be dry and unfulfilled. And whether you have a spouse, child, or you give all your love to your friends, don’t forget to schedule that time to do exactly that. It is important that you nourish your soul with the things that make you happy and give you the most joy. Remember why you do the things you do, and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place. It may be because you wanted freedom to do things your way when it comes to business, but I suspect that at least part of you wants to be an entrepreneur so that you can design your whole life in the way you want. And, given that you can create your own schedule, why not play hooky every once in a while and fall in love again!
p.s. if you are wondering whether I neglected to give a gift to my wife, don’t worry. I patiently spent over two hours with her in a boutique jewelry store as she tried on at least fifty pairs of earrings. She walked away with two beautiful pairs that made her feel sexy and alive. (my role as a good husband now redeemed ;-D ).