The saying goes “behind every great man is a great woman”. The notion being that greatness takes a level of support and determination in itself. Relationship advice often doesn’t take the shape of a couple delving into the world of entrepreneurship.
I think there is one thing that EVERYONE needs to fully embrace after they have decided to muster up the audacity and tenacity to start off on their path in the quest for greatness. Regardless of what that goal entails for you, the following is fairly non-negotiable.
Commitment is an acceptance that you will be making short term sacrifices in exchange for achieving your desired outcome.
And that understanding needs to be deep-rooted, not just a glancing admission that “yeah it might get hard”.
Truly sacrificing to become excellent at what you desire to be excellent at – to make a business succeed, to excel at a job, to compete in a sport requires you to make the type of undying pact with yourself that you will do what is necessary.
Sacrificing nights out, trips away, family time, birthday parties, concerts.. The list goes on and becomes an ever-more bitter pill to swallow.
Where life gets complicated is if you are fortunate enough to meet the person that you realise is your “one”. You see, when you end up chasing a goal with unrelenting endurance, the person that has decided to co-share this life with you, will find themselves in a place where your sacrifices in many ways become your sacrifices.
It’s been a journey that relationship advice alone couldn’t prepare us for
By the time I met my partner, I was thankfully past the point in life where I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, literally scraping together the pennies at the end of the month and stretching a bag of frozen chicken to last me a whole week.
But being the “entrepreneur’s wife” in my case – led to a lifestyle where she had to deal with me not being there. It can be a lonely existence. It can result in misplaced emotions and arguments as a result. Throw the madness and rollercoaster of emotion that comes with having kids – let alone the physical, hormonal and personal changes that they bring.
As I rolled closer to my destination, a combination of becoming slightly more used to (or at least tolerant of) the situation and the ability for me to have more time to dedicate to home meant that the toughest times were perhaps behind us – but the hardship from being a new mother, with no direct support for 80% of the week – isn’t a memory that ever truly disappears. Often the projections that are bounded partner to partner are actually reflections of inner struggles.
It’s a team effort for us, always has been even if there was often some frustration about our roles in the team along the way and it is something that a lot of general relationship advice never covered for us. The advice from an entrepreneur will always be different to that from a counsellor.
It isn’t about competition, or keeping score. It isn’t about who suffers more it’s about sharing the burden. I sacrifice taking on financial burdens, stress, missing out, having to support my family. She sacrificed a career, getting to socialise, had to go through hard times alone, her body health and emotions, the list goes on.
But as a result out future will be phenomenal and we are ever-more reaping the benefits of those early seeds. In fact its been a long decade of uphill growth together before things are really truly starting to come around.
It’s also apparent that the relationship advice often given by friends and family, therapists and professionals – often can’t be treated as gospel. Entrepreneurship is often about endurance and sacrifice and it’s often something that is overlooked.
So whilst I try to be great, mostly for them; I can truly say with pride that the woman by my side is even greater. She’s strong, she’s appreciated and without her none of this would look the same.
Whichever side of the partnership you sit on – never undersell your appreciation for your partner or understanding for their part in the journey – Together you will go much further.