Blow-up. Barney. Brawl.
Call it what you like. They happen.
And when you’re a couple who is living, loving, raising kids and running a business together, they’re inevitable.
And actually, they’re necessary.
Have you ever worked for someone, or employed someone, who doesn’t have fire in their belly when they don’t get their own way?
You know that person cares. They care about where you are going and how you are going to get there.
These kinds of reactions are pertinent to the growth of business.
In the same thread, stay in the passion too long and you will get stuck.
Ed and I get into barneys. I call them our ‘Moments of Dynamic Tension’. One happened just this week.
We are passionate people with strong opinions. Our children reflect that.
When we sat down for our weekly Directors’ Meeting, things quickly turned pear-shaped.
The meeting started out beautifully.
We’d chosen a warm spot in the sun, we had our weekly financial reports, our business projects and individual weekly focus list open and ready to go.
I was sipping a turmeric latte. Ed was enjoying a peppermint tea.
Then something happened. To be honest, the exact line that got us to that ‘something’ escapes me.
But, it was tiny.
It had something to do with the way I’d scheduled an appointment.
The detail is irrelevant to this story, though. Isn’t it? Because you know what I’m talking about. Right?
You know those things that blindside you, then derail you.
This one did just that.
We went into fighting. I was pushing for an emotional resolution. Ed was resisting. It got nasty.
He threatened to leave the meeting.
I said, “Cool, do that. I’ll continue with my meeting and catch an uber.”
Then, as quickly as it started … We called time out.
We did what we do to our kids. One of us ‘went to our bed, touched it and came back when we were ready to be a loving member of the family’.
OK, so we were out in public… touching the bed wasn’t possible but it was the adult version of this.
Ed grabbed his cup of tea, left the table and went for a short walk. He breathed and recouped and then, when he was ready to come back, he did.
We didn’t go back into the argument. We just looked at each other and asked the question: “Are we good to go?”
We knew that we would need to come back to the issue that sparked things that morning.
We also recognised that seeing the meeting through was more important than actually arguing about an issue that was, in hindsight, pretty insignificant.
I played netball pretty seriously for 20 years of my life.
Like any sport, there is a bunch of skill needed to play. During the years I played for Queensland I got up early, trained every day and travelled to Brisbane from the Gold Coast three times a week.
As I get older, the recognition of the skill versus head game ratio becomes more apparent.
If something went wrong on the court during a game, there was always the option for me to get involved with the emotion of beating myself up for missing that intercept or throwing a bad pass.
I could have got sucked into the anger at an opponent who was continually elbowing me in the stomach or an umpire who clearly had a different visual ruler in their mind than I did.
And sometimes I did.
But I soon realised there was one BIG difference between winners and losers — and it wasn’t skill.
They know that choosing an emotional response doesn’t get them anywhere.
They know that there is time for that at a later date.
The real issue is not a mind game, but a physical game. They can beat themselves up later. The important things is that they keep going.
Choosing to go into business with your lover — be that your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancee — means you’re also choosing to challenge yourself like you never have before.
Emotions will be stretched.
You’ll have to step up.
You’ll have to leave things at the door.
Because if you don’t, not only will your game (your business ) suffer, but so will your marriage and your kids.
And really, is that petty conversation about someone not sending a calendar invite really worth the snowball effect
It’s the only way that you and your business will win in this environment.
Your ability to grow your business relies on your ability to Let Go.
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Rebecca is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Institute for Couples in Business. Bec is also trusty wife to husband and business partner Ed, and mum to Samuel, 4, and Charles, 2. For the past seven years Bec has been working with business owners, and her Super Powers include making complex problems simple, creating strong connections, and motivating teams by building kick-arse culture. Bec is also author of #1 best-seller Lead-The-Ship and hosts popular podcast Boardrooms & Bedrooms.