“What if my life partner doesn't support what I'm doing?”
I have been spending a lot of time learning the skills needed for my new online entrepreneurial adventures. Courses, memberships, content creation, marketing… the list goes on. Many of us are new entrepreneurs or like myself are making a massive shift. It's scary.
So what do you do when your spouse doesn't really understand it all… or worse, they don't seem supportive?
Friends, please take a half hour or so and listen to our friend James Wedmore‘s podcast on this topic.
Once you've listened… read on!
(This content was originally posted in Stu McLaren's TRIBE community, which I am part of)
Don't Confuse A Lack of Support for Them Not Being Supportive of YOU
This is a big one for me. I heard it a lot last year, especially when spouses weren't seeing results and people started booking travel to TRIBE Live, the yearly conference for Membership Professionals (that by the way, I recommend attending if you can). Spouses were concerned about the cost of travel, etc when the business wasn't making anything. This was causing a rift with their partners, some driven to tears over it.
When I dug in with a few of these folks what I found was that a spouse may just not get it. James talks about how his dad doesn't get internet marketing (or the internet for that matter) so he was always sending job ideas his way. That was his way of being supportive. Dig in and you'll hear similar stories from Pat Flynn and a host of others as well.
James also talks about how men tend to handle this differently than women – we have a provider nature (typically, not always) so at times when you are wanting to provide and we can't see results… it becomes difficult for us to know how to show support.
I'll add to this that spouses express support in different ways. My wife works with leather and she's amazing. I try to encourage her to sell her work… but her artistic interpretation somehow at times becomes “DJ thinks my work is not good.” Why? Because the way I responded didn't give her confidence. Whether it be a tone of voice, words, whatever- sometimes we misinterpret our spouse. So, I'd just simply suggest you get validation of your perception of a lack of support by re-framing the question…. or asking the question in the first place.
I find a lot of couples have a communication problem that can be perceived the wrong way – especially that they just don't love you. They may love you more than you realize.
In other words- they are supportive of YOU as a person, but they may not yet support what you are doing. There is a huge difference!
Don't interpret your spouse not supporting your Entrepreneurial Journey for them not being supportive of you as a person. Help them Understand first. Click To Tweet
What To Do To Make Your Spouse Supportive
Embrace a Healthy Rebellion
James said something super important in the podcast: that we shouldn't be looking for approval from others to be successful. If it is approval based, we'll fail. Specifically, he said this:
“The opinions of others should have no bearing on your results.” – James Wedmore
Sometimes what really is needed to feel that validation is that you are convincing others of your business adding value. And *sometimes* you need to do that in order to feel that support.
James talks about being driven by knowing others are against you. I can both relate to and have anxiety by that. Because I'm tackling a niche I know so many others within personally; when I get their rejection it hits a LOT harder.
I would hate to see you have your business cause a wedge between people because you rebel – but at some point, you have to remember that people that never get offended never change. You need to embrace the discomfort and let that inform your actions. You need to rebel against your nature that is telling you to hold back and is embracing voices that tell you you are on the wrong track. Those voices are easy to listen to. Especially at home.
Just please don't use your business as a rebellion against your support system. If you start a business as a way to ‘survive your marriage' or to justify a divorce – you are working on the wrong problem.
Rebel against your negativity, not those there to support you.
Learn to Inspire Belief
What someone's apparent lack of belief in you is more often than not just that they are reflecting back to you the same lack of confidence you have demonstrated to them.
People aren't psychic. You hear your voice in your head all the time. They don't hear the background or see all the work you're doing. Don't expect that they will magically understand your vision. You have to sell them on it.
Just remember who your audience really is and that it pretty rarely is your own family. If they aren't your avatar, you need to educate them on who you are serving BEFORE YOU SELL THEM THE SOLUTION.
Learn to Inspire Patience
This is one I'll add in based on personal experience and what I'm learning still.
People that are working traditional jobs are used to seeing their time equate to immediate and finite results. If they understood what being an Entrepreneur looked like, you probably wouldn't have read this far.
If you're worried, they're worried.
If you're worried, they're worried. 1st learn to inspire belief if you want your significant other to support your #entrepreneur journey. Click To Tweet
This stuff takes time for most of us. I've found the journey hard and if I bring my wife into that frustration, she will usually ask the question “why don't you just quit and do something else that makes you happy?”
FAKE YOUR HAPPY
Don't lie to your significant other. But at the same time when it comes to your business, they truly aren't always the best outlet for your frustrations. There is an element of fake it to make it here. Force yourself to not complain, and project the bright side even with struggles. A lack of signups becomes a great learning opportunity that is cheaper than an MBA, for example.
This is probably where I struggle the most with my wife. I tend to be overly honest and it causes her to worry. The path often leads to her getting upset with me. She can't fix the problem I've left her with. What other course does she have?
EDUCATE INSTEAD OF INUNDATE
Look, we like talking about this stuff. But your partner doesn't need to know EVERYTHING about how it works. A good education is adaptive and teaches what they need to know with confidence.
I tried to have my wife watch TRIBE with me or attend Live… yeah, no. She doesn't want to be an entrepreneur at all. This is confusing and scary for her because (back to communication) I took her “how can I help you” to mean she wanted to learn more about how to help me run my business.
Instead, I now teach her aspects of what to expect, which is my final point…
WALK THEM THRU THE REALITY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
If you came into online entrepreneurship thinking that at the end of 90 days you'd go from no audience to making six figures… it's not that it's impossible… It just isn't likely. This stuff takes time to build.
What the world sees without being inside the process is get rich quick schemes and, as I said earlier – they see things through the ‘time for dollars' lens and can't see beyond that.
So walk them through the process of what to expect.
“Baby, I'm going to be a bit of a ghost around here for the next week because I'm launching my membership. I'll need you to look after the kids at (insert times).”
“Oooookay… and after this I can quit my job, right?”
“Well, not right away. These things take time to build. I will probably need to do about 5 or 6 of these before we can have that conversation. Remember how it took 4 years for you to get that promotion? This takes time too. I would also expect I may be a little emotional after the week is done. I'd love to see those kinds of results like my friends have had but in reality, I'll probably only have like 10 people sign up this first time.”
I'm not doing a great job of presenting the conversation, but hopefully, you get the point. Be proactive with it and let them know you're in control.
Otherwise, be prepared for questions and requests for you to just get a real job 😉
I hope this has been helpful. If so, please do share it!
- Dan and Joanne Miller recorded a great conversation about when you want to join a supportive entrepreneurial community but your spouse isn't on board. I really think you should give it a listen – but you NEED TO BE WITH A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY. Don't go it alone! You can watch this video *and* join me in the 48 Days Eagles community! (Affiliate disclosure: I am a paying member of the 48 Days Eagles community and this is an affiliate link that gives you a 5 minute free video with no obligation. When you sign up, I am granted a commission but your price is the same whether you sign up with my link or not. Frankly, I'd love to see you in there whether you use the link to support me or not!)
- My friend Matt and I recorded a podcast episode which is also helpful! Matt talks about how he and his wife will realize their personality quirks and give each other grace while encouraging each other to mix it up!