We need to talk about ASS.
That’s right, I said it. Actually, this is an acronym that Adam came up with to force me say a naughty word in front of professionals at workshops. This is how the man amuses himself.
So, what is A.S.S.? It stands for ALONE, STRESSED, AND SCARED. When Adam and I were in the darkest time of our relationship it took a counselor to show us that we were both experiencing the same things, just for different reasons and it was enlightening to realize that we could, in fact, understand each other if we would only look up from ourselves.
At the beginning of the experiment that has grown into Whole Life Entrepreneurship, we conducted several interviews with other business owning families. In these interviews we noticed three commonalities with their experiences and ours. Both the primary business owner and their spouse experienced all of these emotions at some point along their business journey, whether they were business partners in some capacity or one spouse had little to no involvement in the business.
Why is that significant? Because, although these are common emotions for everyone to feel at some point in their lives, the business/entrepreneurship lifestyle magnifies these to the umpteenth degree. That’s what sets us apart. We are a special breed.
We are outliers because we’re not the norm, we’re not traditional. We don’t have safety nets or pension plans. We have all the responsibility and assume all the risk with no backup. We are the brave and the bold, but also exposed and vulnerable. Accountable to none, but responsible for all. This is a very heavy weight.
For a true entrepreneur like Adam there simply is no other way to live. He is no man’s man. He is an independent agent. He is a creator and an activator. But he is also a man on an island of one, Atlas carrying the weight of the world. If you are a business owner it’s all on you.
For the couple who are partners in the business in any capacity, this is a dance of power and partnership. There’s no “changing hats” at the door. There is no compartmentalizing. It consumes EVERYTHING until all the lines blur.
For the spouse on the outside this is blind faith. This is an agreement to a collective sacrifice with little to no say or control. This is trusting and hoping and praying and believing in something you don’t always understand.
Y’all. This is a complicated lifestyle. This is not just something you can show up to from 9-5. These businesses are our creations, our babies, and our livelihood. This is not a test. This is not a game.
For some of you, this all comes very naturally, but don’t for one second think you’re not special, because YOU ARE. You choose this everyday. You are the ones who put it all out there. You strategize, crunch numbers, and plan. You maximize and you maintain. You debate, you produce, and you grind. You hold ‘em and you fold ‘em. You succeed and you fail. Then you do it all over again.
OR you are made to stand back and watch as someone you love does all this while you can do nothing but stand back with your fingers crossed. Your life is the earth and the business is the sun. Everything revolves around it and is dependent on it. And that delicate balance can be polarizing within a relationship.
Over the next few weeks we’ll get more into the emotions we all experience equally, but on different ends of the spectrum. This deep dive will give us some insight into the hearts and minds of our partners and help us remember why this community of like minded people is so important to our success as business owning families. Because, in more ways than one, we are the only ones who can truly GET IT. WE are your people.