Investment firm owners have many hats to wear. A few of these are worn daily and include quick pivots from Owner to Advisor to Operations Manager to IT to Sales. What about your hat? For fun, take this survey
Results from the poll will be published next week.
Today’s post dissects a rarely acknowledged or discussed hat: the Spouse/Significant Other hat. Our success as a human being is greatly dependent upon our acknowledgment of this hat—and the other hats/relationships we forget or take for granted.
A Few Common Questions the Spouse Hat Needs to Address
When will we quit running a “non-profit”?
This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult questions to engage. Much of the anxiety owners feel when wearing the Spouse hat is that we feel we doing an inadequate job and may be short-changing our family. While metrics like 10/3/1 (10 contacts will yield 3 buying conversations will yield 1 new client) are a helpful guideline for measuring activity, they fail to tell the whole story.
Business owners need to remember that spouses and significant others feel frustration because they may have a completely different perspective. They are accustomed to every hour on a job yielding a predictable dollar amount—at least until a layoff! The notion of working when one is hanging out in coffee shops working for “free” is incomprehensible for most salaried folks. The owner needs to don the Spouse hat and work at cross-cultural communication.
Additionally, for the spouse who’s working the “straight job”, there can emerge a sense of resentment of having to be the “sugar momma” until the business takes off. Just as saying thank you goes a long way for employees, a thank you goes a long way for a spouse.
When will we have more time?
Most business owners I know believe spending more time and working harder will result in generating more revenue. Until the owner creates both a business and, more importantly, a mindset to get off the treadmill, she likely won’t. The adrenaline rush of hard work makes time spent addictive.
For the entrepreneur without solid boundaries or a solid sense of purpose beyond making money, there are few reasons not to work longer hours. Once the owner has clarity about his “big why”, it’s easier to set boundaries.
When wearing the Spouse hat, it’s important to set, communicate and honor those boundaries for the sake of the spouse.
How do you know this new program (e.g. 3to5clubs) or plan is going to work?
None of us have the benefit of knowing in advance if a program is going to “work” in our case. Some programs are so prescriptive that there’s little room for personality and creativity. Others are so loose that it’s difficult to know if you’re actually making progress.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to assess the viability of a program:
> What experience have others had in the program?
> Does this program help owners respond to adversity with resiliency?
> How does this program handle the vagaries of business environment?
When I put on the Spouse hat, what should I do first?
It’s important to set some ground rules for any productive conversation. (For example, before we began a conversation the other morning, my wife had just one rule for me: “Please just listen and don’t do problem-solving.”). Here a few suggestions to consider:
- When situations over-heat, each person is responsible for calling a time-out when needed. If you agree to take a time out, reschedule another time to finish the conversation.
- Pick a time when you are both well-fed and well rested. My family favorite: no serious conversations or decision-making after 9 p.m.
- Pick a time when you can have a conversation without interruption—silence kids and cell phones.
Consider which family member or significant other is negatively impacted by your business. Calendar a day, time, and place to don your “Spouse” hat.