As much as we may not want to admit it, finding a balance between work, family and daily commitments can often be an uphill climb. For JR and myself, building a very successful business together has certainly had its ups and downs (more ups of course), but ultimately it means we often have to make a conscious effort to put work aside and focus on our marriage and family. For most of us, life just has a funny way of sneaking up -- we get so busy with our careers and even busier managing multiple commitments, that making time for our relationship always seems last.
Over the years, JR and I have worked incredibly hard to build a successful business -- after all, Market America and SHOP.COM were not born overnight, and most likely the same is true for you. Starting with nothing but a big dream, we worked together to turn that dream into a thriving enterprise. Working together and living together means, well, a lot of time together, and it isn't always easy.
Growing together in business and personal life isn't for the faint of heart, it takes some work, but when you have the love and support you need, you can both find success independently or together. Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can find a work/life balance that will help make your dreams a reality. Grow personally and professionally together with these six tips I have picked up over the years:
1. Always remember that you are a team. Whether you and your spouse work together in business or have independent careers, keep in mind that finding success is not a competition. When you love someone, his or her personal achievements are thrilling for you too -- share in that excitement! Your ability to operate as a team is critical for working together to make day-to-day schedules work, to ultimately enjoy free time as a family.
2. Compromise. Couples don't always get along 100 percent of the time, and that is OK. If you work together as we do, the lines between work and personal life become easily blurred. We are independent thinkers with big ideas, and we don't always see eye-to-eye. The important thing is to remember that our different visions and concepts make us unique individuals, and have contributed to both our personal and business successes. Two heads are always better than one; we often must work together to find the solution that lies in the middle.
3. Push each other. Don't be afraid to help each other set lofty, somewhat dreamy goals. After all, you will never be bigger than your dreams, so dream big! Inevitably, there will be tough times, and you need each other for the nudge and the push required to keep trucking along and chasing your career and life goals, or simply be the one who reaches out when they need a big hug. When you see your spouse growing tired or frustrated, go ahead, be the cheerleader he or she may need to pick back up and find the energy to go after their dreams.
4. Forget perfection. Rolling with the ups and downs, and accepting your spouse through the good and the bad, is simply part of spending a lifetime together. When I am tired, overwhelmed, it's easy to forget the feelings of those closest to me and sometimes even their best intentions don't meet my expectations. Remind yourself: No one is perfect, even on his or her best day.
5. Find time together. Finding time to spend together is obviously easier said than done, but honestly, taking the time to truly connect is essential. Even when JR and I are on the road, busy with events and other work-related meetings, we take five minutes to focus on each other.
6. Find time apart. Maintaining your own individuality, identity and personal relationships is essential for feeling like you are leaving your own footprint on the world. Making time to do the things you love offers a chance for self-reflection, and that's often where the best ideas are born! Don't feel guilty about sneaking off to grab a quick latte or for an after-work pedicure -- everyone needs a few minutes alone, and ultimately the time unplugged will make you a better partner.
Growing your business and personal life together is a challenge that will forever require attention and work, but will also deliver rewarding feelings and memories, while undoubtedly filling your heart with love. Taking the time to nurture each other, both personally and professionally, is crucial in maintaining the team spirit necessary to build a life together. Don't be afraid to believe in yourself, each other and your relationship -- together and with love, nothing can stop you.
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