Business isn’t just business. It’s a self-improvement obstacle course. Friends and family don’t empathize with how tired, hungry or overwhelmed you may feel on some days after you’ve spent all day selling to and serving customers. All they know is they want their wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend, mother or father, sister or brother, BFF or football buddy to be fired up and ready for quality time.
Sometimes it’s enough to make you want to scream into a pillow. The irony of being a successful entrepreneur is you’ll have to put as much work into your relationships as you put into your business. You will have to improve your patience, leadership and communications skills to manage these situations with loved ones or risk alienating those you care for the most. It seems like too much for one person to handle but if you are committed to personal and professional success, you will learn to expand your emotional capacity to deal with drama. Business has a way of preparing you for that.
In my experience, if business is going well but you’re working such long hours that you never spend time with loved ones, or simply can’t muster the emotional connection they are seeking from you, then the guilt trip they put on you is quite draining and
uncomfortable and makes you want to spend even less time with them or makes you want to avoid them all together. It’s a vicious cycle. Ideally, they would be understanding, self-aware and try to see things from your perspective as a determined and hard working entrepreneur but for the most part they will not come to these conclusions on their own.
You have to talk through every problem as it arises. I know that makes you want to roll your eyes but if you don’t address these issues head on they do not go away. Relationships can end badly if you don’t make them as much of a priority as your company. You also must have a heightened sense of awareness because some of the people around you won’t say anything. Seemingly out of nowhere one day they’ll hit you with a load of bricks by saying something like, “All you care about is money. You’re obsessed with your business.” It will take the patience of Job to not verbally retaliate in that instant. I hope you never face these issues but chances are you will. Try to head them off by creating understanding in advance.