When Your Marriage Flows, Your Business Grows
-By Starr Sheppard-Decker
“The world will be saved by the western woman.” -Dali Lama
And women are doing that in so many ways! One of those ways is through business. Every day women are deciding to be their own bosses, and take their lives into their own hands. We have an inner calling to help humanity, and we also have a desire to have more financial freedom, time for what and who we love, and the experience of giving the best of ourselves for the greater good.
It can be so satisfying running our business knowing we're making a difference in the planet, the lives of our clients, and our families. And yet it can also be so draining to try and do it all – be the best mom, wife, and business owner, all while trying to make sure we end up somewhere on our list. Each one of these jobs is a big commitment, and we happily pile them all on, following that inner call that tells us “you can do it!.”
But what happens when your marriage isn't going so well? What if you've been fighting more lately, or he doesn't understand what an investment being an entrepreneur is or you're still having to do all the housework and childcare on top of your business? What if, on the outside, your marriage looks ok, but behind closed doors the fairy tale ends. At a certain point in my own marriage a few years ago, I'll admit… I was wondering if I could make it work. Even more so, I asked myself: Will this marriage support the life I want to create, or will it be the thing that is keeping me from it? After being together over 10 years, the love was still there, but the patterns were old and tired and no longer supporting us. We got stuck, and didn't know what to do.
Sadly, yet not surprisingly, as the months went by and the issues remained unresolved, I began seeing a decline in my business, and my client base practically dried up completely. Looking back, a lot of this was because I couldn't focus – I'd sit down to do my work and instead replay the argument I had with my husband the night before, hoping to discover a place I could have done something differently. There was also the energetic shut-down; as I was shutting myself off from my husband, I was also shutting myself off from the abundant flow of the Universe, and it always gives us more of what we're focused on… it always says, “Yes.”
Thankfully, with the help of a coach, I was able to come to the decision to accept the marriage as it was. I chose to stay, and began doing the hard-yet-rewarding work of looking at myself and shifting my own patterns of thinking and behavior. Both the decision to stay and the inner work I did afterward changed everything. We rewrote our agreements, and reestablished our closeness from a less codependent place. See, my first marriage ended nearly 15 years ago, and I'm really glad it did. It wasn't a healthy or sustainable relationship. This marriage came close, and I am so glad I decided to stay and make it work. There is so much love here, and I'm glad I didn't throw it away. And now my marriage fuels my success as an entrepreneur, while also feeding my heart.
Years later, it is easy for me to see the connection between the flow in my marriage and the growth of my business, which is why I'm so passionate about supporting other Mompreneurs who may be struggling to make their marriage – and therefore their business – work. Today, I'll give you a few tips on how to start shifting the struggles you may be having in your relationship. And even if you already have a marriage that satisfies, you may find even more healthy closeness by putting these to practice.
Give Yourself Credit.
Earlier this week a friend and fellow business owner was telling me about some challenges with her husband about their financial discussions. It seems she does all the budgeting, but he has come to complain about the money available to be spent. It really hurt her feelings that he wasn't taking into consideration all the work she did every month to make sure the bills were paid and food was on the table. I said to her, “Let me ask you this: Do you give yourself credit for all the hard work you put into your budget?”
Can you guess what her answer was?
Too many of us look to others as our source. Our source for love, validation, approval, support – you name it, the list is endless. While we are hard-wired for community, this constant looking outside of ourselves for our value isn't sustainable. In fact, it is totally out of our control, for if who we look to doesn't give it, we go without. And it seems to always be someone else's fault.
Even worse, if we're not giving to ourselves what we desire (love, appreciation, credit for hard work, etc), we will subconsciously reject it from others. That's right – we won't even have anywhere to put it! So here we are lamenting at how unloved we are, meanwhile others could be attempting to shower us with love and we'll miss it. It won't even be in our radar. That is how freaking powerful we are!
Your Source is Within You. This doesn't mean you have to do this alone – quite the contrary! When you treat yourself with love, appreciation, and value, you actually teach others to do the same, while simultaneously sending a message to the Universe about what you'd like more of. All while making a space within you to receive from you first, and then the world. Go ahead, appreciate yourself! You're a total badass who does more than anyone will ever see; love how awesome and generous you are.
Tell the Truth
Recently something came up with a close friend that was tough to deal with. After nearly a year of working on a project together, it came to light that she actually wasn't interested in participating, and had kept that information to herself. The reason she gave? She didn't want to “hurt my feelings.” What was a challenge to communicate to her was that not telling me the truth for nearly a year hurt way more than her desire to pull away from the project. And, as she shared, it even took her a while to uncover the truth within herself – she admitted to trying to “make it work” by saying yes in hopes she would feel better about it over time. So, her dishonesty with herself ended up being dishonesty with me, which ended up negatively effecting my life. All because she feared the truth would hurt.
Here's the thing – the truth does hurt sometimes. It hurts because we have to deal with the difference between what we thought and what is. It hurts because we often have blind spots about our own challenges or patters of behavior and it can be painful to tear them down or see past them. It hurts because we want what we want and we don't like to be disappointed.
But you know what's worse? Having the truth withheld from us – either by ourselves or by another. Truth withheld contains within it a story that says “you're not enough to handle this.” Is that the story you want to believe about you? Or your loved ones? Or your clients? How disempowering to affirm the lack in ourselves or others. And how sad to find out later that this is the story being told about us– either by our subconscious, or by those around us.
On the other hand, what story are you affirming by telling the truth, especially truth that is hard to accept? That story says that we are competent, and capable of what life has to offer. It says that even when life gets tough, we have the ability to do something positive about it. This story tells of a powerful woman who can make things happen in her world no matter what life throws at her.
Which story would you rather be told about you?
Telling the truth is a powerful act, whether you're having to be really honest with yourself:
“Is this what I really want?”
Or someone else:
“This is what I really want.”
You empower others and yourself when you tell the truth, especially when it is a truth that is hard to say. And the more honest you can be with yourself, the more honesty you can bring to your marriage, your children, your clients, and your world. Especially in your marriage, honesty brings closeness and intimacy, where covering up out of fear of hurting others actually creates distance and confusion. Imagine with me... a world where honesty as a value was held higher than trying to “make” people happy. How glorious it would be. Help create that world by starting with you!
Always Be Kind
This tip is a short-but-sweet one, and oh-so-important. See, kindness is a gateway to understanding and connection, as well as a great go-to for when you're not sure what to do. Being kind is different than being nice, though – being nice has more to do with honoring the other person, while being kind is about honoring everyone starting with yourself. (I know, does it always have to start there?! Yes, yes it does…)
We must always begin kindness with how you treat yourself, especially how you talk to yourself in your head. You know, that inner chatter. So, when you make a mistake, what are the first thoughts you think and say about yourself? Is it more like:
“Dammit, I can't believe I did that AGAIN! I'm such an idiot!”
“Aw, bless my heart, I wonder why I keep doing that to myself.”?
My guess is most of us, without even questioning ourselves, go to the first approach. My tip to you, though, is that the more kindness and curiosity you can bring to your inner conversation, the more you'll be able to bring that kindness into conversations with every person you come into contact with. Most importantly, when you're kind with yourself, you'll be more kind to your husband. When we are treated with kindness, we soften, and are more likely to bring our open hearts. In contrast, when kindness is lacking, we subconsciously defend, attempting to protect ourselves from possible harm. Kindness has the potential to clear communication lines that have been shut down by years of harsh words and hurt feelings.
Struggling with how to bring kindness? Try picturing whoever is struggling – whether it is you, your husband, or anyone else – as a 3 or 4 year old. How would you treat them if they came to you with this issue? My guess is that most of us would bring out our kind, nurturing heart, and do our best to make space for what that little child was feeling. Now see how much of that kindness you can bring to the adults in your life on a moment-to-moment basis. I promise that the more kindness you bring to your world, the more you'll see it reflected back to you. And you are totally worth having a life like that!
Relationships are not easy, yet we need them both to survive and to be satisfied. When you can Give Yourself Credit, Tell the Truth, and Always Be Kind, you bring the best of yourself to all your relationships, which lift you – and those around you - up. Plus, as a Mompreneur, you'll be more effective, have an easier time, and get greater results with less effort. You can start making some small shifts today to see some big changes tomorrow.
As always, this inner work isn't easy. I mean… isn't it someone else's fault?! If you find yourself getting these ideas in theory, yet not quite sure how to put them into practice, it might be time for some outside perspective. I've been actively and professionally guiding people through building and maintaining healthy relationships for over seven years, and have helped dozens of women feel more comfortable in their own skin. If you're ready to take some next steps toward a healthier relationship that supports your thriving business, schedule a complementary Get Heard Strategy Session with Starr (me) today. It would be my honor to support you.
And no matter what you do next, I encourage you to keep seeing yourself as the incredible change-maker superwoman you are! The world is brighter with you in it. Keep shining.