3 Business Lessons 15 Years of Marriage Taught Me

Technically, I am a little “late” with this post because my husband and I actually celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. However, the lessons are still valid, so I am going to go ahead and share them anyway.

3 Business Lessons 15 Years of Marriage Taught Me

Image by 277974 (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

In reality, I learned many more than 3 lessons (both business and personal) in the last 15 years of marriage but here are the top three business lessons:

1. Manage Expectations

One thing I learned rather quickly in my marriage is that my husband can’t read my mind. 🙂 No one can. So, it has been important for my husband and I to be as clear as possible in regards to what our expectations are in as many scenarios as possible.

Business Translation: When you bring on a new client, team member, contractor/vendor, or anyone else. Be as clear as you can in explaining your expectations for the relationship. Make sure they understand your policies, procedures, how to handle conflict/problems, the importance of deadlines, or anything else that you want them to understand about you and how you run your business. Don’t expect them to “just know” or read your mind. They can’t.

On the flip side, make sure you have a clear understanding of their expectations too. What are their policies, understanding of deadlines, etc.? Make sure you are both on the same page before you start working together.

AND, make sure you revisit your (and their) expectations as things or projects change. You will (and should) have many conversations about expectations during the course of your business relationships.

2. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt

Let’s get real. Misunderstandings are going to happen. Disagreements are going to happen. My husband and I have had (and will continue to have) arguments and/or difficulties. It is part of relationships so matter how well you manage expectations. And, it may be just me (is it?!) but sometimes it is so much easier to jump to conclusions and expect the worst from my husband (or other people). It took a while before I realized this and now, when misunderstandings happen, I can remind myself that my husband isn’t the devil incarnate and give him the benefit of the doubt! LOL

Business Translation: In your business, you are going to have conflict and misunderstandings with clients, team members, vendors and contractors. Know it, accept it, and deal with it. How? First of all, take a few minutes to breathe, calm down, and get yourself under control before confronting the person with the offense or mistake. It IS possible she/he doesn’t even realize that an offense has occurred.

Second, remind yourself that the person probably isn’t trying to sabotage you and your business or committed the offense on purpose. Give the person the benefit of the doubt. (Yes, that does happen, but most of the time – if you are partnered with the right people – they aren’t trying to harm you or your business.)

Third, arrange a time with that person to talk in person or over the phone about the situation. You don’t even have to say what it is about right away. You can say something like, “Hey, I’d like to talk to you about something. When would be a good time to talk?” Email or text isn’t going to cut it here. Too much is missed or taken the wrong when in text form. So, do your best to talk calmly with the person about the situation.

3. Forgive and don’t hold grudges

All spouses hurt each other once in a while and my husband and I are no exception. I have done or said things that hurt my husband and he has done the same to me. I don’t know about other couples, but for us, the first year of marriage was HARD. We learned early on that it is important to forgive each other, as hard as that can sometimes be. No one is perfect, and forgiving and letting go is essential to a healthy relationship. Holding grudges and bringing up past issues in every argument or fight isn’t healthy or good for a marriage.

Business Translation: Your team, your clients, your colleagues, in fact everyone, is going to make mistakes. They may unintentionally (or occasionally, intentionally) hurt you. They are going to do something or say something that you don’t like or that hurt you in some way. So, you are going to have some decisions to make.

I encourage you to start with point number two and give them the benefit of the doubt and talk to them about the problem. Then, forgive them, let it go, and move on with the business relationship. However, if the problem persists or the person is difficult or even unwilling to work on the business relationship, you may have the difficult task of ending the relationship, even if it means loss of income or having to find a new service or vendor. Only you can decide if it is worth trying to rebuild the relationship or not.

If that is the case, and you have to end the working relationship, it doesn’t relieve you of the duty to forgive and not hold grudges. We don’t forgive other people for their sake but for our own. It is unhealthy to hold on to the past, especially to situations that have hurt us. If you need to, talk to someone who can help you work through it. Even the best business and life coaches need coaches! So, hire your own coach, get rid of those blocks that are holding you back, and allow yourself to let go. It can only make everything better for you and your business!

Hey, now it is your turn! What the biggest lesson you have learned so far in your marriage or life? Do share in the comments.

Why Motivation Doesn’t Work (and What to do Instead)

(I have to cancel this Facebook live due to unforeseen circumstances. I will try to reschedule so look for a post. Otherwise, I will be live next Thursday at the usual time – 1pm EST)

Don’t get me wrong, motivation is great. There is nothing wrong with it. Motivation is inspirational and can lift a person up. I have done “Motivational Mondays” in the past and reading and posting motivational quotes and talks.

The problem I have is that motivational quotes or talks don’t really work for many people and here’s the main reason why:

Why Motivation Doesn't Work

Image by composita (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

 It Only Motivates Motivated People

It is pretty rare that someone who isn’t motivated to do something, no matter what it is, to be motivated by something they read or hear. I’m not saying it never happens. There are people who read or hear something, has an ah-ha moment, and it motivates them to make a change or do something.

However, for the most part, if a person isn’t motivated, and she/he reads/hears something motivational, the reaction is usually, “that’s nice,” and she/he keeps going as she/he is.

There are other reasons, and I will be talking about 3 of them during tomorrow’s Facebook Live, so you will have to join me to hear them. 🙂 (How’s that for being cheeky?!)

What Should You Do Instead?

Get a result. Success builds on success. There is a reason why most, if not all, diet programs scream out: “Lose Weight Fast!” Or, lose, “5 pounds in 5 days!”

Do the same for yourself. Set yourself up for a small success, build confidence in yourself, and then go for the next win, and then the next.

I will use myself as an example: I have been wanting to do videos for a LONG time but have been putting it off. Then live video came on the scene and I freaked out a bit. But, I am determined to get over my fear. So I did my first FB Live. It wasn’t perfect, but I got through it. Then I did another one (which was worst than the first), then another. I have a long way to go but as I build my confidence, I am motivated to keep going. It wasn’t a quote or a “go get them” that motivated me to get moving, or to keep moving; it is the success building on success that is keeping me motivated!

Let it be the same for you. 🙂

And guess what, surprise, surprise!, I will be expounding on this more, as well as offering a couple other suggestions that work better than motivation during my Facebook Live tomorrow (Thursday). So, make sure you like my page and be there at 1 pm EST. 🙂

P.S. When you are ready, here are four ways I can support you in your business:

1.  Snag a copy of the free report, “5 Ways a Virtual Administrative Support Specialist can Impact Your Business and Increase Your Profits.“

In this report you will discover just how much freedom and success you can have in your business if you stop doing everything alone.

2. “Like” my Facebook page.

It is the place to be to get free weekly training, support, and encouragement in growing and automating your business.

3. Sign up for a Business Audit Mini-VIP Session.

During this session, you will discover the gaps and holes in your business processes, where in  your business you can delegate and automate, and get a strategy to help you make more money, take better care of your clients, and create a better work/life balance.

4. Work with me and my team privately.

I have several packages and programs to help you run a successful, profitable, and enjoyable business. I can help you see the big picture of your business and then create a strategy to move your business forward. Then, I can help you implement that strategy. Take a moment to learn more and get on my calendar today.

What to do When Writing Falls by the Wayside

I haven’t written much in a while, not just a blog post here, but any writing at all. It feels like forever. I didn’t intend not to write but “life” got in the way. I was in the hospital, my husband was in the hospital, then all three of us got colds. We have been traveling a lot, and I have been chauffeuring my son to all sorts of activities.

What to do when writing goes by the wayside

When I look at all the reasons I haven’t done any writing they look like just excuses. I suppose that’s what they are. I have so much that I want (have) to do that I can get paralyzed and not get anything done. Has that ever happened to you? If so, you are not alone.

Here is what I am doing to get over the writing slump:

Own it

For me, the first step is acknowledging those reasons and/or excuses that have kept me from writing, head on. You can’t change the past so there is no use dwelling on it. However, it is good to take a look at which reasons are valid and which ones are just excuses and go deeper into the why.

Is it fear holding me back? Maybe. Probably. Fear of what? Sometimes people self-sabotage because they have fears they don’t want to admit. Writing is such a personal and vulnerable thing, especially when it is published. There is fear of rejection. Fear that no one will like your writing. Fear that it won’t sell and so on.

In my case, it was mostly health issues that prevented me from writing. It is also because I have a strong sense of overwhelm. I have so many things I want to write, nonfiction and fiction, that I don’t know where to begin!

Give Yourself Grace

Like I said before, you can’t change the past. There is no use beating yourself up for not reaching your writing goals or not taking the time to write at all. Welcome to the human race. No one is perfect and that’s okay. It is more than okay. Being human, in all its imperfections is awesome. 🙂

So, give yourself grace. Throw all those self-defeating lies out the window and forget about what was. Now it is time to focus on what is.

Start again, slowly.

If you want to get back to writing, do it. Take out your calendar and pick a day and time to write. Make it a nonnegotiable appointment and keep it. BUT, keep it small – 10 or 15 minutes tops. Begin making these appointments a regular thing and then increase the length as you are able.

It doesn’t have to be every day. Once a week is great. Every other week works too. Make a plan that you can work with and that won’t overwhelm you.

Or, pick a small project to start with. Write a 1000 word flash fiction piece or (as in my case) write a blog post. I am also getting into the swing of writing by putting together a couple of coaching packages that I have been meaning to get posted.

Create a ritual

Rituals or habits are a great way to center yourself and get into the mood for writing. For me, writing is best done after I have completed my morning routine, checked my email, and have a bottle of water (or cup of tea) at my side. Most of the time I can do this before the rest of the family is up. If not, I have a back up!

My second best writing time is in the afternoon after lunch is done and my son is occupied. It isn’t always my best writing because I am a definite morning person, but it is writing nevertheless. 🙂

Your turn!

What do you do when I have taken a writing hiatus (on purpose or otherwise)? How do you get back on track? Please share!

Next Steps

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