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.

Grammar Basics: The Sentence Fragment

Over the last few weeks, we spent a lot of time on sentences. We went over the simple sentence, the compound sentence and, the complex sentence, and finally, the compound-complex sentence. Now it is time to conquer sentence fragments.

Grammar Basics: The Sentence Fragment

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

What is a Sentence Fragment?

As you now know, a sentence is a group of words that are brought together into a complete thought. Additionally, in order to be a complete thought, a sentence must have at least a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb).

A sentence fragment, on the other hand, is a set of words brought together but is not a complete thought. It is usually missing either a subject or predicate.

There are several types of sentence fragments. A dependent clause (subordinate clause), which was discussed when you learned about complex sentences, is a type of sentence fragment. Other types of sentence fragments include, verbal phrases, participle phrases, appositives, and infinitive phrases. For simplicity’s sake, I will save the definition of each type and how they fit into sentences (or become fragments) for future posts.

A Couple of Examples

Sentence: Although took a long time, I finally finished the book.

Sentence: I finally finished the book.

Fragment: Although it took a long time.

Although it took a long time, but I finally finished the book” contains an independent clause and a dependent clause, along with a subject [I] and predicate [finished], making it a complete thought. “I finally finished the book” is an independent clause with a subject and predicate, thus, it is also a complete thought. “Although took a long time” does not contain a subject and predicate (although it does contain a pronoun and verb), nor does it express a complete thought. It is a fragment.

Sentence: A woman at the library checked out 50 books.

Fragment: A woman at the library.

Fragment: Checked out 50 books.

The woman at the library checked out 50 books” is an independent clause, contains a subject [woman] and a predicate [checked out], and expresses a complete thought, making it a sentence. “A woman at the library” is not an independent clause. It contains two nouns but no predicate or any verb at all. Also, it does not express a complete thought, therefore, it is a fragment. “Checked out 50 books” is also a fragment because it does not express a complete thought, nor does it include a main subject or predicate so it is not an independent clause. [“Checked out 50 books” is an example of a verbal phrase.]

The Trick

When in doubt, always look for the subject (main noun) and predicate (main verb). A complete sentence MUST always have at least one of each.

Also, ask yourself, “Does this express a complete thought?”

If a sentence makes sense, and contains a main subject and verb, there is a good chance that it is a sentence and not a fragment.

TO FIX A FRAGMENT: You need to attach the fragment to an independent clause, such as with subordinate clauses, or you need to somehow interject a subject and/or predicate into the phrase, either before or after. Or, you can rewrite the sentence altogether.

Next Steps

For more grammar and writing tips, tricks, and exclusive content sign up for the email list.

For information about my proofreading and coaching services visit the work with me page.

***********

Tweetable: Grammar Basics: The Sentence Fragment

Grammar Basics: The Compound-Complex Sentence

Okay, so far we have gone over the simple sentence, the compound sentence and, the complex sentence. Today we are going to form compound-complex sentences. And guess what, It’s easier than it seems.

Grammar Basics: The Compound-Complex Sentence

mage by Clker-Free-Vector-Images (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

What is a Compound-complex Sentence?

Simply put, the compound-complex sentence is exactly what it sounds like: the combination of a compound sentence and a complex together into one large sentence.

If you want to be more technical, this is the “official” definition according to one of my former professors:

A compound-complex sentence consists of more than one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. In many cases, you are simply adding a dependent clause to the beginning or end of a compound sentence, or you are adding another independent clause to a complex sentence.”

If you remember, a compound sentence is a sentence that contains two or more independent clauses (a.k.a complete sentences). A complex sentence is a sentence that contains one independent clause and one dependent clause (which usually has a subordinating conjunction). Therefore, all to have to do is put them together to make a compound-complex sentence.

A Couple of Examples

Compound Sentence: I can read for an hour, or I can write for an hour.

Compound-complex sentence: Unless I get interrupted, I can read for an hour, or I can write for an hour.

“I can read for an hour” is an independent clause, “I can write for an hour” is an independent clause, and “Unless I get interrupted” is a dependent clause. So, putting the compound sentence with the dependent clause creates the compound-complex sentence.

Complex sentence: Although time is short, I would like to go to the post office.

Compound-complex sentence: Although time is short, I would like to go to the post office, so I can get the letter mailed out today.

“Although time is short” is the dependent clause, “I would like to go to the post office” is an independent clause, and “I can get the letter mailed out today” is an independent clause. So again, by putting together the complex sentence with another independent clause creates the compound-complex sentence.

The Trick

To make understanding and creating compound-complex sentences (or any sentence, for that matter) is to break it down. Separate the independent clauses from the dependent clauses and examine how and where they fit. Do they make sense on their own? Do they make sense together? If you do this, over time, you will discover that your writing will improve drastically.

And, that is why I have spent the last few weeks going over each sentence type. By going back to the basics and understanding the hows and the whys of a sentence your message will be clearer, more powerful, and more effective in the long run.

Next Steps

For more tips, tricks, and exclusive content sign up for the email list.

For information about my proofreading and coaching services visit the work with me page.

***********

Tweetable: Grammar Basics: The Compound-Complex Sentence