By Dennis Seid Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) If your significant other is an entrepreneur perhaps you will relate to some of these characteristics. Columnist Dennis Seid shares a few tips on how to navigate life with the one you love.
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
What would being in love with an entrepreneur be like?
I don't know. I can, however, tell you about one side of that equation. If you are married to, committed to or live with an entrepreneur, I believe there is a special place for you in heaven. The life of an entrepreneur is volatile, to say the least. I can only imagine what it is like from the passenger seat.
Entrepreneurial characteristics can make relationships even more difficult. Many entrepreneurs are described as loners.
I have read that most entrepreneurs have about double the inner dialog going on between their ears as most people, which probably adds to the loner trait. ADD and ADHD are common with entrepreneurs. They tend to be head strong and can be thin skinned.
If you add to that list a feast-or-famine income stream -- what could go wrong? If you have hitched your wagon to an entrepreneur and you want to not only survive but thrive on that roller coaster, I have a few insights and suggestions:
--Try not to be offended if an entrepreneur can't verbalize the latest problem or concept. It's like drinking from a firehose -- there is just too much information swimming around in their brain to get it out in coherent sentence. It is also possible they don't have the entire concept worked out yet.
--Don't expect him/her to complete their sentences. Remember there is nonstop chatter going in between his or her ears. Be prepared for spurts of dialog.
--Movement as much as completion. Entrepreneurs are well known for not completing projects. One of the reasons for that dynamic is that entrepreneur's view movement on a project as much as they do actual completion of the project.
--Multitasking- Entrepreneurs keep multiple plates spinning at one time. All I can say is to suggest letting them deal with it and don't try to keep up.
--The unsaid -- most entrepreneurs are deep thinkers and can percolate on issues/problems long before they verbalize it. The safer you make for them to verbalize the more you will know what is rolling around in that brain of his or hers.
At the same time when they do verbalize things, don't confuse out loud thinking with a decision.
--If your entrepreneur is a workaholic, try not beat him/her over the head with it. If your entrepreneur really enjoys what they do, this can be a big issue. I can assure you, they are not doing it to hurt anyone. I am not excusing it, I am just suggesting this dynamic is probably a by-product of other dynamics.
--Never underestimate your influence. It is big, it is complete. You may not realize it, but you have the power to make or break him or her. It is very likely your entrepreneur has a very small circle of people that he or she really listens to -- never forgot you are in that circle.
--Be patient. When possible give him or her time to work through their concept. Most entrepreneurs are working on concepts that have not be done before, so there is no rule book.
--Never tell entrepreneurs what to do. You know that approach has never worked before. Let them come to their own solution. The problem is you have to see them struggle until a resolution is found. Most importantly, learn to ask them questions that will help them come to their own answer
--When things go wrong -- and they will at some point -- remind your entrepreneur you love him or her and that you are hitched. This is the place where you can really make a difference. This is where you can unleash a power in the entrepreneur that can move mountains. The trick is to help your entrepreneur see what went wrong without beating him or her up. And never say, "I told you so."
I hope that helps.
Also, I am currently working on an article for the flip side of this issue which is what the entrepreneur can do to contribute to a marriage and or relationship. So if you are the spouse/partner/significant other to an entrepreneur and you have a suggestion email any suggestions or insights to [email protected]
David Henson is the owner of Sycamore Real Estate. He grew up in a family owned furniture manufacturing business and has been successful in the industry for 40 years. Henson teaches a leadership class at Itawamba Community College focusing on family business dynamics and entrepreneurial leadership.