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The Voice of Reason

In order to be successful, you need to not only have a great idea, but follow through with it.

Most of the time, the first part is easy: everyone has a passion, and most of us have at least a vague idea of what we might possibly, someday, be able to do with ours. It’s the second part that’s tricky.

As much as we’d all sometimes like to live in a vacuum, we don’t. And often it’s natural that the follow-through can be helped or hindered by the people around us. Whether it’s starting a new job, starting a business, or simply changing focus, our nearest and dearest will surely express their feelings about it.

When I left my recruiting job to start my own recruiting business, my husband at the time, was shall we say, less than enthusiastic. It took six months for me to get his buy-in, those six months were hard on both of us. I know many of you can relate to this situation. I shared my business plan with him which helped a lot.  Then when the numbers came in at the end of that first year did he truly put his weight behind my business. I don’t say this to criticize: his doubts were legitimate. But if I had listened to them over the calling in my heart, I would never be where I am today.

One of the most challenging factors I work with in my coaching practice is the Unsupportive Spouse or Partner.  The significant other in any relationship likes to think they’re the voice of reason—and sometimes they are, but more often, what they’re voicing are their own fears and doubts. “If you start your own business, will you make enough money?” they’ll ask. “Will you still have time for me and the kids?” “Are you sure that’s a smart idea?” “Will anyone really buy that product or service?” These questions, coming from the one who’s supposed to love you ‘till death do you part, can feel like an attack, because they’re mirroring the voice of your inner critic.

Now, I’m no marriage counselor, and I would never presume to offer my clients advice on how to handle their personal relationships, but I will say this: there’s a difference between compromise and control. If your spouse is worried about having enough money to live on, come up with an amount that you need to save before you leave your job. Do you feel comfortable with six months’ salary in your savings? Twelve? Is money a factor at all, or is it about time and attention? Be willing to compromise, and the ride will be a lot smoother. If it’s about control, well… that’s a deeper issue, and might require a different approach.

Rational, objective discussion of your spouses’ fears and concerns can go a long way. Change is a scary proposition, and it often leaves people behind. Sometimes, your partner only needs to be heard, and feel that they’re included in your plans.

As someone I knew once wrote, “When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.” If following your personal and professional passion will make you a happier, more fulfilled individual, it’s truly the best choice for everyone around you. Through compromise, compassion, and understanding, you can often help that “voice of reason” become a voice of support and solidarity.

Finding Support


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