1. Make sure you both share the same goals. You don’t need to do the exact same things, you just need a common direction. For Nancy and me, this means a lovely home and yacht that we can share with others, a business we can work on together, financial freedom, healthy minds and healthy bodies.
2. Share the same work space. Our office space is an area of our home that has been designated as such. Once we leave that space, however, we immediately step out of our business partnership and into our marriage. Since Nancy and I work together every day, all day long, we’ve had to create boundaries that would clearly separate work from family time.
3. Whatever stress, drama or workload you experience at work should stay there. If something needs attention after work hours, agree ahead of time on when to attend to it. Finding the right balance between work and family can be very difficult unless you negotiate the boundaries in advance. For example, once I’d tucked our son Adrian in for the night, I used to go back to work, but only after I had Nancy’s agreement to do so.
4. Create family rituals. Since Adrian was a baby, I’ve tucked him in every night with the same two questions: “Who’s the best boy in the whole wide world?” and “What are you grateful for today?” Hearing him run through his gratitude list reminded me of why we do what we do. Being 13 now, Adrian doesn’t want to be tucked in anymore, so I found a new ritual: he loves the way I make hot chocolate with extra froth.
5. Understand each other’s emotional currency. Tony Robbins says that everyone has different emotional needs. For example, I value significance, while Nancy desires love. When she lets me know she is proud of me, it’s like rocket fuel for my soul. On the other hand, a simple hug in the middle of a hectic day does it for her.
6. Intimacy is a must. Every single morning, for the past seventeen years, I take five minutes to rub Nancy’s back. This one little ritual lets her know I’m tuned in to her needs, and that I still value her the same way I did seventeen years ago. Couples who create these kinds of intimate rituals grow together instead of apart.
As our business continues to grow, we’ve noticed that the same core values from our personal relationship have seeped into our business relationships. Now our entire team shares in those values, and we use similar partnership principles in our team-building seminars. For example, before committing to working with new business partners, we find out exactly what their emotional currency is.
I wish I could say there is a secret formula to creating successful partnerships in business and in love. The truth is, this kind of partnership is a gift. If you are blessed with such a relationship, make it a point to regularly renew your deep commitment to supporting each other in your purpose and passion. Fuel your partnership by nurturing a safe environment for personal growth and everything else will grow from there.
PAUL TOBEY and NANCY HOULE are founders of
Training Business Pros, a company that has helped
entrepreneurs with Internet marketing, sales
skills, presentation techniques and personal development.