Even the most loving couples can experience power struggles from time to time. Life partners trigger each other’s issues, many of which stem from unresolved childhood wounds. When we add the extra stressors of running a business together, this is inevitable. Can you relate?
Yes, conflict is inevitable, yet that isn’t necessarily a negative when you have the tools to navigate and grow from the experience. In my perspective as a psychologist, couples counselor, and relationship coach for almost 25 years, moving through conflict successfully can strengthen the bonds of love and commitment. Isn’t that what couples want—to grow and deepen their relationship?
In the last year, I have worked with a number of network marketing “power couples” as well as become personally involved in a company myself. This has given me even more perspective into how to support couples in this profession. Here are three insights or lessons that will help increase your business and love.
I’m sure you’ve heard the question, “Would you rather be right or be rich?” A trend I’ve noticed in network marketing is that many of the six- and seven-figure businesses have been created by women, sometimes with initial support from their significant others—and sometimes without. Once the business takes off, the partner or spouse gets involved and begins to “know” better than the person who built the business. (This often happens in “traditional” couples where the man has been the primary breadwinner for the majority of the relationship.) When egos start competing, we see bickering, sniping, passive aggressive behavior, and posturing. If this happens to you, pause! Put your partnership and relationship first. Use the systems that have worked to create the success and don’t mess with it simply for a little ego gratification.
We aren’t “at war” with our partners. Yes, conflict will activate our fight-or-flight reflex, yet there is no real danger here. Our response has to do with how we internalize our parents/caregivers into our psyches and play out our mother/father issues in our personal relationships as well as with our team—something we don’t have time to get into in this short article.
For now, when in conflict, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. This will reset your neural network and neutralize your fight-or-flight response. Remind yourself that you love your partner, you are a team, you have each other’s backs—and act from that loving space.
When we experience conflict with our loved ones, we have three options in how to respond. Under pressure, we may choose to turn away from our partners. While this may feel protective to us, it has the potential to trigger our loved one’s abandonment issues. This happens at an unconscious level, which is why doing our own personal work is so critical.
We may also choose to respond by turning against our partner. After all, the best defense is a good offense, isn’t it? This creates the situation of saying or doing things we will later regret. The truth is there is nothing to defend. Sharing the same goals, we are on the same side.
Which brings us to the third and healthier option for creating connection: we can choose to turn toward our partner—to dialogue, clear the air, and choose love and connection. Isn’t this what we are seeking in the first place? Isn’t the point of creating a business together to create a better life together?
How we respond to our partner is also how we will most likely respond to conflict within our team. Can you see how this might happen, or how it has happened to you in the past?
Bottom line: respond, don’t react. Take responsibility for the outcome you desire to create. Remember, responsibility is the ability to respond.
We usually enter our relationships with a vision of what we want. If we don’t have a clear, conscious vision, we certainly have a subconscious one. Usually, this is based upon what we experienced in our childhood and what was modeled by our parents/caregivers. Sometimes our vision is the opposite of what we experienced, as in, “I’ll never have a marriage like my mother’s” or some variation of that.
However, what is missing is a shared vision the two of you create together. Not yours, not mine, but ours. This is about building partnership. We come from different backgrounds and experiences, and we can’t assume that our partner wants everything we want.
One of the first exercises I give to couples I coach is to create a shared relationship vision. It gives them the opportunity to share what they want, what they don’t want, and sometimes to discover what they didn’t know was important to their partner. It is a time of communication, compassion, and negotiation.
I strongly recommend you create that shared vision with your partner, consciously and proactively. Do this for every area of your life: emotional, physical, sexual, spiritual, family/social.
Next, create a shared vision of how you want your network marketing business to be and evolve. Include details such as, “We enroll two new associates each week.” More importantly, include emotional states such as, “We enroll two new associates each week, easily and effortlessly, without stress—and we train them to do the same.”
If you apply these three lessons in your relationship as you build your business, I have no doubt that you will grow together as a couple instead of growing apart.
Dr. ADAM SHECK is a licensed clinical psychologist, couples counselor, relationship coach, and entrepreneur. Adam supports committed, long-term couples in keeping or bringing back the passion in their relationships. Based in Los Angeles, he works with clients worldwide through Skype and telephone coaching. Download his special reports “20 Rituals for Romance” and “The Secret to Owning Your Mission” at www.thepassiondoctor.com.
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