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Today, we’re talking about communication and quality time with your significant other (we call this “Heart Time” as you’ll hear us explain). If you’re single, this episode isn’t exclusive—much of it applies to family relationships in general.
We often operate on assumptions. We’re all guilty of it. You typically don’t realize this is the case until something blows up. This usually happens when there are unmet expectations.
Family is a big part of business. I’m not just talking about working with family, but your work affects your family life just as much as your family life affects your work.
Communication and mindset are vital. You need the support of the people around you and you can’t ask for their undying support while providing none in return.
Matt and I both struggle with this: it’s easy to think we’re doing our job of providing for our families by working hard. But monetary provision isn’t everything. There’s no substitute for spending personal time with the people you care about. You can’t just write a check.
It’s important to set aside designated time to spend with your family. It’s also key to make sure you’re all on the same page. Understanding each other’s mindset is critical. You may have a very long-term vision when it comes to handling finances where as your spouse may be more focused on the now (or vice versa).
You both need to play off of each other’s strengths. It’s not about converting them to your mindset necessarily, but more so about making sure both of you support one other.
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins:
- “Heart Time” is what we call spending time with your significant other or your family.
- Whether or not they think the same way, you need to get your family on board with supporting your mindset.
- Saving money is the slow way to get rich.
- Saving money is smart, but learning how to make more money is a better investment of your time.
- You will be as happy in the future as you purposefully choose to be happy now.
- The grass is always greener and if your current mindset is one of negativity or dissatisfaction, it will continue to be so.
- Set aside time on your calendar with your spouse on a daily or weekly basis.
- Communicate to your family what is work and what is “self-time” for you. When you love what you do, it’s not always apparent. They may assume you’re just constantly working.
- You’re never going to have time for heart time, you have to make it.
- 13:23 Sean: I really want to do an episode on money mindsets as it pertains to your spouse. These episodes are changing the way you’re thinking, but your spouse might not be listening to these. They may not be on the same page and that’s just a reality. I’m not saying they’re wrong and you have to convert them, but you do need to communicate with them. Even Laci and I talk about this because I think of money differently.
Get Your Family on Board With Your Mindset
- 15:08 We talked for several hours last night and I was trying to explain a concept I came up with to her. There’s four groups of people:
- People that have stopped trying to save money because they’re thinking in terms of making money.
- People that are focused on saving money. This group is made up of people from the third group who decided to make a change. They changed their lifestyle and started saving money, not buying things they can’t afford, or wasting money on extraneous purchases.
- People that live month to month. These are people that probably used to be in the bottom group but decided they can’t keep going in that direction, but the way they think is keeping them where they are.
- People who want what they want and they don’t care how they get it, even if that means living with debt. They get what they want and they go into this downward spiral of debt and stress.
- 16:48 The second group makes up about 9% of people and 1% of people (I’m not talking about the 1% here) are the first group. The second group is smart. They make a change and start saving, but there’s a drastic change that happens when you go to the top group. The second group are the ones that say, “You’re going to Starbucks every day, which is $5 every day a year. Think about that! That’s $1,500+ a year. If you stop going to Starbucks and make coffee at home, think of what you can do with all that extra money.”
Saving money is smart, but learning how to make money is smarter.
- 18:03 If you’re going to save that money and make your own coffee, you’ve got to buy a coffee machine, buy filters, make sure you always have filters in stock, get coffee beans, grind the coffee beans, and make the coffee every morning. All of that is mental energy. Look at Mark Zuckerberg, he wears the same shirt every day because it takes mental energy to select a unique shirt in the morning. He doesn’t want to waste that energy. If you think that’s stupid, do you want to argue with his success? Getting the $5 coffee and not having to think about it allows me to put the mental energy toward making $250.
- 19:02 I gave her an example of a pendulum. If you want the pendulum to swing far one way, in the direction of good results—like a $100,000 launch—you have to pull it the other way first. Most people stay right in the middle, where it barely swings. At seanwes, we’re working really hard and we’re building streams of residual income, but we also have big launches with spikes in revenue. Laci is used to this, but our conversation illustrated to me that mindsets about money can scale. I’m going to be reproducing and relaunching Learn Lettering pretty soon and I have enough experience that I’m confident in my projections. I believe it will gross between $70,000 and $128,000 in the first 48 to 72 hours.
- 20:38 That’s not a normal way of doing business, but it’s become a normal thing for us. However, the mindset doesn’t automatically adapt, it scales. Laci is still in a place where she’s very good at managing money and taking inventory, but she’s still trying to save money. It’s a useful skill, but it’s not helpful for someone who’s generating revenue. We’re moving next month over a sabbatical week, which is a month and a half before our current lease is up, because of how crazy the set up is in my office. We’re looking look at houses in this area and there’s a $500 per month variable in our range.
- 22:00 Obviously, we’d like to pay less, but if we don’t move during our July sabbatical, we’ll have to move over three days during our August sabbatical, which is when I already have a speaking engagement and a trip planned. We could do that and lock in a house at a lower rate by a couple hundred dollars. To me, it’s worth it to pay a few hundred dollars more a month to be able to move sooner, over a greater period of time, because it reduces my mental stress. That sounds crazy to someone who’s not thinking this way. The energy that I’m able to convert into money is my mental focus.
- 23:19 She was asking, “Why would you waste money down the drain by paying for a more expensive rent than something we could find at a better deal if we waited longer and moving over shorter period of time?” That couple hundred dollars over a year or two is a couple thousand dollars, but the mental focus I get from not dealing with all that stress will turn into tens of thousands of dollars. I’m pulling the pendulum back to make it swing. You can’t enjoy the benefits of the pendulum swinging toward the good results, while also not supporting how strange it seems to pull the pendulum back. The point of this whole story is that it takes patience, communication, and realizing the different ways you both think. I told her that she didn’t have to think like I’m thinking, but she can’t argue with the results. I just need her to support my thinking this way, so we can both employ our unique strengths together as a couple.
- 24:51 Matt: Shera and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on things because Shera is like Laci, she’s more of a saver and good with managing money penny-wise. The problem with that is she doesn’t think about investing. She thinks that by saving her money, her money will last longer, but I always ask her, “What’s going to happen when you run out of money?” I’ve always taken big steps, like investing $100,000 or $200,000 and she thinks it’s ridiculous until she sees the result of that investment.
- 26:01 Sean: The penny-wise mindset is valuable and is less common than people who are extraneous in their spending, but it’s more beneficial to make more money than to try to save money for me.
If you want to get rich, saving money is the slow way to get rich.
- 26:26 The “fast” way to get rich—I’m comparing 10 years to 50 years here—is to learn how to make money, create value for people, and solve problems.
Defining “Heart Time”
- 26:47 We were talking about Matt’s situation one day last year and we wrote out all his different businesses and his schedule, and one of the biggest struggles was his wife feeling like she hardly sees him. You were trying to work hard and get to the point where you could have freedom. You both felt like you were trying to solve the same problem but were coming at it from different directions, and you ended up butting heads instead of trying to get on the same page by defining goals.
- 27:58 An example of this is that Laci has a childhood friend back in her hometown that’s having a couples baby shower and she’s involved in planning it. It’s going to be more of a pool party type thing and it’s a big deal to Laci for me to be there. I’ll be honest, I’m not super thrilled about going, only because I’m just very busy and I have things I want to work on. I broke it down logically: she’s planning this shower so she’s going to be busy the whole time, we’re going to be exhausted, and then we have to drive back home. If it were me and she had other projects, and I knew I was going to be busy the whole time so I wouldn’t see her, I would say, “I would love for you to go but it’s ok if you stay home.”
- 29:51 That’s me being selfish and thinking,“Logically, it doesn’t make sense because you won’t even miss me.” What I realized was she needs me to spend time with her and it’s not about how much time we’ll spend at this event, it’s the fact we’re going to be there together. If she went by herself, people would ask where I am and she’s going to have to talk about why I’m not there. That’s mental stress and energy for her. I realized it’s not always about logic.
Sometimes the logical thing to say to your significant other is, “I’m going to spend time with you.”
- 30:39 Back to breaking down Matt’s calendar: I was filling in days on the calendar and I was mapping out the ideal schedule for him. He was heading toward burnout because he was coming home after midnight and waking up at 5am. Shera was wanting something consistent and reliable, to the point of wishing he had a day job because at least he’d be home at 5pm. I told Matt that he needed to come up with something she could rely on and would allow them to spend time together. Getting home at a set time and spending time together is ideal, so on the calendar, I drew hearts into the spaces that indicated spending time with his spouse. We’ve called it heart time ever since.
- 32:05 Everyone is in a different situation—single, married, married with a kid, married with six kids, etc.—but there’s always heart time. Some of heart time is going to be spent doing things you both enjoy, but they’re also going to want to do things that aren’t your favorite and visa versa. You both need to indulge the other person in the things they like to do. We try to enable the other person’s desires—“If you want to do something, I want to say yes to you so that when I want to do something, you say yes to me.” A lot of couples do the opposite, they restrict.
- 34:40 You say no when your partner asks to do something and because you said no, they say no when you ask to do something. You’re left with two miserable people that way! It’s way better to enable the other person and do what they enjoy, then they’ll do what you enjoy. Things change when you go from single to being in a relationship. Things change when you go from being in a relationship to being in a relationship with children. People tend to be dissatisfied with their current situation and it’s a shame.
We’re as happy as we choose to be.
- 34:44 Single people tend to look to relationships as the next step and say, “I need a relationship. I’m not happy and I’m lonely. I need someone to be with and I’m only going to be happy when I have a relationship.” You get into a relationship and, if you allow yourself, you get to a place of dissatisfaction and you say either, “I wish I was single again. I wish I had my freedom,” or you say, “My life would be more fulfilling or satisfying if I had a kid.” Wherever you are, you tend to look one way or the other.
- 35:42 Let’s say you have a kid and you think, “What have I gotten myself into? I wish I had my freedom. Remember when we could take a trip whenever we want and we didn’t have to deal with babysitters?” or you want another kid and say, “Our kid has no one to play with. Don’t you remember having a baby?” Dissatisfaction will always be there if you’re not choosing to be happy.
The grass is always greener and if your current mindset is one of negativity or dissatisfaction, it will continue to be so.
- 36:25 This is why Matt and I don’t live for the Lambo. We live for now. We live for, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, the climb and the hustle. We love that and everything else is a byproduct. If our happiness was tied to reaching our Lambo Goal, then we would be dissatisfied now and we would have learned to be dissatisfied, which means even when we reach our goal we won’t be satisfied.
- 37:06 Heart time becomes variable when you have kids. Now, you have spouse heart time and kid heart time. There’s also self time, which is a bigger deal for introverts than extroverts, but everyone still needs it. You need your own time and it’s a form of heart time. I see a lot of couples not communicating what is and is not work vs. self time, especially for entrepreneurs. I’m in my office doing lettering or writing because that’s my job, but at the end of the day when I’m done “working,” I’m now doing something for “fun,” but if you peek into my office, it looks like I’m working.
As an entrepreneur, if you’re not communicating what’s work and what’s self time, your family will assume you’re a workaholic.
- 38:21 If they’re done with work and they read a book, go shopping, or hang out with their friends, it’s clear that’s their fun time. I have a mental switch from work mode to doing something else, but it’s not as clear to them. You have to communicate and equate those things. Say, “You know how you like reading books? Well, that’s the same for me with lettering, even if it may look like work.” With heart time, sometimes you’re doing the same thing together you both enjoy, sometimes you’re doing something the other person enjoys, and sometimes you’re doing what you enjoy.
- 39:27 Finally, there’s self time, which is you doing what you enjoy and them doing what they enjoy. Often times, depending on personality types, you can sit near someone and each do your own thing, but it counts as heart time. I’ve noticed I can be in here watching YouTube videos after work and Laci is on Pinterest. In her mind, if I’m in my office, I’m working, but if I sit on the couch by her and watch YouTube, it’s like I’m spending time with her. Be mindful of little things like that.
- 40:23 Matt: Shera’s the same way. I’ll get home and go to my office to watch YouTube videos of Lambos or Gary Vee’s show, and she’s like, “He’s watching Lambos again.” I tell her that’s important to me though, it’s my down time and it gives me clarity. Family and friend time is something I haven’t done a good job with, but I’ve realize it’s important. I notice that when I do have that time with my wife, my parents, her parents, or friends, it’s a different kind of mindset and my brain isn’t having to work overtime for the business.
- 42:19 When Shera used to ask me if I would spend time with her, I thought that meant I had to put away all my stuff and dedicate 100% of my time to her, even though there were things I wanted to do for my self time. Turns out that she just wanted me to sit with her while she went through Pinterest, Etsy, or YouTube. Why didn’t I get a manual that says this when I got married? I’m not a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy and she’s not a fan of Marvel movies, but we make that sacrifice and we watch those things together. We realized even though we may not understand how each of us plans to get to a goal, as long as we’re looking in the same direction and we communicate on our way there, we’re good.
- 45:03 Spending time with your spouse is good for them, but it can be down time for me too if I take that time to relax. If it was up to me, I would have kept my single status and would be working, but at the same time, I probably wouldn’t live to see 30 since I don’t know when to stop. It’s good to have friends and family that tell you when to turn that switch off. Don’t just see it as having to compromise or sacrifice, because heart time benefits you and your spouse.
Having heart time with my wife has helped me keep my sanity, rest more, and be a healthier person.
- 46:32 Sean: It’s like a video game where you have hearts of health. When you’re fighting the fight of entrepreneurship and loosing health, you have to think of the hearts as sustainers. Set aside time on your calendar with your spouse—on a daily or weekly basis—and see it as upping your health count.
- 47:14 Matt: The more time I spend with Shera, the more she gets an insight into what’s going on in the business. She’s not interested in getting involved in my business but now, she trusts and supports me more. I don’t think she knew how important it was for her to encourage me. It’s nice to hear from your spouse that you’re doing a good job. The more heart time you have, the more they feel they can trust you and then you feel good because you’ve had down time and they’re supporting you.
- Make Heart Time a Priority
- 1:05:12 Ryan asks, “How do you handle scheduling “heart time” without making your significant other feel like they are just another task to check off your list?” It all comes down to communication and what I communicate is, “You are my priority, not a check box. The reason I put you on the schedule isn’t because you’re another item on my agenda, but because I want to protect that time.” Putting time aside means it’s special to me. Communicate that you’re setting aside heart time because it’s a priority and you want to give them your full, undivided attention. That’s why it’s on the calendar, not because you don’t want them to talk to you until the calendar notification goes off.
- Designate Work Boundaries
- 1:07:01 Kyle asks, “How do you separate quality time and work time in a healthy way when your wife is at home with you all day? I’m about to be in that situation and creating clear boundaries seems tough.” A related one from Sarah is, “How do you make a clear boundary between heart time and work time when your significant other is at home and you don’t have a spare room to work?” That’s tough. You need to create distinctions somehow. The best way is a completely separate space or office, but it’s not the only way. Another good way to create distinction is to designate a certain kind of work to a certain kind of device, space, or time. Even if you don’t have a separate room, you probably have corners in your house. Pick a corner, designate it to work, and communicate that. That way the other person knows to be quiet, go to the opposite corner, or go out—for errands or with the kids—at that time.
- 1:08:50 Matt: If you’re about to make that transition, definitely set those boundaries. If you’re already in that situation, let them know why you need to adjust the boundaries. Tell them you’re not doing it to be mean, you’re doing it to stay focused and be productive. Tell them you’re going to allocate that time to get things done and then you’ll hang out with them.
- Dont Feel Guilty About Heart Time
- 1:09:15 Daniela asks, “How do you avoid feeling guilty about having heart time when you’ve got so much on your plate? How do you leave the work at work during these times?” Nobody has time for heart time. You can’t find time because we feel fill it automatically. If you have a gap on your schedule, you wonder what you can say “yes” to instead of leaving it as margin, heart time, relaxation, a sabbatical, or rest.
You’re never going to have time for heart time, you have to make it.
- 1:10:16 Is this person important to you or are they not? You have to start with what’s important to you. You can say they’re important, but if your work comes first on the schedule, where are your priorities? If you’ve got a bunch of work, you need to say “no” to something. That may mean if you have a deadline and you don’t want to get fired or lose a client, then enact some change. Communicate how you’re going to change that as soon as the project is done. Say, “Let’s start with heart time. When are we going to spend time together and how are we going to spend that time?” Put that on the calendar and fit everything else around that.
- 1:11:07 It’s like with Small Scale Sabbaticals—everyone always says, “I don’t have time for a sabbatical,” or if I talk about it they say, “That must be nice! I wish I had time for that.” I didn’t have time for a sabbatical and nobody does! When I first started them, it was hard. There was always too much work and I didn’t have the time, but that’s how it’s always going to be. If you don’t want that overwhelm, you have to start with change. I’ve made sabbaticals and time with my wife a thing I do. You have to start with saying, “A thing I do is this,” and everything else goes around it. If it’s on the calendar you won’t schedule other things there.
- 1:12:25 Matt: You’ve got to set it and then actually do it. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult, but you’ve got to do it for your sanity. I love what I do so if it were up to me, I would work every single day of my life.
- Learn Your Love Language
- 1:13:04 Sean: As long as you feel like your heart time is filled, you’re good. What you have to concern yourself with is filling the other person’s heart time and if you communicate, they’ll do that for you. Everyone has different love languages and Cynthia asks, “How do you make the most of the time you do make, especially when both or one of your love languages is ‘quality time?'” The Five Love Languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and quality time. I’m a words of affirmation person, so all you have to do is say, “Good job,” and I feel good for a month.
- 1:14:23 I always imagine the perfect pairing would be someone who’s love language is receiving gifts and the other person’s outward showing of love is giving gifts, but it doesn’t usually work out that way. Laci’s love language is quality time. You have to learn to fulfill whatever your spouse’s love language is and you can’t just do whatever you want.
You could love to buy gifts, but if someone isn’t a gifts person, it won’t fill their heart meter.
- Explain Why You Work So Much
- 1:15:43 Charli asks, “Can you give any tips for helping your partner, who isn’t as driven as you when it comes to side projects, understand why you work so freakin’ much?” This is where the definitions and communication comes into play. To them, you work so freakin’ much, but you’re only doing it because you enjoy it so much and it fulfills you. You have to communicate that. Everyone is driven in what they love to do, so they might be in a day job they don’t like and on the side they do or don’t pursue their passions. You probably have your vocation aligned with your passion, so you have to explain that to them.
- 1:17:11 Matt: It’s constant communication. Make sure they understand why you’re doing what you’re doing.