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I know you have big goals. I know you have ambitions and things you want to accomplish.

This episode is for you if you have a significant other or someday plan to.

Successful people know what they want, they know what they’re going for, and they invest all of their energy in getting there. You need clarity and you need concentrated efforts.

If your spouse is not on board, you will not be successful.

Read that sentence again. I’m serious. You cannot make progress when the very person who is your other half is not on board. If someone is not helping you get closer to your goal, they are taking you away from it.

You must get your spouse on board with your vision. You have to be completely on the same page.

It’s going to take time. It’s going to take a tremendous amount of time and investment, but you absolutely have to do it. It means spending time with them, it means having conversations with them, it means doing the things they enjoy, it means making sacrifices.

You have no business spending a single second pursuing your dream if your spouse is not on board. It’s wasted time. If they’re not on board, you need to make it your full-time effort to invest in them. Your full-time job is now to invest in your spouse and make sure you are both on the same page.

I’m starting to write a book instead of an excerpt, so just do yourself a favor and listen to this episode if you have big aspirations and a significant other (or plan to one day)!

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • If someone is not helping you get closer to your goal, they’re taking you away from it.
  • It’s detrimental to your goals and your relationship to push in opposite directions.
  • Have a conversation with your spouse about what you want to accomplish, why it’s important to you, and what your plan is.
  • Don’t expect to resolve your conflicts with your spouse in one conversation.
  • First, you have to give of yourself and invest in your spouse.
  • There’s room for disagreement with your spouse up to the point of making a decision to take action.
  • You can’t be sure that they are on board unless you hear it coming from them.
  • The responsibility of communication is on the communicator, not the recipient of the message.
  • Think of life in seasons.
  • The best gift you can give your spouse is being supportive of their dreams.
Show Notes
  • 06:03 Sean: This episode is for those that are married, have a significant other, or some day plan to. I see a lot of people with goals, things they want to accomplish, a clear picture and a vision for the future. They know where they want to go. If you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other, insert your own category, but we’re going to say “spouse.”
  • 06:36 Ben: You assign your own meaning to the relationship. Don’t let the word trip you up.
  • 06:41 Sean: That will make it simple for us. You’ve got these things you want to accomplish, these goals, but your spouse isn’t totally on board with them. Maybe it’s just that you haven’t even told them about it. Maybe you’ve kind of mentioned it and they seem hesitant or like they’re against it. They’re not totally on board with it. It’s possible that you haven’t taken the time to communicate, so they don’t really understand. Or, you have told them about it, and they’ve said, “That’s not for me. I’m not really on board with that.”
  • 07:16 I see a lot of people pushing forward. They’re going to find a way to do this with or without their spouse. It may not be this big thing, but it could be something where the other person rolls their eyes and you don’t really talk about it. You kind of do your thing and they don’t really like it, but you don’t say anything, and under the surface, it festers. Maybe, in some cases, your spouse says that they support you, but they’re not supporting you with their actions. You can tell that they’re not really on board with your goals and what you want to do. Maybe that’s starting a business or quitting your job. Do you have other examples, Ben?
  • 08:15 Ben: It could even be something that, to you, seems like it should be fine. Maybe you’re keeping a job and you have job security and everything else is good, you’re spending enough time with your family, and you’re pursuing your dream on the side and you’re starting to experience some success with it. That seems like it should be okay on various fronts. Your spouse might have a situation where she/he’s not saying anything to you, but there’s resentment building up.
  • 08:55 Sean: A lot of people push through this, even though their spouse is not on board. I want to do this show because:

It’s detrimental to your goals and your relationship to push in opposite directions.

Get your spouse on board first, before you go off on your own thing.

  • 09:20 You may not be communicating what your goals are, why you want to accomplish them, and why this is important to you. Get on the same page with this person that you’re sharing your life with. It’s super important. A lot of people aren’t doing this.

Passive Permission Isn’t on the Same Page

  • 09:35 Joe from the chat was saying, “How do you know if they’re really on board and what are the red flags of whether someone’s not on board?” I said, “The red flag is going to be something that surprises you.” I think it’s going to be something that surprises everyone, and we’ll talk about that later in the show—recognizing that you’re not on the same page. She’s/he’s not on board, you’re not heading in the same direction or speaking the same language here. It happens more often than you think. It may even be happening to you now, when you think the other person is on board. We’re going to talk about figuring out whether or not you are on the same page.

If someone is not helping you get closer to your goal, they’re taking you away from it.

  • 10:41 Ben: What’s the difference in the situation between a passive permission vs. actively helping? Is the permission in and of itself a form of helping, or does it need to go beyond that?
  • 11:01 Sean: That’s a really good question. I don’t know that I have even thought about that before. The goal is to get on the same page. If you’re on the same page, because you want to go forward and invest energy into this, they would, too. That’s if you truly are on the same page. In the case of giving permission, it’s like they’re saying, “Yeah, you can go write your own page.”
  • 11:33 Ben: I imagine that the person who is just giving permission isn’t really excited about it the same way and doesn’t see the potential the same way. When someone really believes that something is going to happen or that certain actions are going to lead to progress, it’s difficult not to take an active role because you believe in what’s happening. Being on the same page doesn’t always mean that I’m as excited about it as you are. Passive permission looks like, “You can go have your fun,” but it doesn’t look like actually being on the same page and regarding the goal in the same way.
  • 12:30 I’m thinking about it as something that’s serious that I really want to make progress toward, and you’re thinking about it as, “Oh yeah, he can have fun and go do that thing. That’s okay.”

Get Your Spouse On Board First

  • 12:41 Sean: I’m talking about being fully on board, 100% committed, supportive, “Yes, I believe in you, and I want to support and enable you.” Like we’ll talk about later, it’s a mutual thing. You can’t expect that without giving that. You have to get your spouse on board as the first thing, before you build a business, figure out your passion, quit your job, or do anything. You have to get completely on the same page so that they support you 100%. This needs to be the goal. If you’re not there yet, don’t start pulling away and going off in your own direction. You’re just going to make it harder on both of you.
  • 13:35 You’re both pulling in opposite directions. Eventually, you’ll try and reach this point where this thing will hopefully make sense to them. Then, you’re going to try and convert them over. But they’re not going to see it objectively. They’re not going to see, “Look what I accomplished and where I am now! This business is profitable,” and whatever it is you’re trying to convince them of.

Your spouse will only remember the turmoil if you push forward alone without being on the same page as them.

  • 14:12 It’s all tied up in the experience. They won’t say, “Oh well, regardless of what happened, now I’m on board.” You have to get them on board as the first thing.
  • 14:23 Ben: It’s a real gift to be the person who’s tethered to a person who accomplishes a goal, recognizing that you played a role in helping them get there. When you press on without communicating or truly getting your spouse on board, you’re denying them that gift, that opportunity to play that role. You may think to yourself, “It seems like they don’t want to play that role, and that’s why I’m moving forward,” but if you’re communicating well, asking questions, and getting to the root of it, there’s probably something else.
  • 15:04 It’s probably not specifically that they don’t want to go through the difficulty or that they think it’s going to end badly. It’s probably a combination of many things. It could have to do with stuff in your past. I think about this with the permission thing vs. getting on board. When I have demonstrated that I can be responsible, disciplined, and focused, that I can actually reach a goal, I find it a lot easier to get my spouse on board. There have been seasons of my life where I haven’t been very responsible and I’ve let deadlines slip. It’s not that she doesn’t think it’s a worthwhile goal or that she’s not willing to go through the difficulty, but there’s also the care that she has for me. She doesn’t want me to experience a failure.
  • 16:11 She might feel like, if I go after this, because of my track record, it’s going to end badly. She doesn’t want that for me. Digging into those motivations is a really important part of the communication process and really understanding how your spouse sees what you’re wanting to do.
  • 16:36 Sean: Daniela in the chat says, “I feel like permission doesn’t have a place in a healthy relationship. Enabling is a much better word. Support is what you’re looking for.” I like that word, “enabling,” a lot, and we’re going to talk about that a little bit later. Right now, I want to clearly define the goal, and that is that before you do anything substantial—quitting your job, starting a business, finding your passion—you want to get your spouse on board. You want to have their full support. You want them to be fully behind you on this thing. That’s the first thing.
  • 17:20 If someone isn’t getting you closer to your goal, they’re taking you away from it. You wouldn’t start a 2,000 mile journey with an 800 pound anchor tied to the bumper of your car. That’s what it looks like if you press forward. You say, “I’m going on this journey!” But you have this friction. It’s slowing you down and it’s causing problems. It’s probably going to rip your bumper off, give you alignment issues, bad mileage, and it’s going to to run hard on the engine. We’ll assume that this is a small car, not a tow truck.

Deal with your problems before you embark on this huge journey.

  • 18:12 It would be a way better idea to get someone on board with you first before you do that. If you have this terrible journey, it doesn’t matter how great the destination is. They’re going to remember that journey and the whole thing is going to be wrapped up together. Hopefully we’ve painted a clear picture of the goal, which is getting them on board.

How Do You Get Someone on Board When They’re Scared?

  • 18:38 When they’re unsure? When they don’t know how things are going to go? The main thing is communication. You need to have a conversation with your spouse about what you want to accomplish, why it’s important to you, and what your plan is. To be able to have a conversation, you need to have time. You have to set aside this time. It’s going to be easier for you to set aside this time because it’s important to you. If they’re not on board already, what’s important to you may not be important to them. To get that time to have this conversation, you’re going to need to invest in them.
  • 19:21 You’re going to need to give of yourself to them to have this conversation. Maybe you’re with someone who already likes the things you’re wanting to do. Let’s say you want to build a business and they’re a business owner as well. That’s going to be an easy conversation to have. In a lot of cases, the things you want to do are not necessarily going to be the favorite thing that the other person likes to do. Opposites attract, and that’s a great thing in a lot of cases.
  • 19:49 In other cases, like this, it’s a little more difficult. It requires a lot of communication to smooth things out. First, you have to earn that conversation you’re going to have. It’s probably not one they want to have. It’s not watching Netflix, going out with their friends, getting on their phone, or playing their games. It’s talking to you about something you’re interested in.
  • 20:16 Ben: The focus of your goal should not be on how soon you can have the conversation so you can finally get started on the journey.

Your conversation with your spouse should focus on how you don’t want to move forward unless they’re on board.

  • 20:32 You don’t want to go in a direction they won’t go with you. That’s the reason you’re having the meeting. I don’t know if it will come down to you saying that expressly, but have that motivation in the back of your mind. Instead of, “How soon can I get started on this journey,” it’s, “How can I make it to where, whatever direction we go, we go there together?”
  • 21:01 Sean: I love that motivation. That’s what we’re talking about here, with getting them on board. It’s not about doing this as soon as possible, it’s about doing it the best way possible, totally and completely together. That starts with a conversation, communication about your goals and your plans. To get that time with their full focus—no phones, kids, distractions, notifications—you have to earn that time. You can’t just say, “I want this conversation. I want you to take time out of your day and what’s important to you and talk to me about what’s important to me.” First, you have to give of yourself.

Before you ask anything of them, you have to invest in your spouse.

  • 21:50 There’s a Venn Diagram of your interests and their interests. In a good relationship, you’ll have some overlap, hopefully, some common interests. We’ll assume that this falls outside of your common interests. There are a lot of things you’re going to do that you enjoy and they don’t. There are some things you both will enjoy, and there are things that your spouse enjoys that may not be your favorite. Maybe it’s TV shows you’re not a big fan of, for one reason or another. Maybe it’s an activity. Maybe it’s going to a certain place. Maybe it’s spending time attending certain events.
  • 22:28 You know those things that your spouse likes that aren’t your favorite. That’s what I’m talking about when I say “invest.” Give of yourself and do the things that make them feel loved and appreciated. You have to start with that. Start with showing that you care about them and you want to give to this relationship, that you want to contribute. Do that before asking. It’s the simple Rule of Reciprocity. You’re giving first, and then you’re asking for some time in the form of a conversation.
  • 23:02 Ben: I like the idea of having the focus on going forward together. It makes it feel less like a conditional type of giving, like you’re giving them this stuff so you can ask them for time later. You’re also setting a precedent that shows them that this is the way you want to relate to them. You want to do things that fill their love tank.

Invest in Them

  • 23:40 Sean: Gary Vaynerchuck said something about collaborations with people. When you go on someone else’s show and provide value to them, that works out for them, because their audience gets value, but you also get exposure from their audience. The way he put it was, “Those kinds of 1 plus 1 equals 3 situations.” A relationship is a lot like that. Ben said that you don’t want to make your spouse feel like you’re just doing stuff to get something from them, but it is a symbiotic relationship. You’re giving and they’re giving, and in a sense, it’s a 1 plus 1 equals 3. You both feel like you’re getting something.
  • 24:25 Ben: It has a multiplying effect on the sense of attachment and connection in the relationship. If your spouse doesn’t want that or isn’t interested in that, there are other issues going on. In a healthy relationship, when you have that kind of giving, it’s going to naturally swing back your way in a way that benefits both of you. You don’t just benefit from the time that you earn from the time you give to your spouse. You benefit in other ways. Giving has a lot of great benefits for the individual doing the giving.
  • 25:06 When you’ve got this time set aside, don’t waste it. Make the most of it. You should prepare. Think about how your spouse communicates and how you can communicate in a way that is the most effective and clear. What is your plan? What questions will he or she have? How can you answer those questions in what you communicate? What fears do you think they’ll have? Think about all of that stuff ahead of time. As much as you can, don’t let yourself get blindsided by that. It probably doesn’t take a whole lot of work to figure out they’ll have trouble with this or that. How can you speak directly to that fear?
  • 25:58 Sean: In these conversations, because it’s sensitive, real stuff that’s important to you, your life goals, what you want to pursue, a significant change in your career or maybe even where you live or how you spend your time, this is serious stuff. Money discussions can come into play. If you quit your job and start your own thing, how are you going to make money? There are a lot of really sensitive issues wrapped up in this. When you have these conversations, you’ll probably find that it can get tense and really serious.

Don’t end the conversation because the discussion gets tense.

  • 26:52 Don’t say, “Well, we don’t want to talk about this.” Don’t end it on a bad note. However long it takes, whether you lose sleep or you have to pay the babysitter more, make sure that you can both feel like you’re more on the same page as a result of this conversation. If so, then it wasn’t a loss, even if you fought or one of you feels a certain way and said something they didn’t mean. Whatever can happen in a discussion, argument, debate, or life goal discussion, make sure that as a result of the discussion you get to a conclusion of being more on the same page. You have to get to that point.
  • 27:47 Ben: Nobody’s perfect. It’s likely that you will encounter some sore subject or come to a point in the conversation that’s more tense, but the more you prepare and think ahead, the easier it will be to see those things coming and prepare yourself for them so you don’t react poorly. That’s the thing that has gotten me into the most trouble—trying to engage those conversations when I haven’t done the work of saying, “Where is this going to be difficult? Where are we going to run into some trouble?”
  • 28:21 It’s harder to go to a place of being empathetic and sensitive. Because I’m prepared, I’m able to hear my spouse out and let her react to what she’s hearing and express her emotions without feeling like she doesn’t understand and getting myself all tense. That can happen. The more prepared you are for it, the easier it will be for you to be more sympathetic and understanding.

What It’s Going to Take

  • 28:56 Sean: Prepare for the conversation itself, but also prepare in the sense that you’ve invested in them beforehand. You’ve smoothed the process. They’re primed. They’re ready to support you. I’m not saying that it’s going to be automatic or easy, but they feel loved. You’ve got to know their love language. Invest in them. Make them feel cared for, appreciated, and loved, and then have your conversation. Don’t expect this to be immediately resolved in one conversation—this is going to take dozens of conversations. That’s the real truth. You’re thinking, “I can barely sit down for 30 or 40 minutes with my spouse once a week.” Do the math. If it takes dozens of conversations and you can only talk once a week, it’s probably going to take eight months.
  • 30:20 Don’t expect this overnight. I’m dead serious when I say to put everything else off. Your full time job is to invest in them and to get on the same page with your spouse. You want to do this thing? You care about this thing? How much do you care about it? Do you care about it enough to do it the right way, even if that time isn’t right now? Do you care about it enough to invest in you spouse so you can get on the same page, so you can get them on board, before you proceed with this thing? That’s the level of care you need to have for this thing. Let me paint a picture.
  • 31:01 You wake up at, let’s say, 6am. You go to work, leave at 7:30am and get to work at 8am, sometimes 8:15am, but the boss doesn’t really care. You work. You get off at around 5pm. Traffic is a little worse coming back home, so it’s about 6pm when you get home. Then, you have dinner or you have to make dinner, so it’s like 7:30pm and you’re both really tired from the day. Maybe kids are involved and you have a nighttime routine, or maybe you want to watch a TV show to unwind. The next thing you know, it’s the evening. It’s 9pm or so.
  • 31:46 You think, “I usually go to bed at 10:30pm,” or 11pm or 12am, whatever your bedtime is. You’ve got a few hours in the evening, and that’s usually when you do your thing on the side. You work on your passion. You research for your business. You’re learning things, consuming things, creating, or whatever it is. Get rid of everything you do in that time. Maybe some people wake up at 4am so they can do a little something before they go to their day job.

Take all of the time you would normally invest in your passion and invest it into your spouse until they’re on board.

  • 32:27 That is how important this is. It doesn’t matter if you build this epic thing on the side on a bad foundation. If they’re not on board, it all goes away. It’s not going to matter to you. It’s not going to matter to them, and you have no relationship. It’s just not worth it. All of those hours that you spend, nights, weekends, and early mornings, on your thing, either spend time with them and do the things that they like. Or, if they’re not home when you’re home, sit in your beanbag and brainstorm on ways that you can make them feel appreciated.
  • 33:10 Ben: What if it takes a whole year?
  • 33:14 Sean: Would you rather spend that year building something that’s going to fall apart?
  • 33:19 Ben: What if it takes five years?
  • 33:23 Sean: That just amplifies the heartbreak on the business end and the relational end.
  • 33:35 Ben: What if it takes ten years, though?
  • 33:38 Sean: Your job, until they’re on board, is to invest in them. That’s it. Invest in your spouse so much that, eventually, they feel so overwhelmed with care and appreciation that they’ll support anything you want to do. Until you get to that point, you keep investing in them. When you got together with this person, you decided to be half of a whole unit. I’m not saying that you’re half of a person. You’re each 100% whole people together, but you comprise one unit. You decided to enter into this relationship, whatever it looks like for you, and it’s a symbiotic relationship.
  • 34:30 You can’t just start pulling it apart, going in your own direction without getting them on board. You are a unit. It’s as if there are 100 soldiers marching, and you command 50 of them and someone else commands the other 50. You need the 100 to go into battle. Did you ever play those real time strategy games like Age of Empires?
  • 34:54 Ben: I don’t play video games, but I played a game like that one time.
  • 35:06 Sean: You get your mouse and you select all of the villagers or whatever and you can move them all at once. Imagine they’re all marching at once, all 100 of them, and you can command the 50, but you need the 100 to go into battle. If you’re not communicating with your partner, you’re not going to survive. You say, “What if it takes me a whole hour to convince them to move their half of the army this direction?” Then it takes the whole hour. Would you rather lose your 50 guys? Maybe, that means going and fighting battles with them and contributing your 50 guys to the battles they want to fight before you fight the battle you want to fight. Don’t you want to win in the end? Don’t you still want to be together in the end? Isn’t that more worth it?

Rewards of Getting Your Spouse on Board

  • 36:10 You see the clear picture of the future. You have the vision, the goals, the dreams, and the passion, and you have this thing you want to do. You see the desired outcome. You have a plan for how to get there. You think it’s going to happen. You think reality is going to align with your mindset, and when it does, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be awesome. You’ll be in a better situation, making more money, doing what you love, you’ll be working less or you’ll be less stressed, whatever this is for you.
  • 36:39 Part of that, part of the spoils and the rewards, belong to your partner. That’s how I treat this. When I had my successful launches and made $100,000, that’s not all me. Yes, I did the work, but she supported me. She was there supporting me when I was working the long hours. She was making me dinner when I was working into the night. She was not spending time with me or spending time with friends instead of me when I was sacrificing. She is contributing, in many ways, indirectly to my success.

If they’re on board, your significant other is contributing to your success.

  • 37:36 That’s why I believe anything that comes from that is something they should also enjoy, they should also benefit from. When you consider this reciprocity type of situation, where you give first and then they give back to you, I want to support her. Arguably, I supported her before we were even married. Ten years ago, she wanted to go to culinary school, and that could have meant going to school abroad. It could have been a number of years. It could have been money. As she likes to tell, I said, “I’ll eat Raman noodles for however many years it takes to make this happen for you.” It’s not like I want her to go away to the other side of the world, not be with her, and work really hard and save up all my money and give it to her for her to go to school, but I care about her.
  • 38:32 That didn’t ever actually happen, but arguably, it started with that. She, for various reasons, didn’t end up going to culinary school, but she supported me in my pursuit of things. I always want to support her. She wants to do food photography, for instance. Right now, that’s her focus. That’s what she wants to do. She says, “I want to build it up to where I can make money from it and it can be a serious thing, and I can use that money to buy better equipment.” I say, “What equipment do you want? We’ll just buy it for you.” She says, “No, I want it to come from the business. I want the business to earn it. I want to build up the skills, make the money, and buy those things.”
  • 39:21 It took a conversation, many conversations. It takes a lot of communication. Fortunately for us, that’s our strong suit. For those who don’t know our backstory, we did a four year long distance relationship. In the beginning, we saw each other every few months. Then, it was every few weeks, but it was a four year long distance relationship, primarily just communication. We made phone calls, sent texts, and communicated. As hard and as heartbreaking as it was for us to be that far apart, that was the foundation of our relationship. It was built on communication, and I think it ended up being a really good thing for us.
  • 40:11 We’re talking about this, and I said, “‘My success is also owed to you and the investments you made in me to be able to do the things I did that resulted in what we have. That’s not just ‘my thing,’ ‘my money,’ or ‘my business,’ but I want to support you with that. You’ve earned that.” After we talked about it, she realized that it is okay for us to buy her stuff. That’s not her being spoiled. That’s her fear. She doesn’t want to be a spoiled housewife because her husband has a successful business. She doesn’t want to feel entitled to things, and I respect and understand that. I also want her to know that she invested in this as well. She may not have done the same kind of work that I did, but because we were on the same page, we both did this, together.
  • 41:19 Ben: People who demonstrate their commitment to working hard and their ability to focus, even if they haven’t yet gained the skill they want in a particular pursuit, have shown their ability to learn, adapt, and grow in a skill. That focus and tenacity can take you a long way from your baseline. The people around you who see that quality want to give you a better baseline. They say, “You’re going to take this and run with it, so I’d rather start you off up here, even though you’re willing to start back here. I fully believe that you could make up that gap, but I don’t see you as someone who would take these things and not just run off with them.”
  • 42:20 There are certainly people who start off with a fantastic baseline and do nothing with it. One thing that I’ve seen of Sean and Laci is that they’re both very hard workers. They’re both very focused. It makes sense to me that it was a no-brainer to say, “Why don’t we start you off with better equipment? Why don’t we start you off with better resources?” She’s going to take that and run with it. The moral of that story is not to focus on having better equipment or a better baseline. If you focus on those qualities, that’s really going to get you places.

Be Enabling Instead of Using “No” Cards

  • 43:10 Sean: For the person wondering, “My husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t care about my thing. What do I do? I guess I can’t do it”:

If they don’t care about your thing, care about their thing.

Be the change, initiate, and invest.

  • 43:43 It’s reciprocity. Everyone’s complaining, “They don’t support me. They don’t want me to do this. They don’t believe in me. They don’t trust me. They aren’t sure.” What have you done the other direction? Be proactive. Lavish on them and start with them. That’s going to make all the difference. We approach things with an enabling perspective, and that’s what I was referencing earlier. A lot of relationships operate off of a “no” trump card. When you want to do something, I get to say no because I’m your significant other. I’m your spouse. When I want to do something, you get to say no, because I told you no. It works, in a sense, because it’s reciprocity and that’s just how you operate.
  • 44:38 Why not operate from an enabling standpoint? Say, “Gosh, I don’t know exactly how we’re going to do this, but let’s figure out how we can. This is what you want to do? Let’s figure out how we can make it happen, every time. I’m going to be your partner in this, and I’m going to brainstorm with you for how we can possibly do this.” That’s on the positive end, not the negative end. You’re not saying, “Here’s why you can’t. Here’s why it’s a bad decision. Here’s all the obstacles. Here’s the lack of resources. This is the scarcity.” Be enabling. Imagine you are the person that came up with this idea and you wanted it as much as they do.
  • 45:22 Think about the kind of enthusiasm you would have for being creative and trying to figure out a way that this could possibly happen. Brainstorm with them. See it through to a positive conclusion, and then maybe you’ll realize that this probably isn’t the best direction. All along the way, leading up to that conclusion, you were their partner. You weren’t the person with the “no” card. You were the person that was enabling, and they remember that. In the same regard, they’re going to enable you, your dreams, and your desires.

Agree Before You Act

  • 46:15 Ben: Sarah in the chat basically asked, “Can your spouse not be intellectually on board with you but still be supportive?” The metaphor I think of is that you’re wandering through the woods, trying to get to your destination. You’re a little bit lost, so you say, “I think it’s this way. Let’s go in this direction.” They say, “I don’t think you’re right. I’m not sure that’s the direction we should go.” Maybe you’re very insistant, “I’m almost positive it’s this direction,” and they say, “No, it’s not!” You go in that direction anyway and you end up getting more lost or you circle back to where you were before. They say, “I told you that you weren’t going in the right direction.” How do you avoid that kind of situation? Is there room for disagreement in how you get there?

There’s room for disagreement with your spouse up to the point of making a decision to take action.

  • 47:39 Sean: What you don’t want to do is take action on a disagreement. Take action on being on the same page. Until you’re on the same page, don’t take action. There could be disagreement leading up to being on the same page about taking an action. If you take action on a disagreement, you’ll always end up in “I told you so’s.” Maybe they don’t see eye to eye with you. Maybe they don’t have all of the insights, intuition, or knowledge that you do. As much as possible, communicate those things to them. Sometimes, it’s not possible to communicate all of the nuances.
  • 48:24 In my case, there are a lot of moving parts to my business, and it’s not really possible for me to explain every detail of how I’m able to come up with the decision that’s in the best interest for the long term. That is a very difficult thing to quantify, especially when it’s predicated on a lot of things that I have experience in. How do you convey experience in a conversation? As much as possible, try to paint a picture of why you’re making this decision, but it’s not always going to be 100% comprehensive to the other person. They don’t have the same life experience as you do in this area.
  • 49:15 It eventually has to come down to a point of, “I don’t understand all of the components, but I support you in making this decision. You’ve told me that if it goes this way, this is where we’ll be and this is your plan for it. If it goes that way, this is where we’ll be and what our plan for it is and what you think the odds are based on your experience. I don’t know all of those details, but I am on board. Let’s go forward with this.”
  • 49:46 Ben: You can’t be Captain Kirk and say, “I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.” You have to have a plan for success and failure. That has to be in place before you can move forward. Sarah used, as an example, the One Concept Approach. The disagreement was over one person wanting to use the One Concept Approach with clients and the other person saying, “That’s not how everyone else does it. I think you shouldn’t do it that way.” When the conversation moves in that direction, where there’s tension to the details even to the point of disagreement, that’s actually a positive thing. That indicates that they’re on board with the goal, but they’re concerned about the how.

If your spouse doesn’t want you to get there and reach your goal, they won’t argue the details with you.

  • 50:48 That’s a positive thing. As the person communicating your goal, you have to make allowances for that voice of disagreement or different ideas. You have to be open to those conversations. Don’t shut them down with, “Trust me, I know better.” If they’re coming in with their own ideas or legitimate concerns, it’s worth taking the time to explain your way. Or, maybe you’re open minded enough that you hear them out, and it gives you insight you didn’t have before that makes it more possible for you to move forward and be successful. Another part of it is being open to those conversations.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

  • 51:43 Sean: You can’t communicate too much. You just can’t. We always say Magic of 7 on this show, but it’s going to be 700 with your spouse. That’s what it’s going to feel like, but you have to be patient, communicate, and over-communicate. It’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take a ton, because they’re really good at tuning out your voice. They live with you, so you’re going to have these conversations with them a lot of times. That means that you’re going to have to invest in them a lot of times, but it’s going to be worth it.
  • 52:23 Joe says, “Are there any red flags I should be looking for to help me identify if my spouse is not really on board? For example, my spouse and I both support each other. She knows that I’ll always be working on the right thing and doing the best for our future, but she’s sometimes completely unaware of some of the things I’m working on. Should this cause me concern, or am I just working on a lot of things?” It’s about the general direction of where you’re going. If I were to tell someone all the things I’m working on, it would take a day. You can’t always communicate every detail of everything you’re working on, so it’s about the general direction. The red flag here, how you know whether or not they’re on board, is if they’re not telling you that they’re on board with this picture, direction, destination, or goal that you’re going after.
  • 53:29 That means that you have not communicated enough. You can’t be sure that they are on board unless you hear it coming from them. When, in their natural language and conversation, they talk about when you’re at this point and you achieve it and this direction you’re going—until it’s coming out of their mouth, you don’t know that you’ve effectively communicated. We talked about communication in a past episode.

The responsibility of communication is on the communicator, not the recipient of the message.

  • 54:09 You can’t just broadcast messages over a walkie-talkie and say, “Well, I communicated. I told them.” Their walkie-talkie wasn’t even on. Who’s fault is that? Is that their fault? They didn’t even know you were going to be sending a message. It’s your responsibility to both communicate and confirm the receipt of that communication.
  • 54:31 Ben: I have this picture in my mind of what success looks like, where we’re having a dinner party with another couple. We’re sitting down talking about stuff, and they say, “What are you guys doing? What are your plans, some things you’re working on?” I start to answer, but then my spouse dives in before me and is able to, in her own words, describe what it is I’m hoping to do and what my goals are. She’s taken ownership of it and she’s familiar enough with the general idea that she can communicate that. She can paint a picture of what success looks like from pursuing that.
  • 55:26 Sean: In the Newlywed Game, there are two people that are about to get married, and one of them writes down their answers to a bunch of questions. The other one also writes down what they think the other person’s answers are to those questions, and they see if they match up. How confident are you that your spouse could speak for you in any given situation? About your goals, your morals and principles, your ethics, the things you want to work on, what’s important to you, where you’re going? I’m not just talking about standing by, watching them talking, and adding little things. If they were to broadcast on your Twitter ten messages a day for the next seven days, how confident are you that they would represent you well?

Your level of confidence in how well your spouse could represent your goals indicates your level of communication with your spouse.

  • 56:55 Ben: One of my favorite things is when Rachel is trying to communicate something to her audience, either through Facebook or a newsletter, and she’s feeling a little bit frustrated or she’s run out of time and she needs to work on other things. We’ve had enough of a conversation about it and so much history of communicating her goals and the things that she wants that I understand how she would communicate a specific message to her audience enough that I’m able to actually just go into her account and do it on her behalf.
  • 57:38 Nobody knows the difference. I love that, because it’s almost like I can put on my Rachel hat real quick. I have that level of comfort. I believe that she does for me as well, although I don’t put her in that situation as often. Can you put on your spouse’s hat and pretend to be them?

Finding a Significant Other in the Hustle

  • 58:24 Sean: We’ve got another question from Alex, “How do you find a significant other when all you do is hustle 10, 12, or 14 hours a day?” To me, there are two possibilities. One is that you find someone who is also hustling at their thing, and you support them. What’s going to be really hard is if someone else has no ambition, no drive, and no dreams, and all they want to do is spend time with you, and you’re hustling 10 to 14 hours a day. That’s going to be bad news.
  • 59:31 You’re either going to have to match up with someone who’s preoccupied with their own things, or maybe their love language isn’t time and you can buy them gifts or something. Think of life in seasons. Maybe you’re hustling 10 to 14 hours a day now, but hopefully that’s not always going to be your situation. Maybe you build the business up, get the traction, put in the hustle hours now, and then it kind of runs on it’s own and you have a little bit more freedom. Then, you can allocate time towards going and meeting people.
  • 1:00:13 Ben: You can’t time those things, either. If that’s something that you want, you can’t say, “I’m going to build this business until it’s sustainable, and then I’m going to begin searching.” You don’t have control over that. You can’t flip a switch, and that’s when it’s going to happen. You have to be a little bit flexible. Prepare yourself for that possibility. If you want somebody to share the hustle with you, you may find somebody you connect enough with to spend the rest of your time together, but they’re not on the same page as you with your hustle. Are you willing to do the work to figure that out?
  • 1:01:09 Are you prepared to put this thing you’ve been building aside, potentially lose momentum, to invest in a new relationship and see where it goes? Those are questions you have to be able to answer for yourself, because those are real possibilities you have to deal with. It’s kind of silly to think that you could time that out perfectly to where you have all of your ducks in a row. Life rarely works that way. It’s nice if it does, but don’t plan on that.

Supporting Your Spouse’s Dreams

  • 1:01:39 Sean: Daniela says, “Do you have any advice for how to help a significant other get on board with their own dreams? Is dreaming big something you can help someone with, or is it something we all have to figure out for ourselves?” Because I’m who I am and I do this show, I’m all about helping you achieve what you want to achieve, so I might be overbearing with Laci. I’m like, “Alright! Let’s do this thing! What do you want to do? How can I support you? What resources do you need? Let’s go go go! 6am, hustle time!” I don’t know.
  • 1:02:18 Ben: It’s like you want it more than they do.
  • 1:02:23 Sean: Laci’s been listening this whole time. Maybe she can answer that in the chat. How do you help a significant other get on board with their own dreams? I think all you can do is be supportive. Laci knows that I’m here for her and I want to help her. I’ve told the story of how one of her dreams is to live in New York City. That’s not necessarily one of my dreams. One of my dreams, which is a big goal right now but, in the scheme of life, will be a smaller goal, is that I want to own a Lamborghini. That’s the dream car I’ve had since I was a kid, and I’m not letting anyone else talk me down from my own dream.
  • 1:03:24 That’s something I’m going to achieve. At some point in the future, I will have a Lamborghini. It’s going to be in a garage somewhere, and ideally, I’m going to be able to drive it. If I’m in New York City, that’s really difficult—to store something like that and to drive it at all and have it be any fun. Those two things seem incompatible. If we were operating from a standpoint of “no,” it would be really easy to disqualify both of those. We try to see things in a way where we figure out how this can work.
  • 1:04:01 If that means that we live in New York City for a year and we put the Lamborghini in storage, that’s what we do. We’re going to find a way to enable. I like podcasting. I’m an introvert. I like peace and quiet. I stay at home for days at a time. I’m not a super big fan of a lot of noise, not being able to record, not being able to drive, and not being able to have peace and quiet. I’m not worried, upset, or bitter about that, because I’m so excited to enable her dream. She’s always been excited to enable mine.

You can’t force someone to go after their goals and their dreams, but if you’re there for them and you’re supportive, that’s the best gift you can give them.

  • 1:05:00 Ben: A lot of it has to do with the mindset.
  • 1:05:12 Sean: Laci says, “Just support, not overbearing support.”
  • 1:05:20 Ben: Maybe they don’t believe in themselves or they feel like it’s not possible right now. Whatever the factors are, it’s worth communicating and discovering what those things are. There may be things you can do to help. What if it does come down to time constraints? On top of that, they know that you could shift your schedule to open up their time, but they feel bad. If you don’t ask and probe a little bit, you don’t discover that so you can address it. In terms of mindset, if you want your spouse to have the mindset of believing they can accomplish something and having the hustle and focus to make progress toward their goal, you can’t preach at them.
  • 1:06:12 Don’t say, “If you really want this…” You need to exemplify that. Demonstrate it. Because you’re the person who’s around them most often, you’re going to rub off on them. Outside of that, the only thing you can do is to be supportive and be there for them. They’ve got to be the ones who make the decision to actually go for it.
  • 1:06:37 Sean: You can’t make someone take action, but you can be supportive, and that may lead to them taking action if they feel like that’s a safe thing for them to do. To conclude, you can’t communicate too much. You have to get your spouse on board first, before you go off and do this thing, whatever it is. That’s your full time job. All of your hours you spend on your side thing, your passion, whatever you’re hustling at, invest all of those hours in them until they’re on board. You can’t over-communicate. There has to be that trust. If you already have that, that’s awesome.
  • 1:07:17 You can build on that. If you don’t have that yet, you’ve got to start building that up. You’ve got to start investing in them. You need their support before you move forward, and the only way to get that is mutual investment. You have to give of yourself to them first.