My husband Zach and I work together as Realtors, and we literally spend nearly all day every day together. So many people have said to us that they could never work with their spouse, and we honestly don’t know how we could possibly work apart from each other. (Sickening, I know…but read on, I promise to keep this real).
In our business, we place a strong emphasis on social media marketing and have been making nerdy videos of us educating others on home ownership or showing houses (subscribe to our business YouTube Channel!). In these videos we obviously look happy and like we’re having fun, but the truth of the matter is that behind-the-scenes sometimes we may be arguing. One house that we went into involved yelling at each other in between every shot – LOL. We look back at it and laugh now, but at the time it was a pretty miserable. While we love social media and use it as a useful tool and to keep in touch with our friends, let’s be REAL: we really only portray our “highlight reels” instead of posting what is actually real. So while I would say we have a happy and loving marriage, this does not come without WORK and VULNERABILITY. We’ve learned that no relationship is perfect, and that fighting and arguing can be a normal (and healthy) part of growth!!
In fact, at the beginning of our relationship, Zach and I fought a lot and broke up numerous times (at least 4). We would have a big blowout, not know how to communicate effectively to each other about it, and decide to break up in some dramatic fashion. The next day we’d realize we couldn’t stand being broken up, so we’d forgive each other and get back together. This would go on and on until we finally had a huge breakup that lasted 5 absolutely miserable days. (I wish I could say we were in high school at the time, but we were definitely full-grown adults doing this). One day we were sitting in this class at work together, and I passed him a note that said “EP?” on it.
E to P – something I learned early on in my real estate career that has drastically changed the way I think and the things I take on to help our business grow. All credit goes to Keller Williams Realty for teaching us this concept that I am so thankful for. I was in a training class called “Quantum Leap” (which you should definitely check out if you ever get the chance!), and they introduced this subject. “E to P” talks about going from an “entrepreneurial” mindset to a “purposeful” mindset. The instructor taught us that if we approach our business in an entrepreneurial way (or simply rely on our talents alone), you will eventually hit a ceiling that you won’t be able to break through. Have you ever ran into that in a career path?? I have!
I looked at this graph and realized it described my dance career. I just couldn’t ever get past the point of keeping my dance career something sustainable for me – I was relying just on what came naturally to me instead of educating myself on how to break through. This led me to just want to give up instead of pushing through. When you can take your career from entrepreneurial to purposeful, that’s where the magic happens. 🙂 Instead of just striving to focus and do what we’re already good at, going from E to P requires you to think outside your comfort zone to break through your natural ceiling of achievement. The way you do that is through LEVERAGE – getting some help in the areas where you may struggle to help take you to the next level. When we applied this strategy to my business, I was able to focus on the activities that may not be my favorite, but would bring the most value and growth to my business. Today, this leverage comes in the form of a transaction coordinator to help us not get bogged down by small details in a transaction and to focus on continuing to grow our business and provide excellent customer service to our clients. We also work with a business coach (shout-out to Agent Rise Coaching) who helps us see past our insecurities to push forward and keep growing even through discomfort, all while training us to prevent burn-out.
We’ve come to find out that our society is so focused on strategies for growing our businesses or climbing up the corporate ladder (we are guilty of this too!), but lacks training on how to maintain our values in our home lives and keep our families thriving. Since Zach and I work together, we’ve been lucky to be able to incorporate these business strategies even into our relationship – who’s to say we can’t kill two birds with one stone!? So when I passed him that note in our real estate class, he knew that I meant I wanted to work through things so we could make up. E to P in our relationship has been hugely impactful for us, and without it we could easily get stuck in crabbiness and resentment at each other. Granted we’ve only been at this for a year (happy anniversary to us!!), here are 4 ways we’ve been working to implement it so far:
Marriage Seminars : We set a goal for ourselves to attend a quarterly marriage retreat or read a marriage book. This has been HUGELY beneficial for us because it has forced us to confront our true feelings and share them with each other (something I totally suck at doing). It’s helped us grow more emotionally intimate right from the start of our marriage.
Weekly Time Together : Each week we put time in our calendar for JUST US and no work. This is extremely hard for us, so we’ve had to create a system around it to make sure we stay on task. We call it a 10+10, and we’ll share more info on that in a future blog post. Basically, we make sure we carve out time to discuss our feelings about the week, affirm one another for who they are or how they’ve served this week, and ask for encouragement or support from the other person.
Slow Dance : Sometimes when we’re in an argument, Zach turns on a nice song and makes me slow dance with him in the living room. I usually hate it at first and roll my eyes, but then I come around. It’s been a good way to disarm us and bring us together even in a disagreement.
Sense of Humor : THIS IS EVERYTHING for us. Instead of holding onto anger after an argument, we’ve gotten really good at just laughing it off. We usually realize that one of us is being ridiculous and end up just giggling about it. Unless it’s something that has come up in numerous arguments or really caused pain, we can usually bounce back from an argument fairly quickly if we just learn to have a sense of humor about it.
So whatever you’re doing – building a business, working on a relationship, or turning a dream into reality – I hope you can E to P your way to a success for you! See the video below for more info from both of us.