After nearly sacrificing his marriage he learned that balance is about putting your focus on what is most important.
On January 2nd, 2010 I married the woman of my dreams. But less than four years later, I almost threw away the relationship in pursuit of an undefined goal.
“You love your business more than you love me,” she said with tear-filled eyes.
The words hit me and I was speechless for a few moments.
“But I’m doing this for you—for our family,” I replied.
“It sure doesn’t seem that way. I never see you anymore.”
My actions only confirmed her words as I spent countless hours working in front of the computer.
A great marriage deteriorated
I skipped date nights, argued against shopping together on Saturdays, and declined going on long walks. We stopped doing all the things that we loved doing together: watching Japanese anime, cuddling in the mornings, bargain hunting at garage sales.
“Honey, I just need to get my business off the ground, and then you and I can spend more time together.” I said.
But this never happened. We continued to grow further apart.
A mentor changed everything
I wondered to myself, “Is this what success looks like? Does making job-free income have to ruin my marriage?”
So I began to search for answers on “fix” my marriage and run a business while maintaining my 9-5 job.
I first turned to my personal board of directors. These are my mentors who I turn to with hard questions about my business. I called each of them and inquired how they managed their businesses and marriages.
One said, “Your marriage’s success or failure directly affects your business’ success or failure.”
In order to succeed in my business, I knew I had to succeed in my marriage.
The Idea of Balance
I let my business control me. I prioritized it above all else. But that had to change. I knew I wanted “balance” but a balanced life was unclear to me. It was something distant and undefined.
In Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing, he states, “A balanced life is a lie…to achieve an extraordinary result you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to all other work issues.”
The extraordinary result I wanted was a happy marriage. But at the same time, I wanted a marriage that didn’t make me feel guilty about building my dream of financial freedom.
I realized that I was spending too much time on my business and needed to prioritize setting aside time spent with my wife.
Fight for your marriage
My marriage was never perfect.
Instead of working at night, I decided to wake up at 4:45 AM every day in order to spend my evenings taking walks with my wife. I hired virtual assistants to work for me while I cuddled with my wife watching The Princess Bride. I hired consultants to guide my next business decision to prevent wasted time on projects that wouldn’t lead to increased clients.
Relationships do not work if you are not investing into them. Time is required.
After speaking with my mentors, I applied their wisdom to my life. My business income grew over 10X. The amount of time I spend with my wife came back to what it was before my business took over my life. Our relationship dramatically improved and my family doubled in size too.
My wife and I were walking in the spring air the other night and she said, “Alex, I’ve never been more happy and excited about our lives and what the future holds.”
If you allow a business to run your life, your marriage is at stake. Do you want to have a successful business but an awful home life? The truth is businesses open and close all the time. There are always more business opportunities. Show your spouse you care about them more than you do your career. Prioritize what matters most to you.