Entrepreneur by Marriage

Gambling is not my scene. I’ve never been sky diving or bungee jumping. Risk is scary. I lease cars because I panic over the thought of breaking down on the side of the freeway while driving an older car.  Paychecks have always landed in my account on precise intervals and that helps me sleep at night. Living safely is genetic; my parents are this way, so I come by it honestly.  

When I began dating Brooks, multiple people warned me about getting involved with a self-employed contractor. These were primarily father figures who were looking out for me with nothing but the best intentions and I heeded their advice with the same amount of attention I put into caring about the recent campaign to ban all straws. Zero effort, in case you were wondering. 

There is a certain point in a relationship where nothing you say can distract a person from the tractor beam pulling them toward the ledge called marriage many of us choose to leap from with complete abandon.

I was already there.

Early relationship conversation: 

Brooks: “I’ve never really had the bi-monthly, same amount paycheck setup in my entire life. I need you to know that I don’t fit into your meticulously planned lifestyle. This is the way I’ve always been and will forever be.”

Me: [I adore you so much that it’s all good] “Okay, babe. We’ll figure it out.”

Three months later…

Me: “When are you getting paid and how much will it be?” [I can’t plan the next 6-12 months of my life if I don’t even know what the next two weeks look like!]

Brooks: “We are on hold because of [insert problem with client] and I’m not exactly sure, although it’s probably going to be [choose any length of time that would provide you maximum uncertainty] before I get a check.”

Me: [I have no words, despite a million thoughts racing through my head. All the thoughts.]

The concept of risking everything to pursue a deep passion was foreign to me. Like an infant, I had to begin crawling as I learned that entrepreneurs typically don’t worry about risks to the degrees those of us on the other end of the spectrum, think, uh, panic about. Brooks had confidence that things work out somehow, that there is always a market for what you have to offer and you just have to connect with those people.

Eventually I was able to trust our primary business venture and know that yes, it did always seem to work out. Then I learned that born entrepreneurs are never settled on staying with one thing for very long and the ideas started cranking.  The captain never turns off the safety belt sign when you’re living with an entrepreneur.

Just when I was beginning to develop confidence in my ability to live the life of an entrepreneur’s wife, a new challenge would pop up, like something out of The Hunger Games. It has been a long season of navigating my own fears and insecurities, but I feel privileged to gain the experience from Brooks’ pursuits and to have learned four important lessons which are now part of my own credo.

The dreams and ideas living inside you are most likely bigger than you could realistically achieve on your own and in your current state. Pushing our limits challenges us to grow, to develop new skills and abilities and learn our true capacity.

It will never happen. Take one step forward. Figure out what it looks like to be in that space, then take the next step. 

We learn from our mistakes and they give us opportunities to do better. Fail forward and use the experience to your advantage.

Keep trying, whether it is a different approach to the same idea or an entirely new initiative. Your sweet spot is out there and you won’t find it if you quit.

I may never be a confident risk-taker, but I am slowly earning my chops as Brooks and I navigate this crazy life together.  Discovering ways to pursue what’s in my heart has brought much fulfillment to my life. In time, maybe I’ll step farther out on that ledge and test my limits to see what I can really do if I let go.  Just a little.

(photo credit: Sebastian Voortman from Pexels)