Life Changing Conversations for Entrepreneurs

The Balancing Act of Being an Entrepreneur

(Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune / February 13, 2011)

I was brought back to my conversations with the founders in How They Did It when I read about a couple here in the US, Elza and Vivian Moses, ages 102 and 97 respectively, who’ve been married 80 years. That’s eighty years of marriage for this couple, starting from their wedding day in 1930, when Elza was 22 and his bride Vivian was 17. That’s an amazing accomplishment on so many levels of longevity, and brings up a point that a number of interviewers have been asking me since the book launched.

Do champion company founders tend to have strong marriages?

The answer is yes, but that’s not an unqualified, easy “yes”. I didn’t shy away from asking about work/life balance – but reaching great success is not always a pretty picture. Most of the champion entrepreneurs I interviewed have had what appears to be smooth sailing: one marriage over the course of many years. Based on comments from them I know that eight had at least one former marriage under their belt, and in some cases, multiple marriages.  Glen Tullman said it best – “Being an entrepreneur has everything to do with putting every second and every ounce of energy into building your business. No venture guy will ever invest in your business if you say your life is ‘in balance.’”

Most people tend to think that the external world – including work – impacts our relationships and either builds or hurts them. I think of it the other way around: if you are blessed with good personal relationships, everything flows out from that point and makes everything else easier and less important, including the circumstances of work.

The odds of Elza and Vivian living and being married that long are 1 in 7 million. Way to go –

About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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