I once read that you can’t mix business with pleasure. After launching two businesses with the love of my life, I can safely say that you can but it’s going to take a lot of work and patience.
When Michee and I started our first business, we didn’t even think about how this is going to affect our relationship. I guess, it just slipped our mind. When business discussions turned into fights that’s when we realized Oh boy, we’re in trouble.
So we came up with rules and codes so that we don’t end up biting each other’s heads off and we’d like to share them with you.
1. We Dance in Silly Codes
It’s going to happen. You and your partner will have strained conversations. And most of the time, you don’t even remember how your discussion turned downright ugly.
We came up with a silly dance which one of us can do whenever any one of us feels like things are starting to go south and the air is just heavy with tension.
The dance basically means - “Let’s stop this. We’re getting mad. Let’s be silly instead and come back to this later when we’re both calm.”
Well, the dance is so silly that we can’t help but just laugh or crack a smile. And as simple as that, we’re not angry anymore.
2. We Also Sing in Codes Belted Out with Humor
Being turned down, doesn’t feel that good. I think we can all agree on that. When Michee and I started our first business, we both had so many ideas and of course we were excited to share them and see them implemented. Naturally, some of her ideas would clash with mine and vice versa.
And so you start hearing “Nos” and “I don’t think that’s a good idea”, “Oh let’s do this instead”.
Turns out that we can get overly enthusiastic with our own ideas that we end up not really hearing out someone else’s ideas. We immediately say NO.
When this started happening, instead of getting angry at Michee after she just turned down my idea without really listening to it, I sang this line from the song “Titanium”
"Shoot me down, but I won’t fall..."
And she got the joke and started laughing. From then on, anytime any one of us is not really listening to the other’s ideas, we belt out that very line and so we’re able to call each other out.
3.Watch Me Walk Away
When it comes to business discussions, you can get very emotional. There were numerous times wherein both Michee and I were intense and emotional about a topic and either one of us is just not on that space to hear out the other, or at times it could be that both of us just did not want to hear the other out. And so each of us were just focused on our own feelings.
It took a while for us to be able to tell that a conversation was going to end up with someone in tears. Well, it took a lot of tears before we finally sat down and established the Watch Me Walk Away rule.
So if Michee or I feel like one of us is being stubborn or that both of us are being stubborn, we can opt to suddenly walk away or stay quiet and that’s the end of the conversation for now.
The other party should not follow or insist on talking some more since it’s just not going anywhere. And we give each other a maximum of 1 hour to seethe with our anger, annoyance or just sit with our emotions. And then whoever walked away would then ask the other party if she’s okay to have that conversation again.
4. It’s Never About Winning
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that it’s never about winning nor is it about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about acknowledging each other’s emotions and talking things out calmly.
I have learned that what’s more important is hearing each other out, not making the other feel that they’re being unreasonable even if they are being unreasonable and therefore their feelings are invalid. Because that is simply not true.
The fact that the love of your life felt angry, insulted, etc. is as real as it gets. You can’t dismiss those emotions even though those weren’t your intentions.
It’s going to take practice to not focus on winning arguments or proving to your partner that you were right. It’s going to be hard but the more you practice, soon enough, it’s going to be second in your nature. What helped me get to that space are these questions.
Winning an argument and being right gets you what price in the end? What really did you win in that last argument?
But at what cost?
When I answered these questions, I was able to put things in perspective and really focused on what matters most to my heart.
So there you have it. Some of the rules and silly codes that keep this ship going. WE hope these help other couples in business together.