That feeling in the pit of your stomach is inescapable. You are the one everyone else looks to for advice, leadership, and problem-solving at work, but at home, you don’t know how to fix it. And every day, the space in your marriage is growing wider and wider…
This is such a common problem for high performing professionals. The traits and characteristics that made you a successful leader are the exact traits and characteristics that are ruining your personal life.
What’s even more surprising? The reasons that a business fails are the exact same reasons that a marriage fails; not adapting to change, ignoring warning signs, failing to learn from past mistakes and not paying enough attention (taking your eye off the ball). As a divorce lawyer and unintended break-up coach, I have some ideas that can help you get your marriage back on track before it’s too late.
You are the king of decision making…at work. You are able to intake information quickly and make decisions fast. You know how hard it is to make tough calls for the greater good, and you understand that this may disappoint people, including your biggest supporters. The problem is making quick decisions in your personal life is not so effective. In fact, it can be a total disaster because you are only one half of the decision-making team. When dealing with emotional issues, including how your partner feels, you often need to slow down, make inquiries and “talk things out.” Recognize that you may be the top dog at work, but you need to re-adjust that mindset before walking in the door.
You are a pro at multi-tasking and checking things off your list. You literally have a hundred things to get done in a day, and you need to move fast and deal with it now. In your personal life, the idea of “checking” boxes feels dismissive. No one wants to feel like they are a “checked box”. And it’s not always a good time to “deal with it now”. Timing matters so much when it comes to having relationship conversations with your partner. Ditch the notion of “getting it done” and accept that the conversation may require more time and it may not even get done in one talk.
The number one talent that has made you the success you are is that you adapt to change. Not only do you adapt – you are the champion of change. You embody the company’s vision, and you know exactly how to get there in the midst of crazy market conditions. You understand that change is inevitable in an organization. So why do you expect that your relationship at home will stay the same? You ignore the warning signs, and before you know it, things have started falling apart. What if instead, you had a vision for your relationship, and better yet, what if you shared that vision with your partner?
I know what you are going to say. I’m exhausted. I give everything I have to the company during the day; when I come home at night, I want to relax and enjoy some downtime with my partner. I don’t want to be challenged or hassled. Your energy, attention and patience are in short supply by the end of the day. You’re right – you do need to recharge. You can’t be a high performer all day at work and the perfect partner at night. But what if you carved out time to spend with your partner. Quality time will exceed quantity all day, any day. Find hobbies that you and your partner might enjoy together – a golf game on a Saturday morning followed by lunch, perhaps? Maybe it’s as simple as a glass of wine after dinner on the back deck – no electronics, no binging emails, just a conversation. One thing I know for sure is that people want to know that they matter. And the best part? You can do any of these things now – and they will start to show immediate results. And you can say goodbye to that pit in your stomach feeling and maybe even replace it with butterflies. More importantly, you will avoid a visit to my office.
Written by Anna-Marie Musson.
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