Running a business is hard, and so too is maintaining a happy marriage. Especially when you want to be successful at both, at the same time!

Julie Richman, author of Dynamic Duos: The Essential Guide For Couples In Business Together, knows this as well as anyone.

While she’s a successful entrepreneur and happily married now, it didn’t start out that way.

“My first marriage and business nearly killed me,” she told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast.

“I was left emotionally burned out, mentally and financially destitute. And just absolutely exhausted beyond all shadow of a doubt.

“So I had to really go and say, well who’s responsible for my happiness? It’s me. So am I happy? Is the first question. Probably not. So if I’m honest with myself with the answer, and the answer comes back as no, then I’ve really got to do something about that. I can’t blame anybody else for me not being happy.”

On her rise from rock bottom, Julie learned that most relationship problems start with a lack of ‘self-love’.

“If we can’t love our self, how can we possibly believe that somebody else can love us?” she said.

“So we look outside of ourselves, and this comes back to the religion, as we were taught ‘do unto others as you wish to be done to you’. All these phrases that’ve been sprouted about since the dawn of time and things like that. So we’re constantly pouring our love into somebody else, expecting and waiting for them to pour it back.

“So this ‘love others as you want’, ‘do unto others as you want to be do’ … ‘if you love somebody, they’ll love you back’, we’ve got it all twisted around the wrong way.

“If we love us first, and then they get the overflow, we’re actually pouring out 100 times more than we could ever possibly do and not feeling left drained or exhausted or emotionally destitute ourselves.”

Having learned from her own experience, and many others around her, Julie has developed a methodology of ‘five C’s’ to set the foundations for a relationship that can be equally successful in the work place and at home.

“We’re talking about clarity, about who we are and what we do, and who our partner is,” she said.

“The commitment levels, why we came together in the first place. To build a solid foundation on anything, you have to have effective communication. So we talk about how to handle conflict, and discussions and things like that with your partner.

“Once you’ve got a solid personal foundation in your relationship, then we can move into cooperation which is talking more about system, structures, roles, responsibilities in the business, and how to effectively have good teamwork. Then the last C is collaboration, which is about combining your hearts and minds together to put into a vision about that journey forward.”

One of the most important pieces of advice that Julie gives to other couples in business is to be careful what you focus on.

“The thing I come back to is, what we focus on grows,” she said.

“Now if I was to focus on all the negatives in my husband, I could probably find a million of them. But I choose not to. I choose to focus on the positives that he contributes to the relationship, to the business. I thank him for that every day. What happens is, he actually appreciates being appreciated, and therefore works harder. Therefore our success grows much quicker. Our journey is much smoother, and I think that that contributes to the success just by being loving, unconditionally loving and appreciate and accepting of each other. Accepting of our mistakes.”

Listen to the full interview here.

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