Learning to deal with painful personal relationships prepares you for all the ups and downs of starting a business.
May 31, 2019 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
“I’m not sure I can do this anymore.”
“My heart hurts.”
“He literally just stopped responding to me.”
“It seems like it’s happening for everyone else, when is it my time?”
“I don’t want to start over. I’ve worked so hard on this. I will feel like a failure.”
“I’m way past my prime. I should have figured this all out by now.”
These are all things I’ve said to my mom. Via text. In person. On the phone. You’re probably thinking I was venting to my mom about some guy I was dating. You’re equally right and wrong. Let me explain. I am 37, single and have dated every type of man there is. And also, I am an entrepreneur.
This is my dating life in six words: Excitement. Fear. Success. Disappointment. Regret. Acceptance.
This is my entrepreneurial life in six words: Excitement. Fear. Success. Disappointment. Regret. Acceptance.
My dating life and entrepreneurial life aren’t that different. They have so much in common that one morning I woke up with one of those Oprah “aha” moments. I realized that the ups and downs I was feeling as I journeyed through all the stages of being a business owner were almost identical to the ups and downs of a relationship. Here are a few examples:
Dating: We went out on a few dates. I thought things were going great. Then, he ghosted me.
Entrepreneurship: I met an angel investor at a networking event. We exchanged a few emails. Then, he ghosted me.
Dating: I’ve been on Bumble for like 6 months. I swipe, date, repeat. Swipe, date, repeat. It feels like I’m never going to actually meet someone so I can stop swiping.
Entrepreneurship: I’ve applied to 20 accelerators and incubators. Apply, get denied, repeat. Apply, get denied, repeat. It feels like I’m never going to actually get into one of these things so I can stop filling out applications.
Dating: For the first three months things were great with this guy I was dating, then he turned into the devil.
Entrepreneurship: For the first three months things were great with this new developer I hired, then he turned into the devil.
Dating and entrepreneurship…not that different. They both can be an emotional roller coaster, frustrating and uncomfortable in the beginning. But they can also be rewarding, fun and full of excitement.
This might sound strange, but getting your heart broken is like winning the lottery when it comes to being a business owner. If like me, you’ve had a few unpleasant romantic relationships, then lucky you because you have all the skills and experience you need to be an entrepreneur. Be thankful for that idiot who didn’t see your value and that serial cheater who broke your heart. They prepared you to start your business, grow your business and even walk away when you need to.
There are days I want to hop out of bed and sprint to my computer so I can get to work on my business as quick as possible. And there are days I want to hide under the covers hoping I can just pretend this particular day doesn’t exist. And then there are all those days in between. Regardless of the type of day I’m having — whatever good or bad may come my way — I know how to cope and I know how to deal because if I survived the mess that was my dating life I can surely survive anything the entrepreneurial life can throw at me!