By: Craig Goodlife
Entrepreneurs will face several personal and professional challenges throughout their careers and lifetimes, but few can be as difficult to overcome as a divorce.
Entrepreneurs Going Through a Divorce
Having a ripple effect that can affect both your business and your life, divorce is a life event that no one hopes to face, but it is, unfortunately, more common among entrepreneurs than average citizens. Still, if you handle it properly, a divorce does not have to mean the end of your business or life.
Protecting your business during divorce
One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make is to believe that their prenup covers them. Prenups don’t always do anything, especially if you build wealth and your business while married. For entrepreneurs who don’t want to risk losing half of their business to their spouse should they get separated, it is crucial to have the proper protections in place.
A postnuptial agreement is necessary to protect any assets earned after marriage. And while forming one of these agreements may seem like an awkward conversation with a spouse, there are situations apart from potential divorce in which this type of agreement could be helpful. For example, if you get sued personally and divorce your spouse, your spouse’s portion of your assets cannot be touched in the lawsuit.
Your business can be even further complicated if your spouse works with you or you run a business together. It is important to have a business partnership agreement with any company, but particularly when you are married to your partner, as this will determine what happens should you have a falling out. Especially since all businesses should have these agreements in place, it shouldn’t be too awkward of a conversation to have.
Putting yourself and your family first
However, beyond your business, it is important to remember the toll that divorce can take on your mental health. Studies have found a correlation between divorce and the formation of mental health issues, which is understandable considering that many divorces are frustrating and traumatic to both sides. Even day-to-day activities can become difficult because of the pressure you are under as part of the divorce.
As an entrepreneur, you have plenty of things on your plate at any time. It’s easier said than done, but try not to let your work affect your personal life. Just as you cannot bring your personal frustrations into the workplace, avoid bringing your work frustrations to your home. A stressful day at work is not an excuse to neglect or mistreat your spouse or kids; doing so will only make you and them resent your job.
As such, you must find a way to reset and be mentally prepared for your day. Find a way to get “in the zone” for work and leave everything from your personal life at home. There will be times throughout the day when you get distracted by your other troubles or have to take a phone call related to personal matters but find a strategy — perhaps meditation or breathing techniques — to get you in the right mindset for productivity.
Additionally, even when your work is particularly demanding, it is essential to find some time to take care of your family. It doesn’t have to be much — even a family movie night for a couple of hours can be enough to let your family know they are still a priority in your life. The temptation can be strong after a long day of work to come home and go straight to bed, but that isn’t sustainable.
Many entrepreneurs also forget to make themselves a priority. When you have so many responsibilities at work and home, it can be easy to neglect your own needs. Take some time to relax and do things that you love. Read a book for a few minutes before bed, or watch an episode of your favorite television show. This little bit of decompression every day can make all the difference in the world.
Sometimes, employees can easily forget that you — as the boss — are a person too. Especially if you are a private person and tend to suppress your emotions, chances are that your employees will have no idea what is happening in your personal life. Although you are going through a stressful experience, you cannot take your frustrations out on your employees. As a leader, your responsibility is to maintain a level head even in adversity.
Strategies to succeed despite adversity
Entrepreneurs can use several strategies to keep their morale up even in such a difficult period. One of the most effective ways to keep afloat is to find something to look forward to. There has to be something to motivate you to keep going, or you will accept defeat. Even if it’s something as simple as a concert you’re excited to attend, giving yourself something that will motivate you is essential. And once that event has passed, make sure you have something else planned to be the next one.
Stressful times are also a great time to try something new, especially something you have always wanted to try. If you have always wanted to learn a new language or take cooking classes, these things can be a solid distraction from the emotional hardships you face.
A solid support system can also help you manage the stresses of your divorce. Although your friends aren’t always going to want to hear about your divorce — and you can’t expect them to — find people who will be supportive of you. True friends who stick by your side and are willing to make plans with you and keep you busy so that your mind is off of things can help your mental health significantly.
It can be challenging as an entrepreneur to balance your personal and work lives, particularly when facing personal adversities such as divorce. However, for the sake of your business, your families, and yourself, you must learn how to do so effectively. The consequences of letting your work and personal lives interfere with each other on your mental health could be dire.
Craig Goodliffe is an entrepreneur, job creator, and CEO/Founder of Cyberbacker, the leading provider of world-class administrative support and virtual assistant services from anywhere in the world to anyone in the world. Goodliffe shares insight from his own personal experience to help other entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of divorce.