2018 Leadership Resolution: Conduct A Performance Review At Home

By Randy H. Nelson

The holidays have come to an end, and it is time to get back to work.

For entrepreneurs and leaders around the world, I can only imagine how anxious you are to get going when there are so many mountains still to climb!

But before you dive head-first into your business, it is also time to finalize your new year’s resolutions. As we get moving into 2018, ask yourself this question:

Have you ever been hyper-focused at work to the point where your home life seems to always take a back seat?

Maybe you are in the middle of a startup and are feeling exhilarated. Maybe you are so fired up about your current leadership challenge that you are mentally and physically all in, 110% … to work.

What if, at the peak of your over-commitment, you asked your significant other for a review of your performance, at home, from their perspective? What would they say?

I received such a review last year. At the peak of her frustration—during the period when I was hyper-focused on my third business startup—my wife sent me a letter in the form of an Entrepreneur’s Marriage Survival Kit.

Beware, this is not for the faint of heart. When I shared this letter with my peers, they immediately shared it with their significant others, and asked that I share it with everyone, everywhere. As you will see, this letter is what I needed to hear, but not necessarily what I wanted to hear.

Your role in this letter? Sit back, and imagine yourself receiving this feedback from your significant other. Before getting defensive, try to put yourself in their shoes. Listen to what is being said before replying.

Entrepreneur’s Marriage Survival Kit

  1. Appreciation – Never, ever, ever underestimate the cost of your passion and obsession to your partner. Entrepreneurs are driven by forces alien to others. You can be a difficult, emotionally distant, preoccupied partner.
  2. Understanding – Make sure to attempt to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Understand how it feels to always come second to an unbeatable rival.
  3. Accept Reality – A good entrepreneurial partner is able to enjoy a full life on their own. Your laser focus on your business makes this a necessity for their survival. Embrace this. Expect your partner to look forward to the time you do get to spend together, but do not expect them to be ecstatic if this attention comes in the form of leftover crumbs you dole out after your work has completely consumed the best of you. They deserve better.
  4. Watch Your Ego – A certain level of arrogance is necessary for the successful entrepreneur. Confidence in yourself is endemic for success. However, be mindful of how this plays out with your partner. Make it a habit to control how much you talk about work and yourself. Your partner loves to discuss your latest ideas, but they also desire a partner who brings more to the table than their passionate business obsession. Strive to make yourself an interesting conversationalist and person outside of your business. There is a big world outside your company … notice it.
  5. Constant Reflection – Listen to that inner voice (and your partner) when you are in a danger zone. Entrepreneurial marriages fail. A lot. Many partners simply get tired of taking a back seat to your business. They move on to someone who is not consumed and is capable of the give and take necessary for a good partnership. Give more. Take less. Heed their warnings.
  6. Join A Group – Join one of the many entrepreneurial groups available. Spending time with like-minded people will help give you an outlet for your fantastic ideas and also demand accountability from you. Learn from your peers both professionally and personally.

So how are you doing with your own performance at home? What New Year’s resolution should you make in 2018 after reading this letter?

The second half of the letter my wife wrote will be included in The Third Decision, the intentional entrepreneur, the next book to be published in my Decision Series for Entrepreneurs®. The book is built around the top regrets entrepreneurial leaders typically have in their lives. In the book, I challenge each of you to raise your self-awareness, and to set your non-negotiables in your personal life; these are the decisions on which you are not willing to compromise.

The book will be released in 2018 and you can follow progress via my social media posts or at randyhnelson.com.


Randy H. Nelson is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, coach, former nuclear submarine officer, and author of The Second Decision with ForbesBooks. Learn more at randyhnelson.com.

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