Being an installer has us potentially working long hours. We never know what will come up at the start of a project or throughout a day. We all go in with a game plan, but in construction just like in football, you have to “call a lot of audibles.” What was supposed to be an eight-hour day can quickly turn into a 10-hour day or more, especially if your schedule is stacked. I’m not interested in calling the next client or next five letting them know I am going to be off by a day. Then, the next project starts, and it happens again and I am now calling and I am off by two days, then a week. It could quickly spiral as we all know and how often do we make time up? The funny thing about all of this though is that we communicate clearly with the client about what is going on and what will be going on. We let them know where we plan to get to, what the plan for tomorrow is, what they may need to accomplish to facilitate the project moving forward, etc. Who gets left out a lot of the time though? Our spouses or significant others.
Speaking from experience, my wife gets very frustrated with me because I don’t communicate with her. She doesn’t necessarily know when I will come home, how long an estimate may take after a project or that I need to make a supply run on the way home. Meanwhile, she is at home trying to figure out when to have dinner ready so that I can have a warm meal and sit down with my family. There are also all of the activities my kids have: Cub Scouts, swim lessons, therapies, school and doctors. If we aren’t on the same page, everything can fall apart rather quickly.
What have I done to remedy this as best I can? Well, I will admit, I am still not the best at notifying her when my day is going long because I get so hung up on just getting things wrapped up. Something that is working is a shared digital calendar so we can each see everything going on. I can schedule appointments around my kids' activities so that I can be there for them. She knows that I try and work 7am to 3pm or 4pm. Her day can be built around that for the most part. We have to work together to build the dream and be a successful family.
I see far too many posts online or hear conversations from people where they get annoyed that their partner doesn’t understand what they do and why the hours are the way they are. It can lead to a very stressed and unsuccessful relationship. How many people do you know in the industry that are on marriage number two or three? The saddest part is that we fail to realize they just want time with us. They simply want to be in the loop and know what is going on. Is it really that hard to pick up a phone and make a call these days, send a text, an email, instant message or Facetime? We have absolutely no excuse for not keeping our partners in the loop. At the end of the day, they just want to know what is going on and when something can happen.
Things that can help a marriage or partnership would include finding the time to sit down and talk about where the ship is going. I like to use a canoe for my example ship. Putting a couple in a canoe could be the ultimate test. If both of them try and power it or steer it, then the canoe is not going to go anywhere. It takes teamwork and communication to get the canoe where you want it to go. Only one person can steer and only one person can power it forward. The combination makes the mission successful. You have to have clear goals in life, in business and in relationships. They need to be communicated; they need to be worked towards; and it will take both people. When we get so caught up in the business and the floors, things can quickly fall apart and a rough personal life will affect how your business is going as well. You have to keep your life balanced.
I am by no means an expert at any of this. If you listen to the 100th episode of the Floor Academy Podcast (Patience, Understanding and Sunflower bags), my wife and two other amazing wives talk about their relationships with their flooring industry husbands. I am immediately thrown under the bus and have no problem with that. My focus hasn’t always been in the right place and my wife has put up with a ton to allow me to build what I have. I think this episode is a great look at how different couples are handling different aspects of their marriage after years in the industry. I’m the new guy, then there is the guy in the middle and a guy winding down. We could all learn a lot from the guy in the middle and the guy winding down. I think my wife also got perspective from the other wives that have been at this longer than her. This episode has something for both sides of the relationship to hear and gain something from.
I don’t have it all down. My marriage isn’t magically fixed because I know something to be true. I still have to put in the effort to make it happen and that doesn’t happen every day. I like to believe I am constantly getting better—that as things evolve in my business, I am able to get back to my family more and give them the time they want and the communication they need. I know one thing for sure though—nothing I have would have been possible without my wife, and I don’t think many people realize that. I would not have been able to accomplish three quarters of what I have without her by my side. So, if you see her at a trade show with me or you meet us in person, please be sure to thank her for her sacrifices and not me for what I have done. It is only because of her that Illustrious Hardwoods or Floor Academy exists. My final note is to go home and thank your partner for what they have allowed you to do. Appreciate them for all they bring to the table. Let them know what you have going on, where the business is headed and where you want your relationship to go.
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