Are you an entrepreneur or business owner? Has your business ever had a negative impact on your family life? How can you use your business to empower your family and have your family provide a reason for the business?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks to Adam & Kerry Anderson about their entrepreneurial journey over the last 14 years, how it nearly destroyed their family, and how they overcame it.
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Meet Adam & Kerry Anderson
Kerry Anderson is Chief Family Officer at Whole Life Entrepreneurship. Kerry left her career as a pediatric nurse to be a stay-at-home mom when her husband Adam (a serial entrepreneur) began spending more time traveling for work. This lifestyle quickly took its toll on their relationship.
Under the stress of their crumbling marriage, Kerry and Adam sought counseling, meanwhile developing their own business-based methods for rebuilding their relationship. Today they’re on a mission to share what they’ve learned, supporting other entrepreneurial couples as they navigate the chaotic world of marriage and entrepreneurship.
In This Podcast
- The start of Adam & Kerry’s journey
- The ugliness
- Breaking point
- What helped Kerry get herself back
- Finding a balance between family and business in entrepreneurship
- The entrepreneurial circus
- Making family and business work
The start of Adam & Kerry’s journey
Fourteen years of entrepreneurship really took its toll on their relationship and their family. Entrepreneurship has some very specific stressors that can add to the stress that the families are under. It got really bad and ugly for Adam & Kerry but they came out the other side and learned a lot of things along the way. They have become very passionate about sharing those things with entrepreneurs and helping them to create lives of success without regrets, live a life of purpose, and be able to build a business that really matters to them.
Adam was responsible for bringing in the money, while Kerry was at home with the kids as CFO – Chief Family Officer. Kerry ran the house and Adam was away a lot so would parent over the phone via FaceTime, resulting in their 2-year old son calling him “Adam” instead of “Dad” because he was gone so much. Adam became obsessed with the business and Kerry was completely obsessed with the family. They began to resent each other which built really toxic relationships inside the family. They weren’t looking at it from a holistic point of view. Adam’s entire identity became the business so when he came home and the one he wanted to be a giant fan of his wasn’t, it was a real blow, and vice versa. In the beginning, Kerry wasn’t involved in the business at all and felt that the business was the sun and the rest of them revolved around it. They completely built their life around what the business needed. Kerry had to give up her own career to be at home, which she agreed to but it resulted in resentment. They were no longer a priority to each other and it became toxic.
She went and got healthy and was having a great time. And I looked at her for a year, waiting for her to come back to being unhealthy. And she’s like, nope, you’re drowning in the ocean, I’m on the beach. I got a towel laid out next to me, you should totally come and hang out but I’m not going back in the water to drown with you. And she led by example, she led with compassion to lead with wisdom and eventually I clued in that there was a better way.
Kerry called Adam one day and told him that she had decided NOT to leave him which was a huge shock to Adam as he didn’t know that that was even on the table. She told him that she would not leave, she would love him as is but wouldn’t carry on living that was so was going to take the steps to heal and become someone she likes again. Adam didn’t change direction at first, he found it hard to kick the habits, behaviors, and beliefs that were so ingrained in him. He believed that they were there to keep him safe but they were actually the things causing him harm.
They learned that no matter how bad it gets, they can get through it together. They also learned that they weren’t the only ones that this was happening to. After Kerry wrote her book, it became clear that this lifestyle has a particular set of stressors and it’s really hard to get the right kind of help. The stress turned Kerry into someone she didn’t like and THAT person is the one who didn’t like Adam.
What helped Kerry get herself back
A little bit of a lot of things, and a lot of trying to get herself out of the roles she had put herself in for so long. Kerry had to step back and start taking control of her own life and stop blaming Adam and the business. She realized one day that she had lost touch with all of her hopes and dreams and needed to start over. Kerry tried new things and reconnected with her creative self. This ended up giving her a community of creative, supportive people who made her better. Adam saw that Kerry was in this healthy community and slowly gravitated towards it as well. Accidentally on purpose, they became leaders in this community which showed them they had something worth sharing.
Finding a balance between family and business in entrepreneurship
It is shocking how many people, after working so long on something, have forgotten what makes them happy and they’re just on autopilot.
The most common question Adam would get was “How do I convince my wife to let me start a business?” This is the wrong kind of question to be asking. Adam & Kerry would start hanging out with these people – Kerry would talk to the spouse, and Adam would talk to the entrepreneur. It was a natural progression to coaching.
The three common hidden stressors in entrepreneurial families
- Feeling of “Alone”
- Feeling of “Stress”
- Feeling of “Scared”
Obsession is also very common with business owners. It takes priority over the care of themselves and the care of those important to them. Adam & Kerry ask people these questions to try to help them get healthy again:
- What is your purpose?
- Are you bringing your best self to other parts of your life?
- Are you staying healthy?
- Are you communicating well with your partner?
- Are you showing up for your kids and friends?
- Are you your best self across all areas of your life?
The entrepreneurial circus
There’s so much to look at, there’s so much to do! You forget that you have a family in the circus with you. People need a methodology, a step-by-step guide to systemize their behaviors. You use business processes and systems all of the time to scale and make your company efficient, why aren’t you doing the same thing in your life?
Making family and business work
- Adam & Kerry work together from home so there are several opportunities for them to touch base but they prefer to have a weekly standup which they call a “family business meeting” – no longer than 30mins. It’s an opportunity for them to touch base about the schedule, the money, their multiple businesses, the kids, what went well that week, and to ask for help.
- They practice good communication to try and get ahead of the conflict before it happens.
- They also ensure that they protect their weekends as that time is for their kids.
- They had to delegate and pull in some outside help at certain times to help them with some things so that they wouldn’t run themselves into the ground.
Books by Kerry Anderson
Other books mentioned in this episode
- Theresa Leskowat, Dawn Brunkenhoefer, and Jenny Emerson Met a Year’s Worth of Goals in Three Months | PoP 457
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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