With 2020 upon us, the big question is: What to do differently in the coming year? It’s natural. Yet, for couples in business together, that thinking doubles up: “What do we want to get better at as a couple?”, and “How can we be smarter in business?”
No pressure there, right?
For Mr. Parker and I, two years of interviewing couples shines a light on some things we can make better in our own relationship. We’ve met couples who communicate better, who better define their down time, and who show appreciation more clearly.
But for me, the most vivid insight came from one couple speaking about how people show affection differently. I realized that I’m a words person. But Mr. Parker is a deeds person. So every time I come home from a trip and he has cleaned out one of the many closets, he’s telling me he loves me. This seemingly small revelation has helped me get better at appreciating my partner. I plan on continuing to improve on that in 2020.
As for being smarter in business, that’s the more challenging part of the equation. Consider this project called CoupleCo. It has proven mighty. We’re looking for ways to make it grow mightier. But how? Videos? Summits? Books? And if books, do we start with a business book or a storybook? This is challenging. Both Blaine and I come from creative careers. People like us have a hard time not thinking of more things we can do. And that can lead to decision paralysis. So, our big business improvement for 2020 is (drum roll)…
We need to pick the one project that we’re adding to the mix and move it forward. Is that the right thing? It has to be. We will make it thing the right thing. And after that, we’ll pick another and make that one the right thing.
And here now, The Bonus. No matter the outcome of our business resolution (and I’m working toward the best outcome), the fact that we’re going into it together with love and respect makes it all a win.
So, my wish for you is that as you face your goals for the coming year and beyond, you enjoy love and respect. And while it may come from your partner, your friends, your colleagues and your associates, please know that it also comes from us.
Cheers to a brilliant New Year,
As you probably know, Mr. Parker and I travel the country in The Couple Coach, our C-class, Sprinter-chassis RV. But there are times when flying makes more sense. And being based in Park City, UT, we have a dozen years as devoted Delta fliers. And part of our American Express credit card plan is access to Delta’s SkyClub network. It’s a calm, comfortable respite from the mayhem on the other side of the door, especially during holiday travel.
We like the easy access to coffee, tea, soup, salad, snacks and adult beverages. But it feels like we never quite fit with the club crowd. We’re surrounded mainly by business travelers, and sometimes by couples on vacation. And we sound like neither group.
The vacationers are excited. They’re a) telling everyone around them about where they’re going, or b) stressed because they haven’t covered all the bases. Here now, an actual conversation:
“I thought you reserved the car.”
“You asked, ‘Did you reserve a car?’ I said, ‘No.’”
“But I thought you’d do it.”
“I thought you’d do it.”
We are not them. And as for exciting travel, even if we’re going somewhere new and different, we’re always fitting work into it. No conversation about shopping excursions for us. It’s more logistics of how we might grab a shower before an interview, or whether we’ll have time for a bite after. If we do have time, what would be an interesting local find? (Local food finds figure heavily in our travel discussions.)
The business travelers, on the other hand, are speaking in jargon that is often canned and robotic. Usually, it involves a cell phone with earbuds: “I’m feeling strong about our third-quarter numbers in the Western market, but I think we can incentivize Jim to roll out phase two a week sooner, and springboard off Davis’s momentum.” That’s not us either. We aren’t Jim or Davis. We don’t have a Jim or Davis. In our business, if we aren’t intrinsically incentivized to move things forward, nothing happens. We say things like:
“Babe, did you get that email out to the winery couple?”
“Did it this morning”
“I love you more.”
Bottom line, we never quite find our tribe in the SkyClub. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. We like Team Parker, party of two. We like our mix of work and togetherness. And if our tribe isn’t in the SkyClub, that’s fine. It’s right here. And you’re part of it.
Cheers to the CoupleCo. It’s hard for civilians to understand. They don’t know what they’re missing.
Best to you all,
Most of the working couples we interview have hard and fast rules about downtime. Those are times when work is not allowed to creep in. We all need that time away. But, have you considered a working date?
This is something that Mr. Parker and I do regularly. It’s not that we need a break from work. There are just times when we need to free ourselves from the confines of our office walls (or, when on the road, our RV walls). It lets us open up our minds. For us, it means taking a hike. Getting out in nature. Nothing so strenuous that we can’t talk. And, depending on how much time we have, we go for anywhere from three to seven miles.
We usually pick one topic upon which to focus. We may try and hammer out something that has had us stumped. Or we may try to come at a project from a different perspective. Sometimes, we’re trying to come up with a tagline for a client. Whatever the challenge, nature is an amazing thing. It brings a freedom to our thinking. Fresh thoughts come to the surface. Yes, we may throw out 80% of what we come up with. But the other 20% can provide answers and insights that we couldn’t see from our desk chairs.
The added bonus is the positive benefits of exercise on body and mind. The added, added bonus is the bonding we enjoy as a result of our time connecting over solving problems. It strengthens us as a team.
Perhaps our tagline should be, “When in doubt, walk it out.”
Hope that's helpful.
Are Blaine & Honey Parker Relationship Experts?
Hardly. And does the world really need more of those? Instead, we are a couple who have worked together for over 20 years. We've learned a few things along the way. And now, we're traveling the nation interviewing other couples in business together. Join us for the ups, downs, ins, outs, laughs, tears (even though Honey believes Blaine has no tear ducts), and the inevitable, practical insights into being a better couple--in life, business and everything.