This week Jason and I celebrated our 22nd Wedding Anniversary and in honour of this milestone and this remarkable man, I’m sharing a post written by Jason himself. In this open and honest testimonial, Jason shares his viewpoint on our journey together and how we made it through the tough times. My hope is this may this inspire others to step out on their own and to know times can get tough but you can get through it with the right support network behind you.
“During our early married years, we had a very typical working life. Both Amanda and I worked for various firms and set about paying off what at the time seemed an insurmountable mortgage. As with most couples who end up running their own business we reckoned we could do a better job of running a business than our employers at the time. So, with absolutely perfect timing, Gascoigne Consulting was up and running and within nine months our first baby arrived.
At the time, it seemed perfectly reasonable to take this all on, I mean how hard could it be? A brand-new baby boy, a new business and still an insurmountable mortgage. So, what did we do facing this challenge? We did what everyone else does in that situation, work hard with long hours, no sleep and no life. This happy little arrangement continued for many years, our little boy grew up, we welcomed another baby boy into the family, the business grew and the grind continued.
We started to think there must be an easier way. Right then, we thought “let’s employed staff to help”, now that will take the heat off! To our amazement with more staff came more pressure and more bloody work. So, we worked harder and longer hours, with even less time for each other and our boys. We had entered a treadmill with no concept of how to get off again.
Then one day a light was turned on. We had just enjoyed a wonderful weekend away with the boys at a friend’s holiday unit at Nelson Bay. It was only a weekend, after all, we could not possibly afford to get away for a whole week. I mean to say what would happen if a client called into the office unannounced and Amanda wasn’t there to greet them, make them a coffee and reassure them that, yes, their daughter in law’s youngest sister’s best friend had indeed dropped off their shoe box of receipts, and that yes we will attend to this immediately, even though their tax is not due for another 6 months. Surely the sky would fall in. We had a novel idea in mind. What if Amanda did not make herself available 24/7? Revolutionary I know, but perhaps worth a try. We decided to go back to our friend’s unit the following weekend and get this, we were going to leave Friday morning. An incredible thing happened on that Friday, the sky didn’t fall in, the world didn’t end, in fact, everything went just fine.
It sounded simple but it worked. We simply made a conscious decision to find a reasonable balance between the stress of running a business and our ongoing wellbeing – a work/life balance! This did not happen overnight, in fact, it took Amanda years through trial and error to work out the best strategy to achieve a reasonable balance. I don’t have the time to explain all her strategies, suffice to say they have worked. The last 5 years of our lives have been truly remarkable. We have completely changed our way of life. Our business has continued to flourish and our way of life has improved dramatically. We still have a mortgage, there are still stressors and various hoops to jump through, and at times we still hit roadblocks that we did not see coming. However, we are spending more quality time together as a family, more time with our friends and more time doing the things we love.
One final personal note, it is not always easy watching a workaholic partner put their heart and soul into their business. They can become so emotionally attached to the business that their well being can suffer. I married a young woman many years ago, with time, of course, she grew and changed, however, there were times she became nearly unrecognisable. I’m grateful now that for the right work/life balance, the energetic young woman I remembered is back.
People say you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but trust me, you can get pretty close!”
Original Post by Jason Gascoigne