My husband, Elliot, was completely broke when I met him. I didn’t know this, but I also wasn’t taking our relationship too serious at the time. He was cute and we connected immediately. Things moved super quickly though, he was moving in a few months later, and we got married later that year.
It might not have been until months after we got married that he knew how much I made exactly and we started talking finances. I knew that I made more than him. I was a corporate professional and he was an hourly carpenter.
As a planner, dreamer, and ambitious gal, I would ask him about his goals and what he planned to do next. I know he wanted to prove himself and he began looking for a higher paying job. He was part of a tough crew and his boss was hard on him, but he learned a lot and was able to get paid a few dollars more per hour. He dabbled into changing professions, maybe he could become a cop or a real estate agent. Those things didn’t really take on.
He began to apply for superintendent positions. He didn’t have any experience, but he had a college degree and I assured him that was enough. He got offered a superintendent position on salary making the same (and sometimes less) than what he was currently making as a carpenter. I encouraged him to take the job and see it as an internship. “Do it for the experience,” I told him.
That was a tough job. He was expected to work all the time including taking overnight calls and Saturdays, little to no benefits and all for little pay. It was ridiculous. I was making almost twice as much and working half as much. But I knew this was temporary and also knew that he was going to head somewhere. After a year or so, he began looking for other superintendent positions.
I knew his current title and a year of experience was enough for him to get a better job – and he did! He got everything he could’ve asked for. A mentor-like boss, higher pay, a truck, and more manageable work. He was also able to get his tool belt back on a couple days a week and work physically which he really enjoyed.
Throughout, he knew his goal was to run a carpentry crew. After a year or so in his new gig, he was ready to jump ship and work for himself. He was already taking side jobs while working full time, and in May 2021 he quit to go into business for himself.
He’s doing really good. Making so much more money than he ever could working for someone else, and of course, is ready to continue expansion and become a general contractor. He really turned around his life, and more specifically did so in such a short time. He’s booked for months with commercial and residential clients, and I kinda work for him now.
So, here’s 6 tips for how a rugged English Literature major created a successful Construction company in a few months and how you can, too:
- Know Your Why
- Ride the Waves
- Celebrate Big Time
- Don’t Think, Just Act
- Be Selfish
- Three-Level Support System
One: Know Your Why
My husband is an immigrant from England, his family is originally from Ireland. He came to the U.S. with a desire for change and to leave behind his family to build a name for himself. He’s so clear and hell-bent on making this happen. He came from a working family that worked all the time, and that made him want to make sure that when he had kids, he would have enough money or a certain set up that would allow him to be present for his kids.
These are his WHY’s and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to change them for him. This is what is so valuable to him at his core. He will tell you he’s going to be somebody. As a hypnotherapist, I can guess that this likely comes from a place in his childhood when he felt less-than or someone made him feel unimportant.
It doesn’t matter how your values and drivers come to be as long as you are clear about them and lean into them. Sometimes anger in helpful here. Maybe someone told you that you can’t do something. When you are getting started, this is super helpful, but do know that as you reach new heights, you must find a way to reach for higher purpose. Anger can only take you so far. Pretty far, nonetheless, but there is a plateau.
Bottom Line: Find the why that puts fire under your belt to get going.
Two: Ride the Waves
Elliot doesn’t expect things to go smoothly. He gets out there and rides the waves. Trust me, he’s not a cool and collective type of guy. He gets angry, stressed, and worried all the time. But he never beats himself up for feeling whatever he is feeling. I think that’s what’s amazing.
He’ll be angry fully and completely and once he is done, he’ll feel happy or excited or neutral. He just rides the emotional waves without dwelling on them. He focuses on the issue and yeah, he usually over-worries and all, but he is never beating himself up about it. He’s so kind to himself in that regard.
What’s funny but not funny (it’s just an observation) is that if a crew member makes a mistake, he‘ll get pretty upset, but if he makes a mistake, he’s sort of bummed, but mostly shrugs it off. I’m not saying his behavior is right or wrong, but think about it: most of us are so hard on ourselves and so easy on everyone else. What if we gave ourselves that sort of kindness.
In my practice, I like to tell people to imagine themselves as a toddler. How would you respond to mistakes or emotions that a toddler expresses? You wouldn’t scold the child for making an honest mistake and you also wouldn’t say things like “get it together, why are you freaking out?” You might ask “what’s wrong?” or say “it’s okay, I’m here”.
Think about riding the next wave that comes to you – either an emotional wave or a circumstance – instead of fighting it. Almost expect the ebb and flow and see how much more smoothly your ride (life) becomes.
Three: Celebrate Big Time
My husband will dance and sing every time things are going well. This is such a powerful way to build momentum and acknowledge the good things in your life.
I am bad at this. I will acknowledge my failures, happy to post them on social media, but will downplay all the good things in my life. And let me be clear in case you are the same: This is not serving you.
This tells your mind that you like the lows and the failures and that success or money or good experiences are not important to you. I’ve learned to celebrate more and cherish the moment in my regular day more because I’ve seen how my husband does this. He’s shown me what it looks like to focus on the moments you love.
For him, this can be a pleasing call with a potential new client or when a check arrives in the mail. He does not for one second think, it’s just a call or now I have to do the work. He’s just happy for the moment like a child on Christmas morning at least a couple times a week. It’s a really great habit to adopt!
Every single time you take an act of courage, you make a call, or you get some money (no matter how small), you must learn to celebrate it fully and completely!
Four: Don’t Think, Just Act
Another hard one for me as an over-thinker and active planner in just getting to action. What’s interesting is that he and I probably trade off the areas where we overthink. He will overthink a potential problem and make it bigger in his head. I am really good with problems because I’m solution-oriented and trust so much in resolution. Bumps on the road don’t bother me.
Where I overthink is in new ventures. I will do so much research and planning to the point of paralysis. I think it comes from my business background with business plans, forecasts, profit-and-loss analysis, marketing, etc. I literally have to have a glimpse to the end of the road (and all potential variations of it) before I’ll take a step and that’s absolutely ridiculous because no one knows anything until they jump in.
He will do minimal pre-planning and just starts cold calling or setting up what he needs. He avoids all details and just plows straight ahead focusing on the key activities required. He’ll ignore email, texts, laundry, chores, minor details, etc. to ensure the key activities are handled. This is absolutely annoying as his wife and roommate, but clearly an aspect of his success.
He doesn’t come from corporate or business background, so in his mind the path to business is quite simple: Get the money and get the work done. I envy this mentality so much.
Five: Be Selfish
Learning to be selfish is the characteristic that I believe made the universe connect us. I know for sure that this is my current life lesson and that he is the primary character responsible to be my teacher for it. It’s quite annoying to be honest because it requires him to show me every single day what it looks like to be selfish, to care about yourself, your desires, your wants and that’s it.
Meanwhile, I’m over here as a middle-child, Latino-raised, inclusive community oriented trying to still rid myself of the guilt and shame of just being myself – expressing my individuality. I do realize now for sure that it was only my selfishness that has allowed me to go to university instead of working to “help pay the bills”, travel the world, and truly find my joy and now ability to help others do the same.
I know now that the more I give myself away, the less I actually have to offer. Like Oprah once explained, you want to be full of yourself because that’s the only way you can overflow to others. Or like Abraham Hicks explains, you can’t be poor enough to help the poor or sick enough to help the sick.
This means you must must must focus on yourself, create the best and highest version of yourself, tap into that every single day, fill yourself up with the things you love and enjoy, and then maybe if you are filled and high-flying enough can you be of service and even have the capacity to bless others.
Think about it – do you want to work with anyone that is stressed out, miserable, and constantly sacrificing themselves for the sake of others? Would you hire someone like this? Would you marry someone like this? Then, why do you insist on being this person?
The most successful people have learned that they have to work on their fitness, health, mindset, spirituality, and self-love in order to show up in a way that they can benefit others.
I’m so much better at this now, but I live with the teacher that the universe gave me to emphasize this lesson. So, I constantly find myself doing things that have nothing to do with my joy, betterment, or success. I find myself doing things for him that he’s not even asking me to do. And I’m trying to be “thoughtful” when really if I’m not focused on my joy, any action I take will quickly turn into resentment and nobody benefits then.
So super powerful and important message: Be selfish all day everyday.
Six: Three-Level Support System
Now, time to give myself some credit. My husband lives with a mindset guru and spiritual junkie. I’m his advisor, counselor, therapist, consultant, and friend.
You must surround yourself with at least one person who will always lift you up, bless you, and get your mental game up. If you don’t have friends or a spouse like this, you can pay for it. Get a coach, that’s literally what they do. (Psst, I’m a coach. I can be this for you!)
He also has a mentor who was in his shoes maybe a decade ago. There is the difference between a coach and a mentor. A coach doesn’t have to have your skillset or industry background, but it’s someone who can look from the outside in and catch your bullshit thoughts and help you remove the self-saboting beliefs (that’s me).
A mentor, however, is someone who has done it before. This is someone who acts as a sounding board. This is someone who gives your perspective from their experience. This is harder to find, but you can absolutely join network groups or formal mentorship programs and get someone to help you with tough situations or decisions.
Lastly, he has role models. The guys he looks up to, and in almost every decision he makes he asks himself what would they do? What are they currently doing? He measures himself against their progress which always keeps him grounded and hungry for more.
For me, my role models tend to be major celebrities and CEOs. What I like about his approach is that it’s actually people he knows. It’s people he talks to and knows very well. This makes his goals and visions very tangible.
In summary, you need three-levels of support: a coach (advisor/consultant/guru), a mentor, and a role model.
The most interesting thing I hope you learned from these tips are that people become successful in their own way. He and I are so different and approach our lives very differently. But I know that these tips could benefit everyone – including me.
The second thing to know about Elliot is that he doesn’t read the books, he’s not consumed in personal development, and he’s rough around the edges. Yet within our conversations, he absolutely believes in energy. He knows that energy is everything. He knows that he must focus on what he’s radiating out, but beyond that, he is himself. He is not trying to change for anyone, including me.
We accept our differences, and even more, I accept him as my teacher. And guys, if you’re married you know this, the lessons that you learn from your partner are the hardest. They are the hardest lessons to even accept as lesson. This is a super side note, but if you are blaming your partner for something like being inconsiderate or messy, ask yourself, “what if the universe is trying to teach me something here, what would that be?”.
Let me know what you learned today from my beloved husband. What lessons are you currently learning from your partner? What are they super good at?