This article was first published in ISB Spandan, Vol. 2, Issue. 2, February 2018; http://flipbook.isb.edu/pages/Spandan/Vol2-Issue2-Feb-2018/html5/index.html?page=1&noflash
“I have been inspired by her. What little success I have achieved, should be credited in large measure to my wife’s influence.”- A rare legacy- Memoirs of Basant Kumar Birla
“Please understand. If I don’t do it, who will? The buck stops at me”. The buck is supposed to stop at both of us with regards to our child. But it usually stops at me because you are not around!
“I will be leaving at 4am tomorrow and will be back at around midnight”. But you just came back from Uganda? Must you travel again immediately?
“Anything urgent? I am in a meeting”. Can I only speak to you when there is an urgency?
“Please sleep, I will not be able to call today. Will get free only after 11pm. It will be 2am for you”. But we have just spoken 4 words since you left 4 days back.
These are snippets of regular conversation at home between my husband and me. My husband is a serial entrepreneur. Even as one business is getting established, he moves on to the next one. When I think of the life that we could have had if he decided to take up a regular job- foreign vacations, attending parents-teachers’ meetings and social outings together and so on- the grass definitely looks greener on the other side and I must admit that the sacrifices do not seem worth it at times.
It is said that behind every successful man, is a woman. I would say that behind every successful man is a wife who spends hours worrying about the time her husband would be back home, managing the family while he travels extensively, taking flak for his absences from the extended family and sometimes not even being able to talk on the phone while he is firefighting.
The journey of an entrepreneur is laced with passion, hence seems pleasurable to the entrepreneur. The wife need not share the same passion and it is difficult to understand the long hours, the ever-shifting goal posts, the failures and hence the opportunity costs.
The role of the wife of an entrepreneur is as important as the entrepreneur himself in the success of the enterprise. She is the Chief Emotional Officer (CEO) who works tirelessly, with patience and perseverance, to maintain stability at home, inculcating the right values in children and their overall upbringing, keeping the communication flowing, being the cheer-leader in an environment of chaos and uncertainty and listening to the stories of challenges at work that never seem to end.
The CEO at home is invisible, plays subtle and less formal roles of supporting, advising, listening and at times emphasizing on the humane aspects of business decisions. Their observations, emotional capital and intuition go a long way in shaping the big picture for the entrepreneur.
Whether a wife is a home-maker or working, it doesn’t matter. Being married to an entrepreneur is not easy, yet exciting. So cheers to the entrepreneurs’ wives and to women in general who have the uncanny ability to handle a variety of situations with aplomb.