Startup-proofing Your Relationships

Cover of "Mating in Captivity: Unlocking ...

Cover via Amazon

Relationships are hard. As Rilke wrote:  “For one person to love another, this is the most difficult of all our tasks.” And perhaps few situations make that task more difficult than when one or the other partner is riding the roller-coaster of a startup.

Indeed, so much of the content of the work I do with clients involves clearing out feelings, the residue of struggles outside the office, in order to bring them more fully present to the work at hand. That’s why I’m so excited that my frequent partner in coaching, Ann Mehl, and the brilliant and thought-provoking Esther Perel , author of Mating in Captivity, are jointly leading a discussion at General Assembly in two weeks. In that discussion, they hope to unpack some of these issues.

I think this discussion should be a prerequisite from anyone trying to launch their own business as well as for someone living with one who’s taken that step.


  • Peter Cranstone

    Interesting… I’ve been working with my “Startup Partner” for 16 years now. We’ve met 3 times in person. We’ve argued twice – and each time resolved it and grown. The secret to such a lasting relationship? It’s like a marriage – Respect, Honesty, Integrity, Patience and the ability to “treat success and failure as the two impostors they are”.

    • jerrycolonna

      Pete, I can always count on you to add more value in the comments than I did in the post. Love your “secret.”

    • Tereza

      Success and failure as imposters…..that’s a good one! I’m gonna steal that, if you don’t mind…

  • Tereza

    Reading your title “startup proofing your relationship”, I’m thinkin’, OK, this might be worth a look. Always, always room for improvement.

    But then I notice Esther’s subtitle — “unlocking erotic intelligence”…Oh, my! And then her sub-sub-title “does good intimacy always make for hot sex?”

    Um, bury the lead a little, Jerry? :-)

    • leigh

      oh Tereza – it’s been a hard day and you so made my day :)

      • Tereza

        I aim to please, Leigh!  

  • Charlie Crystle

    Great to see the announcement for the session, but what do you think about startup-proofing relationships?

  • kareem

    Can’t wait to attend – Perel’s one of my favorite authors.  Really looking forward to this!

  • John

    As I think about this, I wonder if some people are missing the boat when their startup takes precedent over their relationships.  Particularly with their spouse and family.  I’d say the best thing that happened to me and my family was quitting the day job to do my startup.

    Of course, I take a different approach to entrepreneurship.  I call it slow and stead entrepreneurship instead of the big bang entrepreneurship that so many think they have to do.  Some of these same principles were espoused in Re-work from the 37 Signals guys.  Basically, you can have a life and a startup and still be successful.  I wish more people understood this.

  • panterosa,

    Very bummed to have missed this. I would have attended for the wisdom on startup proofing my relationship with my kid from the point of view of a single mother. I wonder whether you addressed this in the discussion.

    • jerrycolonna

      Hi all…I’m back from two weeks in Tibet. To be clear, I wasn’t part of the team who did this. It was Ann and Esther. I hear it was great.

      • panterosa,

        My bad, I meant they, not you.

        Welcome back.

  • Rohan

    Haha. I like the analogy! :) 

    High positive emotional bank balance (in Covey terms) is a necessity!

    • jerrycolonna

      And making regular “deposits” and great insurance policy.