I was brought back to my conversations with the founders in How They Did It when I read about a couple here in the US, Elza and Vivian Moses, ages 102 and 97 respectively, who’ve been married 80 years. That’s eighty years of marriage for this couple, starting from their wedding day in 1930, when Elza was 22 and his bride Vivian was 17. That’s an amazing accomplishment on so many levels of longevity, and brings up a point that a number of interviewers have been asking me since the book launched.
Do champion company founders tend to have strong marriages?
The answer is yes, but that’s not an unqualified, easy “yes”. I didn’t shy away from asking about work/life balance – but reaching great success is not always a pretty picture. Most of the champion entrepreneurs I interviewed have had what appears to be smooth sailing: one marriage over the course of many years. Based on comments from them I know that eight had at least one former marriage under their belt, and in some cases, multiple marriages. Glen Tullman said it best – “Being an entrepreneur has everything to do with putting every second and every ounce of energy into building your business. No venture guy will ever invest in your business if you say your life is ‘in balance.’”
Most people tend to think that the external world – including work – impacts our relationships and either builds or hurts them. I think of it the other way around: if you are blessed with good personal relationships, everything flows out from that point and makes everything else easier and less important, including the circumstances of work.
The odds of Elza and Vivian living and being married that long are 1 in 7 million. Way to go –