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The ‘other-half’ in business

Last week, George and I received Sanctus London Limited’s end of year accounts.

In our first year of trading we were break-even and we have the numbers to prove it.

Everything we achieved in 2017 was distilled into black and white numbers and broken down before our eyes.

It was surreal and it got me thinking; what’s changed?

In many ways, that piece of paper highlighting our revenue, operating expenses and profit, symbolises the proudest achievement of our lives. (George agrees).

Given we didn’t graduate from Uni and we shut down our first business after raising plenty of investment, that piece of paper and that analysis of our financial year felt special.

Not only did I feel like I was holding the entirety of Sanctus in my hands with pride, I also felt a huge sense of relief that after 5 years doing this we finally had something incredibly valuable.

I couldn’t help questioning what’s changed, we’re the same two individuals, but what’s the difference between then and now?

I could write a thesis on what’s changed business-wise, but as we were eating our Nando’s, I was wondering what had really changed about the two of us in particular?

The single biggest difference in both of us, is that we’re both now in relationships.

We agreed that those relationships have had the biggest impact on us over anything else.

Yes, we do sales differently, we know more about running things, we know more about raising money, we know more about a lot of business stuff. We’ve learned an incredible amount and have a great network of other founders around us.

Yet, our other half’s have had the biggest impact on us as founders and humans above all else.

Our last business.

We feel more secure both at work and outside of work, we have someone to share our challenges with (that isn’t just each other) and most importantly we have Sarah and Tash to care about above and beyond Sanctus.

Before, we had nothing else and few people to share it all with. We weren’t grounded and literally all that was in our life was the hard work of business.

Now, there’s a huge part of our lives that’s not Sanctus and that feels incredibly healthy.

This blog post isn’t a love letter or a f*ck you to the singletons out there, but it is a stance against the traditional “never settle down” macho culture which is dominant amongst guys in particular.

I’m well aware that not everyone is in a happy relationship or wants to be in one and I’m not saying relationships equal greater performance, this is just our experience and it’s very different to how I used to think.

I used think that settling down or getting in a relationship would correlate to decreased performance, a fixed mindset and a stale mentality.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I essentially thought being in a relationship would limit my chances of success and make me less ambitious, because I’d have to invest in someone else.

I thought it would be “over” and I’d be “done”.

As it turns out, the opposite has been true.

Plus, when you’ve seen it all crumble in front of you, you realise that life’s too short to give up or sacrifice relationships in your life for work.

The other-half’s.

Good relationships are absolutely fantastic for your mental health too.

In many ways, your other half is like a free on-demand Sanctus coach. You can say the stuff in your head, you can be afraid, vulnerable and honest. Plus, you have the privilege of doing that, and supporting, your partner too.

I’ve never seen anyone else write a post like this about business, yet relationships take up so much of our lives it seems crazy that nobody would make the link between your work and your close relationships at home.

All the other dialogue around relationships seems to be based off films like the Social Network, where Mark Zuckerberg sacrifices a potential relationship with someone he actually likes to “win”. This just compounds the notion that you have to be a d*ck in business to do well, which is utter rubbish and the exact opposite of the truth.

In mental health too, few people mention relationships over meditation, mindfulness or therapy as a positive outlet for your mental health.

Relationships have had a huge impact on our personal journey founding Sanctus, probably more than I could ever express from behind this keyboard.

I know, after writing this post initially as a newsletter, that 100s of people agree with this sentiment yet haven’t had the opportunity to make it known.

James & George x