#004 Marriage, Family, & Successful Careers with Beth & Tracy Upchurch

TRANSCRIPT:

Jay Owen:
Hi. Welcome to Building a Business that Lasts. My name is Jay Owen, and I’m your host. On a quest towards stories, tips and ideas that will help you grow a business without being stressed out, worn out, and ready to quit. Each week I’ll interview other business owners who have successfully grown businesses of all types for many years. It’s my hope that these conversations will help you build a business that lasts.

So one of my favorite ways to learn is through audiobooks. And I use Audible.com for that. So what I’d like to do is give away a three month membership to Audible.com. I’m going to do that every single month to somebody that’s on our email list. So if you’re not on our email list already, go to buildingabusinessthatlasts.com, plug in your email address, I promise I won’t spam you, we’ll send you one email a week announcing the new podcasts as they come out. Give you some information and links about those podcasts, and enter you in a chance to win that three month membership to Audible.com. So head over to our website, buildingabusinessthatlasts.com, plug in your email address and we will get you entered for that contest. Good Luck.

On this episode I interview Beth and Tracy Upchurch. Beth has been a teacher here in St. John’s County for quite a while. She won teacher of the year one year. Tracy was a state representative for a year. He was a prominent lawyer for 25 plus years and now serves at Flagler College as an advisor and teacher there. So it was really a unique interview because I brought in both of them together as a couple, and we ended up talking a lot about marriage and parenting and relationships as a whole. But I think all of those things tie back to business, and I know for me, at this point I’ve been married 14 years, and I certainly would like to hit that 20 year, 30 year, 40 year, 50 year mark at some point. At the same time of growing my business through the ages as well. So, this interview is kind of a little bit different than what we’ve done on some of the other podcasts, but especially for those you who are married or want to be married one day and those of you who have children, I think you’ll find some really unusual and interesting tips through this interview. I hope it is helpful and that you get as much out of it as I did. Without any further ado, here is my conversation with Beth and Tracy Upchurch.

So what I’d love to start out with is to back all the way up to when you all first met. Today’s podcast is a little bit different because I’d like to talk about that relationship and the life side of things, as well as growing a career and growing a business. So whoever wants to, kind of take me through how you all met originally.

Tracy Upchurch:
Well we met in college. Beth was still an undergraduate and I had finished college and we were in Gainesville and met through mutual friends. I think one of the things that worked for us is we both knew we wanted to get married. So we got married earlier than many other people do, particularly now. But even at the time we got married we were kind of the first of all our friends. And what, you were … 20?

Beth Upchurch:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tracy Upchurch:
It was legal, it was legal.

Beth Upchurch:
I was a junior.

Tracy Upchurch:
And I was, what 23. We were really clear, we were both ready to get married and, yeah. So I think, and I think by this same token we had kids really early. Because we both really wanted kids. We wanted a large family and we saw that in each other. And so we did that early. And I guess the only other thing I would say about that is we have been quote unquote empty nesters for a long time. And it’s really fun. I mean we loved having kids, love having grandkids, but we’re in a really happy place in our life because we still have the joy of them but also have a lot of time for each and a lot of time to do other things that interest us and challenge us. Really, feel really really blessed how that all worked out for us.

Beth Upchurch:
In addition, we’re young still. We feel fairly young. You know, when you start having kids as young as we did, I was 22, I guess, maybe 23 with our first, and then I was done by age 33, they’re gone. They’re all out of college and having these grandchildren, you know, I’m not 60 yet, and I have all these grandkids. And so we’ve got the energy for that and the energy to do the fun things that we still really enjoy. So, Tracy said it, we feel very blessed that we found each other and we’re in love. Even though we were ready to get married we actually wanted to marry to each other, so that was even better. That’s how we met. In college. It was really, it was really fun.

Jay Owen:
That’s really neat. And I think it’s interesting too, because a lot of people, you hear stories of people that kind of end up in that empty nester syndrome and they get through life and they realize that their whole life, or their whole marriage anyway, was solely about the kids. And then I think that they get to that point, and you see story after story of this, and they don’t even know each other anymore because all they were was mom and dad. And not husband and wife anymore. And I think that’s one of the big things, not that this is a marriage podcast, but for me, like that Claire and I have tried to really focus on, somebody once told me, “The best thing you can do for your children is to love your wife.”

Beth Upchurch:
Right.

Jay Owen:
And I think, like, I see that. And I even see it in how my boys treat their mother. Because, one of the things that’s always funny for me is, my kids … Claire doesn’t love flowers that much. I mean, she likes them, everybody likes flowers, but it’s not like, she doesn’t feel like she has to have them for her birthday, anniversary, whatever else. But I always do it, as much for the boys to see me do it as for her. I mean, I do it for her, but if I don’t do it, they go, “Hey, why aren’t we getting Mom flowers.” So it’s always interesting to see that. I love hearing stories of people who are in that empty nest phase of life and say, “Hey, we’re enjoying it. Like we loved having kids, but we enjoy where we’re at.”

Tracy Upchurch:
We, Beth and I, always had very, I mean I think one of the things I think we recognized in each other when we first met and started dating is that we shared values. And not that our values are the right values for anybody else but they were right for us, and we shared them. And still share them. We had a lot of fun with our kids and we pushed them to be independent early. And I think was so, you know they weren’t dependent upon us to help them pick out classes in college, or lots of things that I see parents doing today. I think because we wanted them to be independent, it kind of always created a space. I don’t want to use the word independence again, but an independence for our kids that when they left it was a new chapter. It was fun, but it, you know, there’s always a little grieving that happens, there’s always a little adjustment. But each phase is wonderful and fun and exciting and this is a fun and exciting one as well.

Jay Owen:
That’s awesome.

Beth Upchurch:
Tracy had a great idea, early on. Actually both of us kind of worked on it together, but when the kids turned 13, we took each of them on a trip.

Tracy Upchurch:
It was your idea.

Beth Upchurch:
Was it my idea? Okay. I’ll take credit for it. But we called it the thirteenth trip and when the kids turned 13, and this is just kind of playing off your idea of trying, of working really hard to create independence and confident kids. They each got to pick a special place anywhere in the United States that they wanted to go, and we just went with them. All the grandparents knew where they going and instead of a gift, they would give the child spending money. So we would take them on this trip, and on this trip they got to pick what we got to do. And it was just the three of us. And 13 was kind of pivotal number because 13’s about the time that your kids are deciding if they’re cool or not. And we wanted them to see that we could be really fun, and that we could be a little different when there’s just the three of us as opposed to when there was the six of us.

The other thing though, that happened on that thirteenth trip is that they were awarded a little expandable coupon file that was labeled with categories and they were given a budget. That every month we would give them a certain amount of money and they were to divide that money up into the categories that were predetermined. Things like school supplies. Entertainment. Gifts for their friends’ birthdays. And it we tr- It didn’t always work perfectly, but we started early on making sure that they recognized the value of money. When the time came for them to pay for their yearbook, we wanted them to know we’re not going to give you $75 for this yearbook. You need to have been putting a little bit away at a time every month so that when big expense came.

Or, I think the funniest story was when they wanted to buy new back packs. They realized, “If I buy a Jansport, those are guaranteed for life.” As opposed to the Spiderman one. [crosstalk 00:09:06] have to buy a new one. So that was a really fun idea that just carried out with all of our kids. And we had not only amazing trips with each of our kids individually, but that was sort the start of their adult experience with finances. And consequently all of our kids have launched and are independent. And that’s been really fun for us us to watch as parents, and I think satisfying for them to feel like a confident adult.

Jay Owen:
I bet. So, a couple things. One, I feel like I’m stealing all your ideas, but my oldest is about to turn 13. And he hasn’t noticed yet, so hopefully he doesn’t listen to this but he’s been wanting to go to new York City. So we actually have already booked the tickets for him, and on his birthday, it works out his birthday’s on a Thursday. So on Thursday … Claire always gives them three gifts. I guess because Jesus got three gifts from the three wise men. So, they get three gifts, but his third one’s going to be like a certificate that says, “Hey we’re going to New York today.”

Beth Upchurch:
Great! Oh wonderful.

Jay Owen:
Because we’re leaving that afternoon. And then we’re going to go for a four day weekend with him. Because it was that kind of idea of … I heard one of the preachers that I love, it’s a guy in Texas named Matt Chandler, he talks about doing these, almost like a rite of passage type ceremony with children as they reach that age. It was kind of … I don’t remember if it was my idea or Claire’s. Probably was hers. That idea of kind of sending them off and taking them into this … You’re entering a new phase of life now. And also, especially for us, we have five children, when you have so many children as you all do too, it’s one of those things where having that alone time with them is really valuable.

Tracy Upchurch:
I think it’s really really important. The term used to do is date your children. And you know, it’s a different dynamic when I’m having lunch with Thomas, or Emily and I are having breakfast or whatever. It’s a different dynamic than even if Beth is there, if the other kids are there. And I think it’s really important, it’s important now and they’re all adults, but it was certainly important as children. And it’s fun and you see them in different light. So good. You all have a wonderful time.

Beth Upchurch:
Oh, you’ll have a great time.

Jay Owen:
Yeah, I’m excited about it. So to tie this back a little bit, because I want to connect it all with the business side of some of the things that I think are important. And one of the things you had mentioned was shared values. That’s one thing that’s really important to us as a company is having this kind of set of core values, kind of a vision of where we’re going to go. Why do we do what we do? And I was recently reading a book that actually, somebody else recommended while I was doing a podcast interview, by a guy named Michael Hyatt called Living Forward. He talks about creating this life plan, not for your company, but for you personally. But thinking about values specifically, both in your marriage and family and then in your work environments, how has that played out for you? Have those things changed over the years? Do you feel like they’ve stayed pretty consistent? How did you … Did you come to the point where you actually wrote them down to these are the things that are valuable to us, or was it just kind of inherent as a result of who you were?

Tracy Upchurch:
I don’t recall us ever writing them down.

Beth Upchurch:
No, I don’t either.

Tracy Upchurch:
But it would be really interesting if you were to write them down and I were to write them down, if we think they’re the same values. I think they are.

Jay Owen:
That’d be neat.

Tracy Upchurch:
But you made reference to this earlier today that we always worked hard to put our marriage first. And we never contradicted each other in front of the children. Now we may have disagreed silently, but we never showed that to the kids. We never talked ill about one or the other in front of the kids. So we always felt like we were the team and they were … We were very clear that there was a strong demarcation between us as the parents and them as the children. You know, we have always tried to tithe. That was something we started early on and that’s something that we still try to do. I think that was an important value for us.

Beth Upchurch:
You know, I would just add, Tracy and I came from very different backgrounds. Very different backgrounds I was from an extremely poor family. And when I met Tracy, he would say things like, “When we’re married we’re going to need to give away … We’re going to need to tithe.” And I can remember my jaw dropping. Well, what are we going to eat? But he always said, to who much is given, much is expected. He always said that. And I believed it because he said it, and it always worked out. Time after time, God was faithful.

And I think in addition to making sure that we were giving back, it was important for us to serve. That was another kind of a theme, or a general, or a common value that we both had. And Tracy’s political service was definitely a service. People can sometimes think, oh being in political office is kind of a head trip and it’s very sacrificial in a lot of ways. I feel like those were real gifts Tracy gave me, was to, just kind of put those values out there on the table. From that, I think our marriage really grew and that helped up. Service and giving back helped us make these decisions to have, to raise our kids the way we did. And for our marriage. Sort of the ground, you know, the roots of our marriage.

Tracy Upchurch:
You know another thing that I think is just really practical, and I don’t know that we ever consciously did this, but we check in during the day. When I practiced law, and of course I’ve been at the college for ten years now, but when I practiced law I’d call her every day after lunch. Just because, you know, it was kind of a little transition time. When we get home at the end of the day, we kind of give a report and sometimes it’s longer and sometimes it’s short. And it’s not out of any sense of obligation, it’s just something we’ve always done. And I think that’s one things that’s allowed us to share our lives in a real intentional way.

Beth Upchurch:
I mean, it’s, we’re talking sitting down in the living room and it’s sometimes a half hour, 45 minutes. And sometimes the time will just slip away and we’ll realize, oh my gosh, it’s dinner time. But that’s really been very very helpful for us because I need to know what’s going on with him at work. And it’s important for me to able to vent or decompress or to get his perspective on something that maybe I’m seeing wrong. And vice versa. I think we’re each other’s best friend so making sure that we took that time and we did it even when the kids were at home in all that commotion. Even when he was in Tallahassee, we would check in and connect because that would be a perfect time for a marriage to go haywire, when one’s in Tallahassee and the other’s at home.

Jay Owen:
Sure.

Tracy Upchurch:
So there was the famous night when I called about 9:30, 10:00 and I was in Tallahassee. Beth answers, and I said, “Hey, honey, how are you?”

“I don’t have time to talk right now.”

I said, “What’s wrong?”

She says, “Well, the kitchen’s flooding right now. But your father and Joe are coming over to help me. Goodbye.”

So I felt pretty powerless 200 miles away, but I was grateful for my father and my friends.

Jay Owen:
Oh, that’s funny.

I don’t think I realized how much I needed that type of communication with Claire, until last week she was going to Haiti for a week. And it was the … We’ve been apart for you know a couple weeks at a time, but it was the first time we’ve been apart with zero communication. No texts, no phone calls, nothing. I got a text when they landed in Haiti safely, and that was it. And then she ended up calling me on Sunday. It was a week at that point. I just wanted to tell her all these things that had happened all week because I’m so used to that. Like you said, it’s kind of this debriefing at the end of the day. I don’t think I realized how much I valued that until I got it taken away from me for a week.

One of the things I think’s interesting, if you take, kind of the core of that, and the reason that I think that this conversation’s valuable on the business side is that relationships are relationships. And whether we’re talking about a husband and a wife, or a parent and a child, or team member and a team member, or a leader and a team member. All that communication stuff I think is really critical. And establishing clear communication. What I always say is, one of the biggest problems in all relationships, whether it’s business or personal is misplaced expectations. And communication is the bridge between expectations. And I’d just be kind of curious what your thoughts are on that, both from the professional side and things that you’ve been through experience, either things that were poor communication or good communication and how that’s affected growth or areas of time where things get stalled out.

Tracy Upchurch:
It’s funny, we were talking to friends last night about this kind of, this idea of communication relationships. I mean it’s a really complicated topic but some really practical things, is you know, text and email can be deadly for communication. You can’t convey nuance. You can’t … Just the other day I was reading an email from a, or a text from a persona that I thought was rather snarky, and Beth stopped me, and she says, “That’s the way you’re reading it.” You can read those words, put a different emphasis, and it’s an entirely different meaning. And so, Dr. Joyner, our school superintendent, now president of the college, had, I remember him telling me this one time he said, “I’ll get very stern, hard emails from parents.” And he said, “I don’t reply other than to say thank you for your email. Please call me on my cell phone and I give them my cell phone.” And he says rarely rarely rarely will anyone call because once they’ve sent that, pretty hard, mean, tough email, then they’ve gone to bed. They feel great.

So I guess if there’s anything, you know, email and text I think are just deadly for any type of serious communication. Emotional communication, I should say. I think we spend … Number one, it can come back to haunt us. It’s subject to this interpretation. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to write it well that could be used productively, so much better if you’d just pick up the phone or go have a coffee or go have lunch or something. I think that’s something both of us have learned, sometimes the hard way in our work. At the college I tell students, “Look I’m delighted to talk to you about your grades. You can talk to me before class, after class. You can come to office hours. We’ll go have a cup of coffee. But we’re not going to do it by email.” Because they’ll send an email at three in the morning and they’ll be upset, and I’m … Come see me. But we’re going to do this by email.

Beth Upchurch:
I think another thing that’s so important, at least for me, is to take the time to risk and go back and clarify what someone … If I think and suspect I’ve misunderstood. And that can be a risk because sometimes you think, “Oh did they mean this or did they mean this?” And then you sometimes realize, “Oh, they really did mean that icky thing that I thought.” But clarification is the second part for me. And I think that’s something, that’s why Tracy and I talk for so long at the end of the day. I’ll say, “When you said this, did you mean this or did you mean this?” Because it takes a lot of work to listen and it takes a lot of work to transpose that and how does that impact the bigger picture. And I think we forget to actively listen and make sure that we’ve understood. It’s one thing to read the email or to listen and understand, but then to go back and say, “Is this what you’re really saying?”

Jay Owen:
I am so guilty of that. I have created so many problems over time by sending an email when I should have done a phone call. I think part of my mistake in that, and I think a lot businesses now do, is like I have always been a big pusher of passive communication for a lot of things. Well, for task based stuff, that’s perfectly fine. We need to get something done, I don’t need to interrupt somebody with a phone call to ask them to do something next week. But if I have a problem, and this actually happened to me yesterday.

I had had a meeting with somebody to clarify some, to talk through some issues, and then another idea came to mind, a follow up to that conversation of what I should have said was, “Hey, I’ve thought of a few more things I’d to discuss. Let’s set up a call. Let’s get together.” And instead what I did was, I said, “Hey, I’ve been think-” Honestly, my heart in it was not negative at all, but when I go back, when I saw the response that I got today, then I went back and read my original, I thought, “If I had read that …” It shouldn’t have been in writing. It should have been … because you can’t detect tone, you can’t detect body language, you can’t detect all those kind of things. I think that businesses today, and all relationships, but businesses especially, get themselves in so much trouble. And I have to back myself up and my own team because I’ve encouraged passive communication whether it’s email or instant messaging or text. Really email I’ve pushed so hard or our task based system that we use, which works really well for a lot of stuff. But when you have something you’ve really got to work out, it almost always ends up bad.

Tracy Upchurch:
And I agree with you whole heartedly. There’s just another aspect, particularly for business folks, which is, you now will waste both time and emotional energy going back and cleaning it up. When if we had communicated more effectively initially, you’d be off be doing something more fun and more productive.

One other thing I think, and we, it’s not just Beth and I, but with our kids and close friends. Sometimes when … All we want to do is vent. I don’t need you to solve this problem. Just listen to me. Because I think oftentimes we want to be fixers. We want to solve a problem. And sometimes David will call and it’s really clear all he wants is me to listen to him. That’s really good to know. It’s really important. So I think being kind of clear in what our expectations are in communications is helpful too.

Jay Owen:
There’s this funny YouTube video, which I may link to in the show notes on this podcast, because it relates to that precisely. It’s this video of a woman, and she has a nail in her forehead, and she’s talking about all this pain that she has. She’s talking about how she feels, and how her head hurts and all these things. And her husband’s sitting there, and he’s going, “Well, there’s a nai-” And she’s like, “No, no. You’re not listening to me.” And he’s like, “I know but, there’s a nail right there.” She’s like, “I know but … I just …” She just wanted to tell … Like you said, I don’t need you to fix it, I just need you to listen.

And that is hard. Especially for somebody like me. Like, my personality type is, great I’ve heard you say this, this, and this,. Here’s how we’re going to fix it. That is hard for me. But I have had to learn, especially in marriage. But even in business too, sometimes, like you were talking about earlier with letting the kids have the opportunity to pay for things themselves, figure out things for themselves. I think that applies when you’re growing a tram too, because for so long I operated a business by myself, and I was so used to being the one that had to fix everything.

That then was, I started to have people on my team, I just carried on with that mentality. Like, they did what they could do, then when there was a problem, I came in and I fixed the problem. Now I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve slowly, over a long period of time learned that sometimes you have to let other people make their own mistakes. Because I had that opportunity. I had, I think one of the greatest reasons that I’ve been able to grow this business for 18 years in a row is that I was allowed to mess up. Because there were times when nobody was going to catch it and I had to figure it out. And for me to not give my team the same opportunities. And granted, I don’t want anybody to make a mistake that’s going to be a fatal mistake. I think it’s the same with kids. You don’t want to make a fatal mistake, but you do want them to make mistakes that then they can go, “Oh, right.” Because sometimes I feel like certain personalities, they just have to do it and see what happens.

Beth Upchurch:
Sure. Well, along that same line. One of the things that I think Tracy and I have enjoyed talking about, especially since he’s moved to college are the relationships with other professors. And there are some that I am a lot like, some of the people that he works with, and I’m very different than some of the people that he works with. So when he comes home and he needs to vent, we’re okay, and you almost have to say, “I need you to be okay with me saying to you I don’t want you to fix this.” I have to just say, “All right. I’m just here to listen.” And then I ask permission. “Is okay if I give you some feedback now?” And he’ll say, sometimes no. Nope, but maybe tomorrow.

And then later on, once he’s vented, and it works the same for me. We’re then ready to maybe hear someone else’s perspective. Maybe you can try this, maybe you can try this.  It is important to let people make mistakes, because it’s really not mistakes. You know, as a teacher we’re always saying, you’re not making a mistake you’re really learning what doesn’t work. You’re learning not to do that and that that doesn’t work in this situation. There’s a million teacher quotes out there about making mistakes. You have to make mistakes in order to learn and to take new steps and to grow.

There’s a lot of research out there about growth mindset. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but it’s all about how the brain, when it is struggling to learn something or figure something out. Neurons are actually connecting and you have to go through the struggle because the brain is like a muscle and it gets stronger as you work harder. Part of the philosophy of this growth mindset is that your brain is working and that’s part of it is solving problems. Part of it is working, processing issues that you’re dealing with and learning new materials. So that’s another podcast maybe.

Jay Owen:
Yeah. That’s good. One of the things that you said there was talking about growth. I recently got to see John Maxwell live which was really neat. And one of his newest books is around personal growth. He talked a lot about intentionality in personal growth. You can’t just … It’s easy I think, especially when you have a lot of kids or a busy business or anything else, to just wake up and just do the same thing over and over again. And I think our culture to some extent lends itself to that. We can feel like we’re stuck in this rat race and we’re just running a wheel, and everyday it’s just the same wheel over and over again. There has to be intentionality behind growth. One of the examples that he give, which I really like, is he says, let’s say there’s a big tree that you want to chop down. And all you’ve got’s an ax. Well you can’t go out in one day and chop down this gigantic tree with an ax. You don’t have enough strength or energy to take it down in one day. But if you go out there every single day and take five hacks at that tree. Eventually that tree will fall. It may take six months. It may take six years, but if you keep moving forward that tree will fall.

So the purpose behind that is I’m curious for you both individually, whether it is professionally as you’ve kind of transitioned over time and done different things, or personally as you’ve grown. What kind of resources have you leaned on, whether it’s a friendship, a mentor, certain books? What kind of things have you leaned on over time to help you continue to move forward and grow?

Beth Upchurch:
Gosh, you know, I, having been a teacher for as long as I have been, I have a little bit of wanderlust, and I can’t stay in the same position very long. Because I get a little bored. Sort of what you talked about, doing the same thing every day. So I’ve worked in starting preschools, being directors of day care centers. Worked in the public public school system, in the classroom, then working specifically with gifted students for three years. And I’m actually now transitioning to a position at the college where I’ll be working with supervising interns. There’s something really important about listening to your, not discontent, but that inner voice of, there’s something else I want to learn, and there’s something else I want to try. I think being honest and saying, gosh that’s kind of interesting and I wonder how you would do that. Could I ever do that?

So for Tracy and I, I think we’ve always been very interested in making sure that we listen to those voices and that we research and talk about it and ask other people and go back to education. I mean, I’m getting my master’s now in gifted education. That I think has really helped me to continue to learn more. And then with all the books that you read, with your consistent studies. It just sort of makes your brain go on fire. I think encouraging one another emotionally to not become stagnant or to listen when you have a feeling of discontent. Trying to nail what is it.

Tracy Upchurch:
Let me just pick up on that. I think it was hard for us early in our in marriage. There was the time I remember I was laying on the bed and told beth that I wanted to ride my bike across the country. And here she is with one or two babies, kind of like, “Well, what the heck am I supposed to do while you’re riding your bike across the country?” So it was a restlessness, it was an interest I had, but it took us some time to kind of, I would come home and say, “There’s a great house for sale at the beach.” Well, Beth thought, “Oh my God, I have to start packing we’re moving.” When all I was doing, was just like, there was a great house for sale at the beach. So part of it is … So I think both of us have to some degree a restlessness and we like new challenges we like new interests. So we’ve done, both of us, very fundamentally different things over the course of our married life and our professional lives.

I think it’s wonderful and I’m sure beth thinks it’s wonderful because it adds life and joy to our lives. But it does require permission and support from your partner. You know, when I made the decision to leave my law practice and go to the college that was a dramatic shift in what we were doing. Beth was wonderfully supportive about doing that. So I think there’s me being in elected office, I mean that had lots of ramifications for our families but something that she was always very supportive of, and so, I think the support the permission. The encouragement to make those fundamental changes I think has been really important for both of us.

You know there’s something else, and this is drifting a little bit from your question, but at least for me, I have always seen our marriage and our relationship as a partnership. Where we are, in every sense of the word, equals in this. I’ll be really, I’ve been very clear with Beth and it’s very clear to me, it’s always been important for me for her to work and to bring money into our family. We don’t have to make the same amount of money. We certainly take a lead in one area of life or the other, but the fact that we’re in this together, and sharing this together, whether it’s changing diapers or washing dishes or bringing home a paycheck, has been really important to me.

Beth Upchurch:
Well, in tying that back to your question, Jay, I think what we’re saying is it’s really important to communicate well with either your marriage partner or you business partners. It’s also really important to allow you business partners to dream and to make mistakes. It’s important to communicate. In so many ways a marriage is so much like a business. Because you’ve got to do those same things. In a marriage you’ve got that commitment to each other and your children. I would hope that people would take that same commitment to their businesses and be able to work with people who saw it as serious as that. But I think so much of what we talked about today is allowing each other to dream, making sure you clarify and listen, making sure you know how to handle mistakes. Being willing to give somebody room when they need to quiet and kind of vent.

Jay Owen:
That’s awesome. We’re coming to the end of our time. I think I probably could talk with you all all day. I really am just so thankful for you being here. One of the things, just I want to connect back to what you just said was talking about being willing to make change. When you feel like that’s where the change needs to come. I think that’s a thing in business too, one of those areas where a lot of people get stuck in this is how we’ve always done it. And for me, if it’s still working and there’s a good reason behind it, then that’s maybe not a reason to change something. But at the same time, just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it always has to be that way.

If Blockbuster had taken a different tact like Netflix did, they might still be in business today. Being willing to pivot and change and adjust over time, there’s a lot of things we do now that we didn’t do five or ten years ago. The iPhone didn’t exist, you know, a little over ten years ago. Social media wasn’t even, like that wasn’t even a vocabulary term that we used.

Tracy Upchurch:
Absolutely. Everything you said but for us, change is really fun. It really, it’s life giving. It provides wonderful energy and so doing things differently is life giving.

Jay Owen:
I think a lot of people are scared of change. But I think that sometimes you’re missing out by not being willing to go, hey let’s just try it.

Beth Upchurch:
Yeah, like I get excited when said there’s a house for sale. It’s not like, oh no we have to move. It’s like, yay, change!

Jay Owen:
That’s funny, because Claire and I do some of those kinds of things. She’ll say, “It’d be really nice if we put an addition onto the house.” And do this and this. And all I hear is, “You need to go make more money so we can add onto the house.” That’s all I hear. Literally, it makes my insides go, “Okay, you have to get your laptop out right now and find a way to make some more money.” She was ready to put a $115,000 house addition on tomorrow.

Beth Upchurch:
She’s got a Pinterest page all ready.

Jay Owen:
Usually, she’s like, “No, no no. I’m just dreaming. Just let me dream.” So it’s funny to hear those parallels and really, just so thankful for you all’s insight today and time. Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about that you feel like would to leave with business owners, or husbands and wives, or anybody else.

Beth Upchurch:
The one thing that I would say is that each of you as a partner in the couple has season. I remember, I love this story. We were in the thick of Tracy being in Tallahassee and we had adjusted and I was at the ballpark one day and all four of the kids were there on different fields. We had a routine and Tracy’s in Tallahassee. We were rocking and rolling, we had our system down. And I looked across the field and across this field this man in a pair of pant, work pants, and a dress shirt and a tie was walking across the field, and I thought, “Gosh he walks just like Tracy.” And the closer he got, I realized it was Tracy and it was a Wednesday, and session was in. And I thought someone had died, honestly. I thought this is bad news. He’s coming to tell me something. And I said, “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in Tallahassee.” And he said, “I needed to be with my family.”

I was thrilled to have him home. The kids were thrilled to have him home. I think he was probably the most excited to be home because he clearly needed to be there and that was the beginning of when he realized that he wasn’t wiling to make that particular sacrifice for much longer because he missed his family. We loved that season in our lives. We adjusted, we benefited. You know, the kids could see that I could fix things around the house. It’s very important to allow your partners to go through seasons. Because I’m in a new season now and I’m doing some different things. He’s been very supportive and encouraging. So that’s what I would say to couples and to business partners is, pay enough attention to realize that your partner may be in a season of change and that it may be temporary, or it may be permanent. It may be good. It may not be so good. Maybe they need a little help. I just think recognizing that as a period of growth and change, when they need support is something I think we’ve worked hard to give one another. It’s always been blessed season when we do that.

Tracy Upchurch:
Thank you for having us.

Jay Owen:
Thank you so much for the example that your life. Keep it up. Keep up the good work, I should say. Finish well. You guys are just the kind of people that I so greatly respect and admire and I appreciate you taking the time this morning to do this with me, and I hope that it’s been helpful for those of you that are listening.

This was one of those conversations that I feel like could have kept going all day. Beth and Tracy are just the kind of folks that have been involved with so much here in the city that I live in. And have been so helpful to so many. It’s interesting even in our office, there’s only 12 of us on our team. Me plus two other guys had both had significant situations in life where the Upchurches had been involved and just played a positive role for us over many years. It’s pretty neat to have had them in today to have this conversation about marriage and parenting and business and relationships. A little bit kind of side track from the typical one on one business that lasts conversation that we have on this podcast, but I know it was super helpful to me and I hope that you got some ideas out of it as well.

Jay Owen:
This podcast is sponsored by Design Extensions. Design Extensions is a full service digital marketing agency that provide marketing strategy, website, and design services that help others grow their business. If you’re looking for help in achieving your marketing goals, growing your business, improving your website, or upgrading your image, make sure to check out Design Extensions at designextensions.com.

Jay Owen:
I hope this episode has given you some ideas or inspiration that will help you grow your business. If you found it helpful and you know somebody else who might benefit from it as well, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to share this with them. Maybe on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, or even shoot an email over to a friend with a link this podcast in it, and if you haven’t already make sure you sign up for our email list at buildingabusinessthatlasts.com.

 

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