, 74 tweets, 17 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
This session with an entrepreneur and his wife yesterday had my brain working ALL night and so I’ve decided to do a #thread without my super personal details.

This is a thread about #love and being an #entrepreneur
Once I had clarity of purpose and felt in my soul that I knew why I was on this planet at this particular time, I wrote a plan to achieve that ultimate objective.

I studied role models to understand how they managed to find love, especially paying attention to @richardbranson
Staying married seems to be extremely hard for ambitious people willing to take risks few people will take.

It is easy to be singularly-focused and seem selfish. Your business can seem all-consuming. You drop so many balls trying to juggle them.
A few early life experiences shaped my thinking but it is still a work in progress and it was only this year that I truly feel that I have leveled up.
In December 2001, I started designing the business plan for @realvibez and then got to coding at my parents house in Kingston, Jamaica.

For 3 days I turned down every invitation to eat breakfast, dinner or play board games with my parents.

I was focused.
My father finally came upstairs by the computer and said that it was not healthy and would turn off his computer.

I felt that he didn’t understand how important this was so I complained that it wasn’t fair (we’ve all been there right?).
Dad said that I was dropping the ball on family, friends and even my health.

As a 19 year-old university graduate, I was convinced that I had some sense so I explained that I was t actually “dropping” a single ball, just putting them on the shelf to come back to later.
Dad knows me well so he simply said that putting anything away for a bit of time and not taking care of it means that it will always be less shiny or useful when you finally need it so I should be careful what I chose to tuck away.

I saved the code, turned off the computer and went to spend time with my family.

My parents never had to ask twice again and still do not have to.

However, I did not apply that to my other relationships 😔
At 16 years old I had met an elederly gentleman at a Phi Theta Kappa national honors society event in Nashville, Tennessee and he explained to me that in order to maximize your chances of happiness with a partner, you should write down the ‘Must-Haves’ and the ‘Nice-To-Haves’
Then “grade” each person you date by seeing how much of what you feel that you NEED is provided by them.

He left out the part where you ask the other person what they need from you and you figure out if you will be able to provide it too.

Relationships are 2-way.
So, with half of a plan, I made my list and proceeded to “talk” to various ladies.

I had some VERY restricting rules because I KNEW that Jamaica would factor heavily in my life as well as being very public so my wife would have to be comfortable with these things.
I didn’t find the person I married. My cousin introduced us and she worked at convincing me to give her a chance.

The fact that she played Halo 2, had a Nintendo GameCube before me and danced real well got me interested. Her parents being awesome sealed the deal.
I explained my 15-year plan that started at 15 and where she fit in. That plan included roughly when I would get married, based on when I wanted to have children, working backwards from my desire to be able to play sports with our kids like my father did.
No one could change the plan, just play a role but if we got married, she would get to help design the 20-year plan from 30 to 50 years old, less rigid, more spontaneity but ending with me entering politics.

Knowing the destination allowed us both to understand what was at stake
She agreed and we got married.

A few years later, something that happened to an entrepreneur friend of mine that opened my eyes: He had sold a company for US$200 million before age 35 and we celebrated at a dinner.

I made the comment that he should be so happy with his share.
I jokingly said that I was a little jealous that he would get an Aston Martin before me.

He laughed and then stopped smiling. Then he said something that was seared into my brain that day:

“I am actually jealous of you David.”

I was confused.
He said that when we parted ways that evening, I would go home to my wife and have someone that I know was there at the start and lives me for me.

He would go home to an empty house then tomorrow, it would be in the papers, never allowing him to know if a woman loved him for him
EVERY entrepreneur I know wants to be with someone who answers “Yes” to the questions in this song and he was no different:

R. City ft. Adam Levine - Locked Away -
If I showed you my flaws
If I couldn’t be strong
Tell me honestly
Would you still love me the same

If I couldn’t buy you the fancy things in life
Shorty would it be alright
Now tell me would you really ride with me
Tell me would you die for me
Would you spend your whole life with me
Would you be there to always hold me down
Tell me would you really cry for me
Baby don’t lie to me
If I didn’t have anything I want to know would you stick around
Those words probably resonate with most of us but it means even more to entrepreneurs because we don’t have stability for years and we are committing 5-10 years of our life to work on an idea we are passionate about.

It’s about solving the problem, not just the money.
The entrepreneur in your life needs a cheerleader, not a “Debbie Downer” but the entrepreneur also needs to learn what is really important in life.

Omi - Cheerleader -

It is very hard to put family first when you are super ambitious and know your why.
If you are in a relationship with an entrepreneur then you probably have said what my wife has said, the business venture is the main woman/man and you are the side piece.

It can feel that way. We entrepreneurs justify it, like everything else, that it’s temporary, for the fam.
People who choose to take on starting a venture take on enormous risk so they are able to convince themselves of the sanity of doing so.

It also means that they can convince themselves of almost anything, including the rightness of their approach to relationships.
ANY request to change the approach is taken as a lack of support for the entrepreneur and their driving need to solve this problem.

It often takes something major happening to wake us up to the fact that we are going down the wrong road and losing sight of what actually matters.
This past Christmas was my first wake up call and I asked a friend, Chris Williams, CEO of Proven, for advice on how to be successful, public, create wealth and not forget family.

Chris said “your presence matters more than presents”

For a split second I thought my wife had called him and told him to say that to me but then I remembered that she’s never even met Chris.

I need to reassess and tried.

That was not enough.
We read about Will and Jada’s issues. I went back over my role models and their failed marriages as well as those that succeeded.

Still not enough.

I’m stubborn.
In January, my wife said that I was slipping already.

I flew down to shoot BTS footage for my good friend @PaulCBrunson in Jamaica for his event and we did a 1 hour breakfast intervention where he helped me, all on camera (he has the footage).

He did a video for my wife too.
Paul thanked her for allowing me to come and help him. He said that he was sending me back better than before but I would not talk about it, I would be about it and show through actions.

That was January 30 and I felt renewed,finally ready to try harder.

Then it happened...
I felt a sharp pain and my wife had to rush me to hospital.

It was serious enough that I was told to pray, to make sure things were in place and to call both my wife and the executor of my estate, my brother.

We were in shock.
Here are the things that went through my mind as I knelt beside my hospital bed before being rushed into major surgery:

1. Did I make the right choice to marry this person? Did I do right by her all this time? Are these the ideal memories she would be left with?
2. Our oldest son, Luke, had gotten to meet @BarackObama and @HamillHimself so he thought I was awesome. If I didn’t make it then he would never see me execute the other awesome things he KNEW I could pull off.

I was balling now, not just crying.
3. Our middle son and I have a strained relationship because me, the oldest of 3, kept comparing to the oldest: “Shy can’t you behave like Luke? Why can’t you study like Luke?”

Yes, I now know not to do that.

Was that the only memories that I’d leave him with? Mean daddy?
4. Our daughter had just turned 1 but barely knew me because I moved to Berlin in September 2018 for a tech accelerator, just as her memories were forming.

She still cried when I tried to pick her up. She didn’t know me.

Would she only know me from videos on YouTube? Sigh.
5. My brother has a heart condition just like our father, our deceased uncles and grandpa.

He asked me to promise that he goes first and that I wake up. I promised him, knowing full well that it was out of my hands.

I’m used to having control but now I did not.
6. My parents have been amazing and I never chose them. They knew my plans and my potential. Was my last conversation really via phone with the doc explaining what’s happened and my mother, a nurse, screaming that they should save their son right now?
7. My friends knew my potential and had already seen so much that inspired them. Was this going to be it? We’re they going to remember the remaining potential that I did not fulfill?
8. I had spent 23 years giving back to Jamaica via constructive criticism, weekly columns, letters to the editor, serving on the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board and more.

I could have done much more but did not. I now regretted not going harder.
I promised God that if gave me a second chance then I would live without regrets and work on everything that crossed my mind in that moment.

Just give me a second chance to see my wife, kids, parents, brother, etc.
Before being out under I had called my wife to explain the surgery and the risks. I had sent her home with the kids because I didn’t want that tubes to be the last image they had of me.

I said that my brother knew how to invest the life insurance money so that they would be fine
Obviously her reaction was that they wouldn’t be fine because I would be gone and she would also be left with 3 small children.

I was so focused on their material needs that I didn’t even thou k about their emotional needs.

It took this experience to finally open my eyes.
2 songs popped into my head as I lay on the operating table, staring up at bright lights and listening to the whirring sound of machines that would need breathe for me:

Cezar- Keep On -

Magic! - How do you want to be remembered -
The next I remember was waking up and feeling like I was just reborn and coming out of the Matrix, with tubes everywhere and extreme pain.

My parents were standing and holding my hand while praying.

It was 1:30am. Surgery was longer than planned but successful.
Now we had a minimum of 10 days in hospital and 5 days for lab results about what other treatment may be needed.

I was told it would be 2 weeks in bed, 6 weeks at home and 12 MONTHS to recover.

How could I sit still and manage that? The 5 days were so tough.
My wife took the week off from teaching and was there every single day with me.

My parents spent 3 days and nights with me. They wiped me down, kept me company and when I could finally move, they help me sit-up.

Days later I could finally stand and shower with help. It was mom
At 5:30am on Day 5, with my wife in the chair beside my bed, the specialist came in with lab results. It was good enough news and would only require quarterly visits for the 12 months but not the treatment they were worried about.

My wife broke down crying. We were like...
The doctor left and my wife said that we needed to talk...

“David,for the last year I felt that I had fallen out of love with you but this happening has made me realize that I still deeply love and care for you. We need to fix this.”

5 hours of uninterrupted talking followed 🤯
Please, please do NOT make my mistake of setting aside relationships in order to pursue your passions, especially when you want to solve problems for thousands of people while ignoring your own problems close to home.

I had it all wrong up until 38. Don’t make my mistake.
Now I say that you should make the tough choices of the Universe will make them for you.

I should have been making time for my family but instead I made time for my business and for inspiring others. I dropped the ball as a husband and a father.
In March, I could finally travel and the Family Office Association that I am a member of asked my father and I to do a fireside chat about near death experiences and father/son lessons as dad had his first heart scare at 38.

History rhymes.
We recorded the whole thing on video and dad has asked me not to release for now.

Not a single dry eye in the room. But 2 things happened:

1. The next speaker pulled me aside and said that he would help me and I would see why

2. A gentleman stood up and said the following:
“We are the people who fund a business like David, we are the LPs. If we take away money from him because he chooses to focus more on family than his business going forward then we are perpetuating the wrong thing.

We should give him MORE money.”

The room applauded 😱
The next speaker , who had just pulled me aside, proceeded to talk about almost getting divorced from his high school sweetheart.

His wife and daughter sat beside him and spoke too. Their therapist was the moderator.

It sounded so familiar.
After that session, he had his wife and daughter pull me aside for an hour. The daughter is still in touch. I do calls with him to checkin.

He sent me a workbook and his presentation.

“The success of your business cannot be more important than the success of your family,”
They invited my father and I to a private dinner that night in Palm Beach, just 12 of us. His therapist did a private session with me and committed to help.

Turns out that highly ambitious people trying to build generational wealth and running their own firms go through this.
It has not been easy but nothing worth having is easy.

My priorities have to be reordered after 23 years. That takes time. I will fall off this new bicycle because it is different but I am committed to learn to ride it.

You, entrepreneur, have to do the same.
The song that has helped me in addition to Cezar’s ‘Keep On’ is my good friend @Wayne_Marshall song ‘Overcome’ -

But I still keep asking why this happened to mewheniwas so fit. We don’t talk about mental health enough. I see someone for that.
If you are in a relationship with an entrepreneur, get them to think of the family as the most important business and do the things that they would do make it a success - Show up on time, regular checking, monitor, focus, etc.

If you are the entrepreneur...get with the program!
We entrepreneurs have much of our self-esteem tied up in the success of the venture and we don’t want to fail or give up too early.

We would rather lose our family than make the hard choice to stabilize the home. We don’t want to slow down out of fear of missing a window.
We take the hard route instead of the easy ones.

In June, my wife gave me an ultimatum: You are out of money so sort it out by end of month or get a 9-5.

That’s when I made the call I had avoided making all these years. I setup a meeting with @Michael_LeeChin
When I told my dad that I made the call and would fly down the following week to meet with Mike, dad asked me the following:

“How many people in the world can make one phone call and get a meeting with a billionaire?”

“I never thought about that dad.”
“Well how many people can make one phone call to get the meeting and the billionaire knows who THEY are?”


“Why are you rich yet?”

Because I didn’t have the right vehicle, team and focus. Now I did.
Mike has said that I can discuss our private meeting in public. He went over my plan, the structure, the investment thesis, everything.

He spent an hour helping, especially asking how he could help and getting more ideas from me. That is how the video came about. But he did more
First he asked how my father was (he’s met dad before). He asked if I told him about the meeting and I said of course.

“What did you tell him?”

I told him that it would be the most important meeting in my 38 years on this planet.

Mike held his head and said “Wow.”
He said that he hoped that he would live up to my expectations.

The final time he asked me how else he could help after we had a list of some 10 things and had just talked about frustration and not constantly giving up and starting over, I told him about my marriage stress.
He had just gone through his ‘Compound Effort’ presentation about don’t keep starting over and then looked me dead in my eyes so the marriage question was the first non-business one.

“David, you don’t want to keep starting over”

Suffice to say that my wife and parents really like Mike a lot.

He made a commitment to me that day that will be revealed one day but not yet.

He checks in almost every week to see how I am doing, I made the mistake of answering about business and he said he meant “you, you”
Find a mentor, advisor, investor, friend, someone like that.

They must care about you more than the business. A happy and healthy you is good for the business. A sad and frustrated you is really bad for a startup or small business.

Make time for what and who matters.
I have shared this deeply personal story because too many entrepreneurs and business people put on a show of strength and everything going well.

We don’t need to do that. It’s not even healthy.

This shit is hard and we aren’t perfect. You are not alone. Build a support system.
For those of you who want to marry an ambitious person, prepare for sacrifice, to be a shoulder to cry on, to struggle, to forgive.

Otherwise go marry the 9-5 employee person.

Extraordinary outcomes require extraordinary sacrifice. Help your entrepreneur learn to prioritize.
Help your entrepreneur partner to understand that they can take breaks, that friends, family and health are needed to actually be successful.

Help them think about how they want to be remembered by specific people if they were rushed to hospital next week.
My wife is a HUGE Mariah Carey fan so I leave you with this song because it’s true...

Mariah Carey - Hero -
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with David Mullings

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!