You can have everything in your favor as an entrepreneur: a great idea, solid opportunities, tenacity, good luck. Yet, you can easily fall flat on your face if you have the wrong romantic partner in your corner.
How do you know you have the wrong partner?
In short, it's a man or woman who doesn't support your dreams, and doesn't understand and respect what's truly important to you. As Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary is fond of saying, having the wrong romantic partner can easily be fatal--especially for entrepreneurs.
O'Leary, a/k/a "Mr. Wonderful," has made a career playing a blunt-talking investor-slash-personality on Shark Tank (and its predecessor show, Dragon's Den, in Canada). Besides tearing into aspiring entrepreneurs whose businesses he finds insufficiently thought-out or unlikely to be successful, O'Leary also seems to have made it a mission to weed out those he doesn't think are cut out for the entrepreneurial life.
"The personal sacrifice is huge. There is no soccer game on Saturday, there's no Sunday dinner with the family. You're working," he told Inc.com recently. "It's not for everybody. Don't do it if you don't have the stamina to get kicked around and driven into the ground and get up and do it up again."
You've heard that message before, I'm sure. The fun part is when O'Leary takes it a step further.
Okay big guy, what's the answer?
"It's a hard truth, but it's better to face it early," O'Leary says, talking about bad relationships. "Better to face it before say, getting married and having a couple of kids, and spending years of your life with the wrong person."
And to drive it home, O'Leary uses a story from a business class he taught, in which a student had started a legitimate multimillion dollar business from his dorm room. But on the other hand, as O'Leary recalls the student saying in front of the class, things were falling apart in his personal life.
"I have no time, and I never see my fiancee. She wants me to come be with the family on Sundays, just once. But I'm doing my compliance downloads on Sunday because I have to be back in class at 8 in the morning on Monday.
Now the class is looking at me: 'Okay big guy, what's the answer?'"
To which O'Leary replied: "Let's be pragmatic. Which is easier to replace, your business or your fiancee?"
Besides simply making sense on a gut level, there are some studies that back this worldview up, suggesting people who marry the right partner are more likely to be successful in their jobs: doing better at work, taking in more money, and simply feeling happier about their professional lives.
So, is there a Mrs. Wonderful?
Given all this, you might reasonably wonder: Is O'Leary married? Does he have someone in his life?
In fact, yes. He's been married to his wife Linda for 27 years and have two grown children--although they were separated for two years before reconciling. However, he also has explained in that past that he and his wife separated for two years earlier this decade.
"We were at the point of dividing the assets. But as we neared it, we decided not to do it. We have reunited and kept the family together. I'm glad we did that," O'Leary told a newspaper in 2014.