When the LW Story gets FUN!

Spring of 2016- LW Story, Post 6

This is the point in the LW story when things start getting really exciting. And really hard. Talk about an emotional roller coaster full of stretching and stepping out in faith. Building a business is not easy, especially when you are building it with your spouse. Insert testing the adaptability of your marriage… And when you are both dreamers and doers and live life a bit off the path. Parenting in itself is demanding work, so when you add young kids to the business building mix, it becomes super intense. These little people are very needy and watching your every move, even more so when you are a homeschooling family! So you try to find the unicorn of Life Balance to still have to be an adult and make responsible decisions while modeling dream-chasing… It definitely brings out some interesting traits and personality differences. So this blog post will quickly get pretty deep… A peek inside the walls of the Arlinghaus home. The Good and the Ugly and the Joy. Here we go!

At this point in the explosion of the business, we were just trying to keep our heads above water with all the projects and workload. Stretched thin is an understatement and also eyes wide open to what might lie ahead. This leads to some deep diving conversations about where this business could take us. Late Nights of work. Late Nights of Conversation. Late Nights of “Intense Fellowship”, also known as Passionate Word Fights while Kids were in bed… With so much work already in the pipeline and opportunity around every single corner, we started dreaming big. Like really big.

People asked us all the time what we were going to do, what our plan was to grow the business and keep up the increasing work. Sometimes we answered it truthfully. I was more likely to speak the vision, Nick was much more reserved with words. Which is spot on to our personalities, and why we balance each other out very well.

When we did tiptoe around it… Our dream sounded a bit nutty, I will admit. No safety net per se, yet wanting to go all-in?  But we slowly began to speak it out loud to trusted people outside of the business. And what’s amazing is most people believed in us. Believed for us. That we could do this and more!

It sure feels so much more real when the words are out there, right?!? Nick was a little more reserved about it than me, so he would dance around the question. I honestly LOVED it when people asked and I would just watch his reaction. Great wife, right? He would do the same if the tables were turned. Just ask him!

Pretty sure we sounded a bit crazy, our passion about making the leap into the unknown. Boldly expectant that these crazy ideas would turn into something bigger than we could even dream up. Nick and I both have an entrepreneurial spirit and are not afraid to push the limits, so we made a goal. Like a GOAL. To make this LW business a full-time gig. Which then means quitting a good job… That’s a big deal. He loved his work family(and still does 3 yrs later!) and did enjoy his day job. On the flip side, he was at the ceiling of income and not much opportunity to be creative. He went to school for this exact job yet it was time to walk in a new path.

So we got serious and set a date for it to happen. When you attach a dream to a date, that’s next level dreaming. It’s like attaching your heart to your plan and then you begin to see your business through totally new eyes. This step will definitely push you to get even more out of your comfort zone and do the hard stuff. Because it’s when you believe in yourself and can start to see it. And see the success that is just over the next hurdle. Yet you don’t want to “fail on yourself”…

That date setting was a little naive…looking back I see that now. At the moment it felt right and attainable and we were sold out to it. We had prayed about it and made peace that this was the right thing for us and at the right time. We didn’t completely arbitrarily set a date based on a feeling yet did not exactly have reality attached to it… So when that date came and went in May, things got a little sticky within our 4 walls…

We had a few “intense fellowship discussions”, lots of searching, and unanswered questions. On the more emotional side of questioning (I will virtually raise my hand here!) I mean, life doesn’t just play out as we plan. So our marriage was quite strained. Strained is putting it kindly. More like a bomb ready to explode at any moment. Because I just knew. I knew with every part of my being that Nick was called to do this full time and lead the way for LW.

As a stubborn and not-so-patient wife, it was a loooong summer. Learned a few lessons on staying quiet and waiting. Well, quiet and patient for me! Still growing in that area…I hung in there and did my best to be a supportive wife. And wait for Nick to decide when it was time. There never was a question of “If it would happen” by this point, just a question of When.

Leaving a job is not something to take lightly and would change everything for our family. Change that I couldn’t really wrap my head around. Some of those details were much more important to Nick. Financial details that are more his wheelhouse than mine. Like getting insurance set up(actually pretty simple!) and having a second mortgage. We still had a renter that was buying our tiny farmhouse out in the country yet that date to close was still to be set.

But I knew. I had an unshakable faith that this was the time. In the midst of real “adulting” details, I felt crystal clear confident that this was the path for us, no reservations. Having that rock-solid vision and not having the ability to move forward left me frustrated and with a big weight on my shoulders. It was quite the paradox of summer and it felt like the summer that went on forever. Freedom right here so close yet not my choice to turn the key to unlock it. An entire book on marriage could’ve been written this summer!

Then August 1st came. I came unglued that Monday morning while Nick was at work. This being in limbo was so hard and I had reached my breaking point. I was not being patient or nice wife that morning….not at all!  Fast forward to just after lunch. I had cooled off some and was keeping my words to myself. Unlike earlier in the day… Kids were down for naps and I was trying to chill out by sitting outside in my happy place in the sun. Nick came home early, I was still quietly fuming the backyard. Did not want to make eye contact because I was still angry. Then he sat down next to me and took my chin and said “It’s done. I put my notice in. I burned the boat. Now let’s go celebrate!”

And boy, that we did! Kids had VBS that night so went to a last-minute nice dinner. The weight was instantly lifted off my shoulders and I could hardly contain myself. It was refreshing and renewing time for our vision for our business and our family. We took a step of faith before it all made sense and not all pieces were lined up. To be on the same page together and walking out in faith is the best as a married couple. Glad that happened before things for really dicey!

Remember I had just mentioned we were waiting on a closing date on the old house? While we were sitting outside joyfully discussing the timing and details that afternoon in the backyard(as in just a few minutes after hearing news), a confirmation moment came through a phone call. The call to set the closing date for the 2 weeks before his Last Day he had just set at his job. Talk about Divine Timing! I truly believe we had to take the step into the unknown before that detail would get wrapped up.

And it gets even better. The closing happened at our house, sitting around the dining room table that started the business. I just can’t make this stuff up! The weaving of details and people and opportunities is just a beautiful story of more than we even dream up. Each time we step out into the unknown, it comes back 10 fold. Playing it safe stalls our business, every single time. But risk makes it explode. And so goes the next phase, fast growth that we couldn’t even wrap our heads around. Who’s ready for the next piece of the story?

Less marriage advice and family discord in the nesting season, yet a ton of cool stuff and really hard stuff. Be ready for the hard, because I will share all of it. The next year is full of joy to the fullest and sadness to touch the soul. And exactly why pursuing LW matters, for today and for the future. It becomes vividly clear just days after full-time LW.