Oh friends, I am SO excited to introduce you to today’s author whose book releases TODAY! Dorcas Cheng-Tozun has been a good friend of mine for the past couple of years, especially in all things writing. I am delighted that her book baby has finally arrived, and whether your loved one is an entrepreneur or simply works long hours in the corporate world, I’ve LOVED gulping down her wisdom. Check out this interview with her on Start, Love, Repeat, and leave a comment at the end to win a copy of the book. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but I have also had the privilege of living in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Kenya. My husband, Ned, and I are college sweethearts who have been married for more than twelve years. We have two adorable boys who have the wonderfully unusual combination of being part Chinese, part Turkish, and part Jewish.
For the first decade of my professional career, I worked in the nonprofit sector, supporting a number of different programs and policies to empower underserved communities. But I always loved writing and found excuses to write in my jobs, whether it was writing reports, proposals, or newsletters. When my first son was born five years ago, it seemed like as good a time as any to try pursuing writing full-time. It’s been a wild, unpredictable ride, and I have loved it.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Start, Love, Repeat is all about how to make marriage to an entrepreneur work. We tend to see entrepreneurs as admirable, industry-changing heroes. And while they are exceptional people, the reality is that their start-up pursuits result in real personal costs to themselves and their families.
If you talk to entrepreneurs’ significant others, you’ll often find a lot of pain and resentment. The energy, commitment, and financial resources used to start a business come, more often than not, at the expense of the family. So it’s unsurprising that entrepreneurs tend to have higher rates of divorce and infidelity than the general population.
I wanted to provide an accessible, practical guidebook for such couples—based on my personal experience, but also on the wisdom of marriage-family therapists, executive coaches, and other professionals in the start-up ecosystem—on how to maintain a strong relationship in the midst of the hardship. I also wanted to give them hope that the start-up challenges could end up making their marriage more vibrant and healthier in the long run.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? This book came about for selfish reasons: After about nine years of my own marriage to an entrepreneur, I was desperate for advice from someone who understood what it was like. But very few resources for entrepreneurs’ spouses exist.
I wanted a resource that was completely honest about how hard it can be to do life with an entrepreneur but also provided practical advice and offered tangible reasons why all the hardship was still worth it. As I talked to other entrepreneurs’ spouses, I heard the same thing from them. They couldn’t find a book that reflected the experiences they had lived.
So I decided to write what I would have wanted to read when I first married my husband. I wanted to tell the whole story of what marriage to a creative, inspired, ambitious business founder looks like, in all its imperfect glory.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? I hope entrepreneurial couples—especially those who are struggling in their relationship—will recognize that they’re not alone. No matter how crazy your life is, it’s likely that someone else has been through something similar and found a way to make it through with their marriage intact. With few exceptions, there is always reason to hope, and there are always changes you can make to try to improve your relationship. Even tiny steps can make a big difference.
It’s never easy to change ourselves or our relationships, of course, and it takes a fair amount of dedication and effort. But I hope readers will realize that it’s worth it. Nobody ever regrets spending too much time with their family when they’re on their deathbed; we’re far more likely to regret not spending enough time with our loved ones. And if you can move toward a relationship that is healthier and nurtures both of you as individuals, in all likelihood you’ll experience rich, long-lasting benefits from living the adventurous start-up life.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? As a perpetual pessimist, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the hardships of my marriage. I find myself counting the sacrifices, the inconveniences, and the ways in which I have been hurt.
But as I reflected on our last twelve years together, I saw how—even though there were plenty of ugly episodes along the way—our relationship has matured and been positively transformed because of all that we’ve been through. Ned and I were forced to confront our personal weaknesses, our mismatched expectations, and our relational conflict early on in our relationship. Thankfully, we were both willing to make adjustments along the way, and we have been able to build a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.
Being married to Ned has also pushed me to live with more boldness and courage, and to take more risks. I don’t think I would have been able to write this book without Ned encouraging me and cheering me on along the way.
How and where can we find you on the internet? I’m at www.chengtozun.com or on Twitter @dorcas_ct.
Like I said, Start, Love, Repeat is simple and brilliant, which is kind of my favorite. I’d love for you to further get to know Dorcas through her book, so leave a comment below, or head over to Instagram for more chances to win. Winner will be drawn on Friday, November 10th. Good luck!
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