One of the most important areas of your life is your relationships. You can experience stress anywhere else and still function. But once you’re experiencing relationship stress, it’s bound to reflect on other areas of your life.
As an entrepreneur, you don’t want the stress of unhealthy or strained relationships to affect your efficiency and productivity. So what do you do? Learn how to manage relationship stress.
Let’s look at a remarkable woman in the bible who knew how to manage relationship stress. Abigail wasn’t the owner of a company, but she assisted her husband in running the family business.
As a result, they were so prosperous. The Bible reveals that her husband wasn’t a wise man. In fact, his name Nabal means fool. So it’s safe to say that Abigail was the one with the brains in their family.
1 Samuel 25
1 Samuel 25:3 says, “Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings, and he was of the house of Caleb.”
1 Samuel, chapter 25 narrates how Abigail saved her family from the trouble her husband stirred up.
You see, David tried to establish a relationship with Nabal. Nabal had thousands of sheep and goats in the open field but lacked the means to protect them. David, who had six hundred trained warriors under his command, protected Nabal’s flock.
After a while, David needed to provide for his men, so he sent ten servants to ask for Nabal’s help. Instead of showing gratitude for David’s assistance and granting his request, he insulted David, who was a known conqueror in those parts.
As a result, David took four hundred men with him to destroy Nabal’s family. In this story, you see how someone destroyed an infant relationship and created undue stress for his entire household when he could have gotten an ally.
Luckily enough, his wife Abigail stepped in to salvage the relationship and bring peace. Because of her, no life was lost (except Nabal’s), and no property was destroyed. The family business was preserved.
Here are 5 lessons to learn from Abigail on how to manage relationship stress as an entrepreneur:
Now, when I talk about relationships, I refer to every kind of relationship in your life; every person is important to your success. Looking at David’s relationship with Nabal, it could have been a good business relationship if Nabal had half the qualities Abigail possessed.
1 Samuel 25: 14 and 17 bears the report of David’s intent against Nabal’s household and is the prelude to Abigail’s timely action:
“But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master, and he railed on them…Now, therefore, know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.”
1. She acted fast
In response to the negative report, “…Abigail made haste…” (1 Samuel 25:18 KJV).
Don’t watch problems in your relationships develop into a source of unhealthy stress to the extent that it affects your business.
You must know that one satisfied client can get you another client, whereas a displeased client can cost you, valuable clients. Therefore, whenever there’s turbulence in your relationships, act fast.
Also, in your family life, solve your issues fast, Else you won’t work with a clear mind.
2. She was ready to appease
1 Samuel 25:18 says, “Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.”
Abigail knew what caused the trouble, and unlike her husband, she was willing to give it to David and his men. While dealing with clients or others, their demands might be outrageous. However, to maintain peace and avoid a strained relationship, be ready to appease.
3. She reduced the tension
1 Samuel 25:19 says, “And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband, Nabal.”
Abigail’s husband was the source of tension. So, to make sure the problem didn’t escalate, she refused to tell her husband about her plans to make amends. In doing so, she reduced the tension. In your relationships, identify what’s causing the tension and get rid of it.
4. She was the first to apologise
1 Samuel 25:23 says, “And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground.”
Pride has ruined many businesses and cost people valuable relationships. But wise people know that to maintain your relationship and avoid undue stress, you sometimes need to apologise for what you didn’t do. You’ll see this, especially in your relationship with your clients. You have to be the bigger person here and think about the future of your brand.
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5. She spoke wisely
Many entrepreneurs lack diplomatic skills. This is worrying because there’s a type of diplomacy called shop-keeper diplomacy. In 1 Samuel 25:25-28, Abigail said:
“Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.”
Her words won David’s had because she spoke with tact and skill. The success of your business depends on your wisdom when dealing with clients. Many of them will make outrageous demands and act nasty, but you must be diplomatic to leverage your relationships.
Think of the loss and tragedy that would have occurred if Abigail didn’t know how to manage stress from relationships. Now that you’ve gotten these lessons use them to improve all your relationships and watch the positive influence it’ll have on your endeavours.