“The dream is free, but the journey will cost you something.” — John C. Maxwell
Ambition is one the most desired characteristics when people are asked to describe their perfect partner. They want someone who is driven to pursue something that they are passionate about. It might be related to gaining wealth, but oftentimes it’s not. People want to see their partner’s dreams come true even if it’s not really financially impactful. Have you and your partner experienced this? What does it look like to help your partner achieve their lofty goals?
We talked with a couple this week who have been doing just that for years. Evan and Lindsey live in California where they have been working together for almost 6 years to own a Chick-Fil‑A restaurant. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Here is our conversation:
Toucan Together: Can you tell us a little about your journey for the last few years?
Evan & Lindsey: About 6 years ago we moved to California because Lindsey’s mom developed breast cancer and needed help with the Chick-Fil‑A restaurant that her and her husband own. For a while Evan had been dissatisfied with his job, but when he began working with CFA “it all came together”. CFA isn’t a normal franchise restaurant, you have to be selected. It takes years of effort and hard work to get to that point. So for the last 6 years we have been learning all we can about CFA while working in the restaurant and in the community so that we can be selected to have a franchise of our own.
TT: Was there a moment when you both realized that this is what you wanted to drop everything and pursue?
E&L: Yeah, it was less of a snap moment and more of an assessment of our gifts and what we want in life. We found that CFA really allows us to do what we each love, which is very different. Evan is passionate about developing young leaders and dealing with the business side of things. Lindsey is passionate about leading the team of employees while being with them and investing in the community to help the business grow.
It was then that we understood we had the desire and the opportunity to do this. So we jumped in.
TT: What are some of the obstacles that you guys have faced and how did you overcome them?
E&L: There are never-ending obstacles. It sounds nice to say “I’ve got a dream”, we sing that song from Tangled all the time because of our daughters, but the reality is that there are always obstacles to overcome with kids being a really big one!
One of the overarching obstacles we’ve faced is determining roles and responsibilities. Who does what and when and why? Some conversations were easy and quickly resolved, and others took compromise and seeing each other’s perspectives to come to a mutual understanding. It’s always a continuous conversation, but we’ve definitely settled into our roles.
L: I’m taking care of things behind the scenes, and Evan is taking steps that I can’t take to accomplish our dream and vision. We come together as teammates and use our unique gifts to keep pushing through as we pursue our goals!
TT: Can you tell us more about how having kids has affected your journey?
E&L: When we dated we talked about having kids and what we hoped that would look like and mutually agreed on what our family goals would be. After a couple years of marriage those plans shifted as we found out Lindsey has a hard time getting pregnant. Infertility hits you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It was a time of coming together, wanting the same thing, praying together, going to doctor’s appointments, and just going month by month until we got pregnant.
The Lord has blessed us with two beautiful girls, Rose and Hope in our 8 years of marriage! We attribute their lives to God’s grace!
L: As I’ve become a stay-at-home mom taking care of them is my main responsibility and Evan works. In the lens of achieving our goals, each one is equally necessary! It’s a joy to support Evan from home! It would be so hard for him to be all that he needs to be at work if he was balancing all the duties it takes to parent kids. That’s where I come in.
Has it affected our goals and visions? No. It was an adjustment for me to leave work which was also helping our pursuit of our dream. I had to adjust and realize it’s just as important. It’s only made us excited to accomplish these goals as a family, for our family!
Evan: This would have been impossible without Lindsey and her sacrifice. When you own a business it’s not just 9 – 5, it’s long nights and weekends. Phone calls at 11pm. Going in when the business needs help. She has always understood and been supportive. She’s constant in that.
TT: What advice would you give to a couple who are just starting/thinking about chasing down a dream?
E: Get specific. It’s easy to say “We are up for it! We are up for the journey!”, but what will this look like when the hard parts come. Set goals, revisit them, check in with each other along the way. It might feel transactional, but determine roles and be specific.
L: You are a team. One united front. You’ll face joys, disappointments, failures, setbacks, comebacks, and successes. If you face it all as a team, the load of all that gets easier. It’s hard chasing a dream!
Teammates come together to accomplish a goal, and each person contributes in different ways. Use your gifts, and don’t expect the other to be someone they aren’t.
Put life into perspective. Figure out what your priorities are. Get those lined up and keep reevaluating yourself as you go along.
Also, think about if everything fails and your dreams aren’t reachable or something happens will you be ok? Evan and I realise that our accomplishments aren’t our identity. At the end of the day we are here to serve God and be content in whatever situation He has us in. Our goals may not line up with His but we can trust that He is always good and has our best interest in mind.
TT: You have both talked about God in your answers, how has faith impacted your journey?
E&L: We have come to know God on a much deeper level through this journey. We have been in places where we have said “God, we can’t do this on our own.”, and He has helped us through the hard times. We are reliant on God — it’s all due to God that we have been successful in this. God has taught us a lot about commitment.
TT: What is the key to working together?
E&L: Be your spouse’s greatest encourager. There’s a whole world out there that is negative and wants to tear you down!
It’s easy to harp on each other’s weaknesses because we know each other best after all but you also know each other’s greatest strengths! Celebrate them and point out the good. It takes practice, but it becomes something that becomes a habit and will naturally gravitate your hearts closer together. It’s a win-win!
Conflict, hardships, and outside situations will try their best to tear down what you have with your partner, but serving each other and going 100/100 not 50/50 can make all the difference in working together.
TT: Lastly, what’s your favourite thing about your partner?
E: Lindsey does so much for so many people and doesn’t get thanked for it. She is a glue in so many circles. She also mentors younger women and helps them along in the journey.
L: Recently I have loved his strength and commitment. We’ve had some recent setbacks and he remains committed with a faithfulness that he attributes to God. He reminds me that we have a whole history of God’s faithfulness in our life and He will continue that. I love that when I feel doubtful he encourages me in that specifically.
Something fun I love about him is he is teaching our daughters how to skateboard. Most would go for the bike first, but he went straight to the skateboard. It’s fun to finish up dinner and go outside and watch them all practice!
Chasing after a dream is costly and challenging, but when you feel supported by your partner it’s easier to overcome those obstacles and press on with determination and commitment. As we have seen Evan and Lindsey have their fair share of hardship in this journey, but because of their faith in each other and their faith in God they have been able to make it this far!
They’ve just recently made it all the way through the intensive application process for CFA and should be franchise owners in the near future! We are rooting for you guys!
One final recommendation they had was the book Put Your Dreams to the Test by John Maxwell. If you are seriously considering going after your dream read this to get specific!
Happy dream chasing, lovers!