Is it possible to change the world, stay in love and raise a healthy family? This is the founding question in Jeff and Andre Shinabarger’s quest to uncover the yin and yang of their latest project Love or Work.
Over the last year, the push to pursue solutions between the battle of love and work arose from conversations inside the walls of Jeff’s nonprofit, Plywood. “This question is rooted in our community,” Jeff stated. “It’s funny how often I think people are going to talk about fundraising, or strategy, or business planning. The next thing you know they’re sitting on the couch at Plywood and talking about how this entrepreneurial work is negatively impacting their family life and trying to figure out how to sustain it when finances are tight. It’s probably the greatest tension in our community and yet no one in the entrepreneurial space is really talking about it.”
Initially posted as a question on Instagram, Jeff and Andre received an outpouring of responses from across the United States but it’s a question the couple has worked through since the day they said “I do.”
“Andre and I have been talking about the tension of it our fifteen years of marriage but more seriously over the last year,” Jeff earnestly explained. “We’ve interacted with so many people who are feeling this tension in life, of trying to find balance. How do we stay in this relationship for a long time, pursue our purpose, and also raise kids that aren’t crazy? It’s hard to figure that all out. It’s a new era in families and we want to be part of reimagining what the future family looks like.”
Six months into their process, a unique opportunity arose. Airstream approached the Shinabargers about traveling in one of their travel trailers for six weeks as part of Airstream’s Endless Caravan™, an experiential campaign inviting adventurers, families, and explorers to discover new places and meet new people. During their journey, Jeff and Andre clocked some serious miles, interviewing six families from across the United States to find out what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to chasing your passion and maintaining your relationship.
“In every interview, we’ve noticed that no one is perfect,” Andre chimed in. “They all have huge tensions but they’ve all found something that works for them. So we are trying to gather the things that work to see if there are similarities that we can gain.”
For Jeff and Andre, this journey is far from over. While the keys to their Airstream have been returned, the duo’s Love or Work project will still be in motion – with 100 interviews slated over the next two years. While they don’t have the solution to the push and pull of our love and work debacle, they both agree that whatever form of sound advice they land on will be one benefitting the entire community.
“One of the things we always want to say is that we don’t have the answer,” Andre added. “This isn’t another self-help book. We also aren’t the experts. What we are doing is gathering insight, interviewing, and learning. There are people who have been entrepreneurs and married way longer than we have, so if there are insights we can gain from other people, we would love to share that advice.”
“Ultimately we would love to learn things that can help our community,” stated Jeff. “Andre and I lead a nonprofit for startups doing good but yet, in the midst of it, we are doing counseling about relationships. If we can learn anything that makes their lives more sustaining, that’s why we’re doing this. We are caught in a lot of challenging relational questions every day and we want those scenarios to get better because we really care about these people. At the end of the day if we were to succeed it would be that somehow we helped our community in this often controversial space.”
Photos are property of Love or Work.