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A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called What Becoming an Adult in Business Means and was struck by how popular it was. I got lots of comments on that one.
That feedback got me thinking about what other lessons are required to fully be an adult in business, and this insight landed with a thud for me…
Ultimately, the success of your business is only as good as the quality and depth of your relationships.
In 8 years of coaching, I can safely say that relationships are the #1 topic that clients bring to calls most, whether they hired me to scale their business, to create a deeper sense of happiness or work life balance, to finally pursue their passion full-time and become their own boss, or to improve their relationship with themself (which is rarely a goal clients bring to the coaching engagement, but one countless clients walk away with).
And it makes a lot of sense, don’t you think?
Most of us learned how to be in relationship with others and with ourselves by default, i.e. based on what we experienced in our foundational relationships growing up.
Said another way, most of our relationship habits are subconscious (meaning we’re not even aware of them).
What we do is based on what was modeled or demonstrated for us throughout our formative childhood years, or as a reaction to our unmet needs in those relationships.
Think about that for a moment, your relationship with your parents or caretakers, your sister, your brother, how were they? Do you see how you continue to recreate those relationship dynamics today until you make peace with them?
Now I am not here to help you heal those wounds, although I cannot recommend enough working with a therapist to do so, but what I do want to speak to is how those unhealthy dynamics sabotage your business.
This is my least favorite type of entrepreneur to be in relationship with. Doing business with these types of folks is out of the question at this stage for me…
Let’s call them, the Transactional Entrepreneur.
This is the (often overly-assertive) entrepreneur who is really good at asking for what he or she wants and consistently does so. To such an extent, that you’re impressed and even admire this quality about them.
He is very effective with self-promotion and you see a lot of value in partnering.
Now here’s the catch, this quality that you admire in them will be the same quality that will at some point be used against you, when the transactional entrepreneur is looking out for their own best interests with you too (and often at your expense)
As an empath and HSP, I cannot speak enough to the necessity for keeping an eye out for these energy sucks in your business relationship, where you’re constantly giving more than you’re receiving.
I want you to take a business inventory this week and examine the relationships your business has.
Consider the relations closest to you and even those distant in your networking organizations and professional networks:
Ask yourself this weekend, where am I putting others on a pedestal because of some quality I see they possess in business that I feel I lack?
Where am I sweeping under the rug past interactions with other business owners because of how much I sense I need them for this quality or strength they possess?
How am I being overly generous in collaborating with other business owners for fear of hurting their feelings or damaging our relationship or interactions?
Who in my family does this business relationship represent for me? What is the foundational need that I never got met with my own family that I’m recreating here in business?
And here’s the kicker, how am I being (similarly) transactional with them? What am I gaining from this unhealthy dynamic that keeps me here?
Now speaking from personal experience, I tell you this.
Your greatest fears in your business and your personal relationships will become self-fulfilled prophecies if you resist speaking the truth, continue to sweep things under the rug and refrain from sharing your hurt feelings, and avoid owning your experience.
Sustainable and healthy relationships are only possible in business and in life from being willing to be fully self expressed and from leaning into the discomfort (versus avoiding, attacking, or quitting it.)
I believe that this lesson is one of the most challenging and most invaluable breakthroughs you must make along your entrepreneurial journey.
I believe that you will continue to make business harder than it needs to be until you break up with the idea that you have to do it all alone.
Until you learn once and for all that it is through entrusting your business with aligned support, partnerships, and mutually supportive business relationships that your business will scale and you will find that elusive work-balance (that so often enjoys playing peek-a-boo with entrepreneurs).
As Jim Rohn so famously put it, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
All potential registrants are interviewed and spots are filled on a first registered and first paid basis. Maximum of 10 participants per cohort.
UNBOUNDED provides for a rich and transformative Mastermind and Group Coaching experience that has many exclusive benefits to participants. Benefits of the program include an invaluable community with lifelong business relationships and partnership opportunities; mindset growth work required to truly grow and scale your business; and a business systems framework to uplevel your experience of becoming the master of your business versus being mastered by it.
Catherine is a Master Certified Coach and bestselling author of Belonging: Overcome Your Inner Critic and Reclaim Your Joy.