How To Heal A Toxic Relationship With Your Business

this article originally appeared on Changemakers Unite as Are You Stuck In A Bad Relationship . . . With Your Business?

Sure, you can tell when you’re dating a taker and not a giver. But are you blind to the draining relationship you have with your business?

Today, we’re offering some couples counseling for you and one of your biggest committed relationships — your business. We’re sharing the tell-tale signs of a bad business relationship and discussing ways to ensure that both you and your business are having your needs met.

1. Your life is focused entirely on your business

What it looks like

Kiss work-life balance goodbye. Your life is all about the business, and everything else takes a backseat. You barely sleep, your meals come from vending machines and your physical and mental health have dropped to the bottom of the priority list.

Plus, the only people with whom you regularly speak are team members, vendors and clients. Your social life is non-existent, and your personal relationships are showing serious signs of strain.

If you’re not already there, you’re well on your way to major burnout.

The Fix

First, do an honest assessment of what’s going on. Are you simply overdoing it trying to build your business? Or are you using your company as a convenient distraction to avoid problems in your life?

Next, give yourself some love. Clearly spell out your own needs and identify which ones your business is — and isn’t — able to meet.

Then brainstorm ways to address those personal needs that your business can’t fulfill. Maybe you long for a healthy lifestyle, time to unwind or genuine human contact.

Finally, prioritize yourself. Block out time on your calendar and energy during your week to address your personal needs. Treat those “appointments” with yourself as essential tasks.

2. You have a love-hate relationship with your business

What it looks like

Life with your business is a roller coaster of emotions. Some days you absolutely adore your company. And, on other days, you feel taken advantage of or even abused by your creation.

The relationship simply isn’t working for you. Because you’re forcing yourself to take on business responsibilities that you despise.

And — if you think about — you may realize it’s not working for your business either. Your fledgling company has needs, and you are in no way the most qualified person to handle all those tasks.

The Fix

Take a step back. As with all relationships, it’s important that you recognize that you can’t be everything to someone (or something) else.

But you do want to have a mutually fulfilling relationship with your business. So take stock. What are you best equipped to provide your business? What is your business uniquely qualified to give you?

Most importantly, what can you do to fill those unmet needs? For you, that might mean carving out more personal time, fostering relationships and enjoying hobbies. For your business, that might mean hiring team members with specialized skills, establishing a QA process to catch mistakes early or adopting invaluable software tools.

3. Your business would die if you couldn’t work

What it looks like

When your business is in its infancy, intensely depending on you for survival is to be expected. But, as your company ages, you may notice it’s not maturing and growing independent of you. Instead, it’s continuing to leech off your life energy as part of a now-dysfunctional relationship the two of you share.

There’s no respite for you — no team to pick up the slack or cover essential business tasks if you’re temporarily out of commission. In fact, your whole company begins to wither if you take time off.

The Fix

Set your aim higher by creating an Autonomous Alliance with your company, allowing your business to chug along merrily without your constant intervention.

Take the responsibility off your shoulders. Hire contractors or employees to shoulder some of the duties of your company. Start putting systems in place that other people can follow. And look for processes you can automate entirely.

4. Your finances would tank if you took a break

What it looks like

On the flipside of #3, you’re the drain on your business. Your company is the only thing standing between you and financial disaster.

When you’re entirely dependent on your business for survival, you start putting unreasonable pressure on your young company and making decisions that are primarily for your benefit at your business’ expense. Because, when you need your business to produce consistent income from Day 1, you’re making choices under duress to avoid tumbling into personal debt.

The Fix

Establish some breathing room between you and your company. Build a financial buffer for yourself so you can keep living your life even during low-profit periods.

And diversify your financial risk. Instead of looking to sell a single product or service, provide multiple offerings. And consider additional income streams like paid advertising, coaching or group training.

So can you relate to any of these four tell-tale signs of a bad relationship with your business? If you’re ready to give your relationship a little love, start tackling these steps toward building a happier future for the two of you to share.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of

image credit: Bigstock/AntonioGuillem

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