The choices you make with relationships is the biggest determinant of business, career, and financial success. Whom you choose to love, and allow to love you, has a direct impact on your long-term happiness and success, or lack of it, as an entrepreneur. There is one rule of love and business you must always remember: always protect yourself.
Here are two ways entrepreneurs put current and future success, finances, and happiness at risk in relationships:
Attracting and Choosing Potential Partners Based on What You Have, Not Who You Are
Success is the ultimate relationship attractor because it is strongly associated with money, physical attractiveness, sexual desirability, and the other attractors. Moreover, your bias toward such attractors becomes more pronounced as you begin to think in terms of what you deserve (i.e., a “model chick” or a prominent industry influencer) based on the levels of success you’ve achieved or aspire to.
Over-valuing such attractors in yourself and others will cause you to dismiss and/or bypass the sustainer characteristics—fidelity, respect, compassion, reliability—necessary for safe, healthy, and sustainable relationships. A bias toward attractors (what a person looks like, has, and can do) will cause you to overlook and devalue the sustainers that define who a person is—placing you, your resources, and ultimately, your business at risk. That bias will also communicate to others exactly what they need to be (or pretend to be) to gain access to you, your time, energy, attention, and resources—whether they are worthy of it or not.
Believing You Are Unable to Be Exploited
The more successful you become, the more you begin to believe that you are incapable of being fuquitable—the Grown Zone term for “vulnerable to deception and manipulation.” That is because success and the people it attracts feed your ego.
However, manipulators know that the people easiest to control and deceive are those convinced that they are beyond deception. They know that many successful people are so desperate (or ego-driven) to believe it when they hear the words “I love you” that they will tolerate almost anything.
This is why, as you achieve greater levels of status and wealth, you must never forget the first rule of healthy relationships, whether in love or business: protect yourself at all times. Too often people forget that relationship decisions have financial and legal implications as well as emotional ones—until it is too late and the damage is done.
Alfred Edmond Jr. is a senior VP and executive editor-at-large at Black Enterprise. He and his wife Zara D. Green are the co-founders of GrownZone.com and co-authors of Loving In the Grown Zone: A No-Nonsense Guide to Making Healthy Decisions in the Quest for Loving, Romantic Relationships of Honor, Esteem and Respect (Balboa Books).