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Five People You Should Avoid When Growing a Business

Five People You Should Avoid When Growing a Business

Ever notice that sometimes you are excited and motivated about your business and other times you wonder what on earth you are doing? You doubt your own ability to succeed and you consider throwing in the towel and admitting defeat. No, it’s not your hormones talking when you are wandering clueless, beaten and hopeless through your business.  More likely, it’s a reflection of the people you are spending time with.  You’re being influenced by the “wrong crowd.” 

Do any of these folks sound familiar to you? 

1. The Complainer: This friend invites you out for coffee and spends the entire hour complaining about her job, kids and husband. Her life is an epic saga filled with drama and she plays the starring role of the victim. You can barely get a word in, and even when you do, you don’t feel comfortable telling her anything positive or exciting about your life because she’s so darn miserable. Every time you talk with her, you feel exhausted and depleted.

2. The Distractor: A fun-loving friend, this person always has a great idea or an exciting outing for you. Her magnetic personality entices you to follow her on her latest spontaneous adventure – a last minute invitation to the outlet mall, the art show or the latest chick flick. You constantly have a blast, but it’s often at the expense of something else you wanted to accomplish. 

3. The Skeptical Supporter: This passive-aggressive loved one claims to have your best interests at heart. She only wants what is best for you and she’s more than happy to tell you what she thinks that might be – even when she has no idea what you’re doing in your business. She’s quick to point out the failures of others, criticize your every move and predict your slim chances of success. But, in a patronizing tone, she claims she believes in you 100 percent. Despite the words that come from her lips, you inevitably leave her presence feeling down on yourself. 

4. The Competitor: Often a friend in disguise, this confidant is more interested in discussing your struggles than your successes. She’s threatened by your growth. She feigns interest in your business strategies only to determine how they might apply to her own goals. She stands by your side when you’re in “struggle mode,” but as soon as your business takes off, she seems to disappear. And you end up feeling responsible for the rift in your friendship.  

5. The Comfortable Companion: This well-meaning friend actually wants you to be happy. But she just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand why you need to start a business, write a book, travel around the country, or do whatever it is that you’re doing in order to achieve your goals. She’s perfectly content in her life and she doesn’t see why you would want anything different – anything more. She doesn’t judge or criticize or try to control you. But she prays that you come to your senses and stop chasing your dreams so everything can go back to the way it used to be.  Even when you’re with her, you feel all alone.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” There is a great deal of truth to this. If we spend our days with people who complain, criticize or try to derail our dreams and goals, we are going to eventually engage in those behaviors ourselves. 

As mothers, we don’t let our young children play with others who are unkind, disrespectful or disobedient. As they grow up, we hope they make good decisions about the friends they choose on their own. So why do we expect anything less of ourselves? Why do we subject ourselves to people and relationships that have the potential to steal our joy and sabotage our success? 

My challenge to you is this: identify five people you know (or want to get to know better) who can lift you up – professionally, personally and/or spiritually. Create space on your calendar to spend more time with them. Surround yourself with people who allow you (and encourage you) to be the very best version of yourself.  To be the woman God created you to be.  

As Christians, we continue to pray for and minister to those people whom we are called to support (despite the potentially negative effect they have on our personal growth and happiness). In fact, sometimes the people who have this effect on us are related to us. We may not be able to avoid them entirely (and we may not WANT to do that), but it’s important to set boundaries (emotional and physical) when you are with them. Don’t be afraid to establish “off limits” topics or a “no criticizing” rule. Remember, it’s not our job to change them, but we can protect ourselves by shifting our perspective and changing the experience we have with them. And we can counterbalance the damaging effects of toxic relationships by fostering other healthy, inspiring friendships.

Want to surround yourself with smart women who have similar values of faith and family? Join us the International Christian Mompreneur Network for free – click here to learn more!

Theresa Ceniccola is a mother, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for connecting other Christian women and helping small business grow. As a marketing and PR professional, she launched TGC Communications, LLC in 1994 and has been working from home to serve clients and follow her passion while raising a family.  She is also co-founder of, a guided journaling practice dedicated to helping people discover the health benefits of writing. You can connect with Theresa on her blog.

Publication date: July 31, 2012