As an Entrepreneur, Use Expressed Boundaries to Preserve Business Relationships

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Let’s be upfront with each other. If your entrepreneurial business goal is to make money at all costs with little regard for the people you work with or for, this article is not for you.

If you are trying to build or maintain a sustainable business that nurtures relationships within and without the company, you will find the following information encouraging.

Craig* works closely with clients in one-on-one meetings. As a psychologist who owns a thriving business with a growing number of offices and employees, he also interacts with entities and those who represent them.

Craig is kind and savvy. Early in his career he learned the value of professional boundaries, particularly as a therapist. It’s personal boundaries he sometimes struggles to articulate.

What’s the difference?

First, let us understand what boundaries are and are not. Boundaries of any kind are not about preventing others from making decisions that can potentially hurt  you or your business. You have no control over external events or people. Healthy boundaries place you in the powerful position of deciding what kind of person you want to be, what you will allow in, and what you will refuse.

Craig’s professional boundaries help prevent a most costly confusion between client and therapist. He limits his availability, clients are responsible for building other support systems, and generally these rules are explained well. In building a business however, the stakes are different. Money is on the line. He takes on heavy responsibilities as all entrepreneurs do.

Because of this business focus, he “forgot” a twice-given promise he made to Justin, a less obviously successful entrepreneur, who was counting on him.

Craig never wants to cause harm. Yet by speaking in generalities, he allowed personal boundaries to go unexplained. He found himself in a bothersome relational situation with Justin he preferred not to confront. The rush of business pressures gave him the excuse he needed in the moment to avoid Justin and disregard his word.

The broken promise led to a series of events of which Craig was unaware. His fellow entrepreneur’s feeble success was damaged because Justin too had made promises expecting Craig’s to be fulfilled.  Ultimately, Justin’s reputation and confidence took a hit, and part of his business closed. 

This is not an indictment against Craig or anyone’s business decisions that seem appropriate to them. Choosing to remain uninvolved is absolutely fine unless we start making impulsive promises we are not committed to keeping.

Go ahead and draw personal boundaries. These are vitally important for your emotional, physical, mental, and even spiritual protection! I encourage you to spell them out, or at least do not blame another person for misunderstanding if you do not.

Well articulated personal boundaries preserve the health of current and potential business relationships by preventing situations that make you feel trapped and ready to run.

Today’s Helpful Word

1 Corinthians 10:23

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.



NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

*name has been changed


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