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Healthy or Toxic?
What kind of relationships do we have?

What is the most important and foundational requirement for a successful business?

The most critical building blocks for business success are good relationships.

It’s not capital, credit or cash flow.

The most critical building blocks for business success are good relationships. You need to have trusting, healthy relationships with clients, suppliers, employees and investors if your business is to thrive.

In fact, what is the criteria for a successful life?

The easiest place to get the answer to that question is at the funeral of a successful person. What do mourners remember and celebrate? They eulogize the person’s relationships not their amazing balance sheet. Our success in life is measured by the quality of our relationships and how our life contributed to the lives of others.

The desire for relationships is one of the most fundamental characteristics of being human. This is part of God’s nature that He has given to us since we are made in His image. God is relational and He wants us to be as well. Just look at the relationship that Jesus had with His Father during His ministry on earth. They were intimate close friends, constantly talking to each other. The whole reason why Jesus came to earth was to reestablish a relationship with man. God poured His love into Jesus. Jesus poured God’s love into us through relationship.

Satan has damaged this gift which was given to us for our benefit and enjoyment. He uses relationships to hurt us.

This has enormous implications for our personal and business relationships. It means that relationships can be healthy and beneficial or unhealthy, toxic and wounding. We have the responsibility to choose what our relationships will be like. The easiest way to look at this critical choice is to consider the characteristics of the two types of relationships and how your decision affects your business.

Healthy relationships are giving relationships. If you are walking in a healthy relationship with God, He is continually pouring His loving nature into you. You in turn have a surplus of God’s love to share with others.

At home you would be a loving and affirming spouse and parent. At work you would be serving your customers with the intent of making them more successful. You would treat your suppliers as business partners who are making your success possible. You would see your employees as valued assets to be developed, not just an expense. Encouragement, affirmation with respectful correction would be your management style.

Relationships would grow stronger as trust grew each day.

The closer you walk with God, the easier it is to pour His love into everyone you are in relationship with. It is the most effective and least expensive way to gain customers, retain staff and have suppliers bidding for your business. Healthy, giving relationships are a very cost effective way to grow your business. People will want to do business with you and help you in any way possible.

Unhealthy or toxic relationships are taking relationships. In a taking relationship your focus is always on yourself and how you can use others to meet your needs. This perspective has so permeated our society that we consider it normal.

Our culture exhaults self-sufficiency and independence. This perspective devalues relationships and considers them to be mere stepping stones on the path to personal success. Relationships become disposable tools for personal gain.

Using this business relationship model, customers are cash cows waiting to be milked. Suppliers are to be squeezed with growing demands and smaller, delayed payments. Employees are pack mules who are to be used and discarded. In this model the relationships are all one way and people only work with you grudgingly until they find an escape. Trust is unnecessary since relationships are forced. Toxic relationships will destroy your family and business.

Unhealthy relationships result from unresolved emotional pain and hurts from your past. Until you allow the love of God to bring healing, you turn to others to meet those needs and use tools like control and manipulation to create taking relationships. The more Satan reinforces your pain, the more you try to take from others, which slowly destroys relationships both at home and at work.

So what is the solution for healthy relationships and a growing business?

Walk with God in a close intimate relationship like Jesus did. Continuously live in the downpour of God’s love for you that will heal your wounds. Share your surplus of God’s love with everyone you are in relationship with. Then watch how people change around you and your profits grow.

Dr. Grant Mullen is a mental health physician and author who lectures internationally on the keys to emotional recovery and healthy relationships. He has a special interest in the integration of medical treatment with spiritual and emotional healing models to see people and organizations transformed. Dr. Mullen is the author of Emotionally Free and The Breakthrough Solution, and is the producer of 16 DVD’s. For more information on emotional transformation, and to subscribe to our free video e-newsletter visit Subscribe to Dr. Mullen’s free monthly video podcasts on iTunes or by visiting

Emotionally Free
This forthright and compassionate study helps readers identify symptoms of depression and understand three types of treatment: medical, spiritual, and inner healing. Grant Mullen discusses causes of depression, exposes Satan's deceptions, and helps the reader ''reconnect'' head and heart, and learn to trust God in a new way.

The Breakthrough Solution
This book takes you on a fascinating, unpredictable, humorous journey of corporate investigation to find out why a cutting-edge technology company is failing. This light-hearted story shows how paying attention to people’s mental and emotional health is one of the best ways to unleash their power and potential.

Originally published in Business.Life Magazine, Fall 2009.

Used with permission. Copyright © 2009


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