Tonight I was reflecting on the many false starts I’ve experienced over the years of owning my own businesses and my thoughts jumped to the damaging “false starts” a recovering addict can experience.

So much of life’s success, whether in business, marriage or sobriety, depends on who we align ourselves with. Choosing our partners is critical to our well-being, our ability to succeed, and our reputation.

In researching this universal truth about the importance of “who we hang with”, I stumbled upon an article from Forbes by Jennifer Utz, titled Finding the Right Business Partner: It’s All About Trust. 

And it is. It’s ALL about trust.

I would like to share a few nuggets from the Forbes article; each of these apply to business partnerships, marriages, relationships, and your sober companion/sponsor/counselor. When choosing these key people in your life, applying some of the following points will help you find a partner you can trust:

  • TRUST YOUR GUT –make sure it’s someone you instinctively  You want a partner that will stick with you through thick and thin, not only when things are going well.
  • FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL COMPLEMENT YOU– look for people who have skills and strengths that will support your goals. You want someone who will be strong when you are weak, who can listen when you need to talk, and a climate where you and they can share views in a non-confrontational manner.
  • DO YOU VIEW THE WORLD THROUGH A SIMILAR LENS?– find someone who shares your values and principles. You may not always agree on the how’s, and when’s, and what’s, but you will always agree on the end result.
  • CHOOSE SOMEONE YOU LIKE SPENDING TIME WITH– choose someone you like talking to, someone you can share crazy ideas with and not feel intimidated, someone you know you can call when things are bad, not just when things are good. You need a partner you enjoy being around.

Trust is the key to a successful partnership and each of these points will help you find the right partner. Ask the hard questions early, listen to those alarms going off in your head – don’t ignore them, and carefully choose your associates, your friends, your partner.

Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher, says Oprah Winfrey. It’s a principle I believe in and the few times I’ve failed to live it, it’s come back to bite me and I don’t have time for that or for that kind of person.

If you can’t trust someone to stay calm, if you can’t trust someone to have your back, if you can’t trust someone to act professionally, if you can’t trust someone to be honest with you, if you can’t trust someone alone, if you can’t trust someone wholeheartedly….then walk away. If you have doubts, if you see discrepancies, if you feel threatened, if you feel misled, if you feel you’re being misrepresented, undermined, disrespected….then walk away. And find someone you can trust.

So many times the “false start” of a recovering addict that leads to a relapse is due in part to a lack of positive, trusted support. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t trust someone who doesn’t deserve your trust.

This is your life, and…it’s all about trust. Don’t waste it on the untrustworthy. Don’t do it.

Be trustworthy. Be sober. And hang with those you can trust.