As you grow and develop, you’ll inevitably run into situations where the people you used to surround yourself with aren’t necessarily the people with whom you want to surround yourself with in future. I recently had a couple of experiences where it became crystal clear that some of the people in my life, though well intentioned, just weren’t in my corner the way I’d need them to be. They likely wouldn’t be able to change and largely weren’t willing to try to alter the nature of our relationship to accommodate what I needed. As a result, I needed to close the door on those relationships to move forward in a mentally and emotionally healthy way. In my coach Alan Weiss’s book “Million Dollar Consulting”, he writes about Michael Vick, the quarterback who was imprisoned for participating in dogfighting. Though Michael had attained a high level of success, he failed to close the watertight doors against people from his past who were engaged in criminal behavior and so was pulled back into that circle, sabotaging his success and affecting his life forever.


In my world I’m generally fond of second chances, of believing people can change, of extending the benefit of the doubt. What I’m learning now is to close those doors sooner because sometimes all extending the benefit of the doubt does is cause me pain when people can’t, don’t or won’t step up. In the past I would leave the door to my life ajar, as an open invitation to walk back in and now, like the door to my apartment, it remains closed and locked. If people want access, they can knock and then I can decide whether or not to let them in. I am a person who is constantly growing, constantly moving forward and constantly showing up for and keeping the people in my life who demonstrate they show up for me, mutually consenting to a relationship that benefits us both. And sometimes that means, no matter how painful, I must close the watertight doors to save myself from drowning.


This ranges from setting strong boundaries around access with those whom I’m obligated to interact (usually family) to closing off contact entirely (for example, exes who probably shouldn’t have been hanging around all this time anyway). Whatever the watertight doors look like to you, remember that there might be grief associated with the loss and it’s okay to give that some space. Be gentle with yourself and remain firm. You deserve to have people in your life who enthusiastically show up. Seal the doors.