Can You Really Be Successful at Both Business and Relationships?

UPDATED: August 26, 2017
PUBLISHED: August 26, 2017

Can you be a titan of whatever your given passion and enjoy an equally successful romantic partnership—not to mention life?

Related: 8 Traits of Healthy Relationships

Chris Donaghue, Ph.D., a therapist with a practice in Los Angeles, and co-host of CBS’s Loveline with Amber Rose Podcast, has many high-profile and successful clients. He thinks it is possible to have it all.

But it requires both parties to recognize that the relationship takes just as much work as their careers—and an enormous amount of humility.

“Business values are not same as healthy relational values, and they are often in complete opposition,” Donaghue says. “Business often requires no emotionality and is all about being rational, productive and answering, ‘What is this going do for me?’ ” he says. “Personal relationships are the opposite: They are going to do nothing for you! Just being is your only goal, and you often can’t schedule for it. The person who built an empire must unlearn much of what made them so successful if they want their relationship to work.”

Related: 4 Important Truths of Lasting Relationships

Professional leaders who also thrive in their personal lives are those who learn to value their partners as an equal—regardless of their social capital, whether financial wealth, connections or physical beauty. “Highly successful people are used to being the most important person in the room, but that doesn’t work at home,” Donaghue says.

Often keeping the relationship alive and healthy might require drastic changes, including in one’s social circle, and ceasing reliance on social media approval. “We are highly influenced by people we surround ourselves with, and an obsession with your social media following that prioritizes cars and vacations and big houses, makes you disconnected from what is important. It is important to have peers who focus on something meaningful in their lives.”

Ironically, Donaghue says that he teaches his highly successful clients how to apply the interpersonal relationship tool to their businesses. “I teach the billionaires who sit in my office that if you listen to your clients’ stories about their grandchildren, and you make them feel human, they are far more likely to buy from you.”

Related: The Most Important Part of Success Is Connection


This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Emma Johnson is a business journalist, gender-equality activist, and founder of the world's largest community of single moms, Emma and her best-selling book, The Kickass Single Mom, and her organization, Moms for Shared Parenting, have been featured in hundreds of national and international media outlets.