Closing Doors vs. Burning Bridges

Years ago, I was working on my doctorate. At the time, my wife and I ran a management consulting firm. Our company was growing with offices in several states and an increasing number of employees and clients. We also had two young children.

By any measure, we had more than enough on our plates. Nonetheless, I kept saying ‘yes’ to side projects & became involved in a not-for-profit endeavor.

I say all of this not out of pride, but embarrassment. Why?

I had become addicted to keeping doors open. Saying ‘no’ wasn’t part of my skillset. Having a lot going on felt good.

When a new door opened, I seized the opportunity.

At some point I realized that keeping all of these doors open was hurting our business, damaging key relationships, and taking a toll on me. I wasn’t giving anything my absolute best.

Something had to give. Doors needed to close. I knew it intellectually, but found it emotionally difficult to close a few doors.


I had confused burning bridges with shutting doors. One is toxic and destructive. The other is liberating and, when done well, relationship and career enhancing.

I’m a work in progress, but I have learned the importance of awareness and choice.

How about you?

Photo by Evelyn Paris on Unsplash