The holiday season is just around the corner, and with that comes family time.
There is a high level of joy and love that comes with the holidays, but layered on top, or underneath, or around the sides, there is usually a level of stress.
It is in times of stress that we often lose our integrity.
It is in times of stress that we lose sight of what is important to us
It is in times of stress that we fail to live out our values.
It is in times of stress that we tend to call names and criticize.
We have all encountered negative comments in the past, and so I wanted to give you some coaching and advice on how to handle whatever may come your way--either from friends, family, or a stranger.
This is about being proactive, rather than reactive.
This isn’t about starting unnecessary fights or conflicts, but about mutual respect and standing by your values.
#1 KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS AND BOUNDARIES
What are the comment, topics, themes, or subjects that upset you?
How do they get started? By whom?
What comments in the past have been made that you won’t tolerate anymore?
What boundaries do you want to set moving forward?
#2 MAKE A PLAN
Literally, plan ahead what your response will be when x, y, or z happens. Again, it is about being proactive.
Unfortunately, when our buttons are pushed, our reptilian brain wants to do the work for us and protect us. We respond to hurt, with more hurt, but that doesn’t get us anywhere.
We need to be vigilant.
Set an intention and make a plan.
When ________ makes __________ comments, I am going to say _________, and if they do it again I am going to ______________.
When my mom makes comments about my weight, I am going to say, “I understand your concern for my health, but I do not appreciate when you ask about my exercise regime or my eating habits. Can you please refrain from making those comments in the future?.” If she does it a second time, I will remind her of my request and quickly and kindly leave the room. (hang up the phone, leave the dinner table, etc…)
#2 STOP THE SILENCE
Too often when people say crappy things to us or around us, we let is slide.
We don’t address it.
We pretend that it doesn’t matter.
We decide not to rock the boat.
But, if we want things to change, we need to address it.
We need to stop the silence.
Here is the easiest way to do so.
Here are some examples. (The last one is one that I recently made myself over email.)
Did you just call me a ________. That doesn’t work for me. Please don’t do it again.
I appreciate your concern for my love life, but I don’t appreciate when you refer to my boyfriend as a “slacker.” It makes me sad and angry. Can you refrain from making negative comments about him?
I heard from Aunt Dot that you were questioning my choice in career. She said that you said, “I wish Molly would get a real career instead of this coaching malarkey.” If you have concerns, can you please address me directly, rather than talking about it with others?
I am very open to having a respectful dialogue about this election. In the past I have been called "stupid", "naive" and that I "don't know what I am talking about" when I have engaged in a debate with you. I will not tolerate those kinds of character attacks from you, and I request that you refrain from making them.
Now there will be times when you don’t really know what someone means when they say something. This is when you need to ask questions to clarify.
In these instances it might be FACT--CLARIFICATION--FEELING--REQUEST.
If we can’t get clarification, we can still make a request.
Someone recently sent me this comment. Hate to clutter your mind with facts at this emotional time, but here.. with a link to an article.
What the hell is that supposed to mean?
I could have read into it in many different ways, but instead it was best to clarify the intent. FACT-CLARIFICATION
Then you can follow through with your FEELING and REQUEST
#4 STAND BY YOUR BOUNDARIES
Okay, this is the hard part.
People won’t necessarily remember your request, and even if they do, their own reptilian brain might kick in and they might say something without thinking.
People might not even know that they are being mean.
Seriously, sometimes we don't.
This is when you need to stick by your plan.
This is what makes a boundary a boundary.
Are you going to leave the conversation, the room, the house?
Are you going to unfriend them on Facebook?
Are you going to hang up the phone?
Are you going to stop seeing them?
Are you going to block them from sending you emails?
You have to follow through.
They won’t know your boundaries unless you tell them and show them.
Do you have to tell them ahead of time what you plan to do? Not necessarily.
You can just follow through. If you want to tell them why you left or hung up on them , feel free, but do so when emotions are calm and you are prepared for the conversation to open up again.
I recently unfriended someone on Facebook after they failed to follow through with a request that I made that they send me a private message instead of writing accusations on my FB wall. I later sent him a message letting him know why I unfriended him. He said something about it being silly to unfriend someone over politics. I said, "I didn't unfriend you over politics. I unfriended you because you didn't respect my request." He apologized :)
Okay, one last point.
Just because they are your family, your best friend, or someone in power, doesn’t mean that you can’t set boundaries with them.
Mutual respect is one of the cornerstones of integrity and it goes both ways.
If someone isn’t respecting you and your requests, you have to respect yourself enough to let them know and stand by your boundaries.
Community. Connection. Collaboration.
Connect with me today in Thrive At Work. It's a private Facebook community for professionals who love their work, but not necessarily the people they work with. I do live trainings, share stories, and ask questions to support you to turn things around.
Shit is always going to go sideways.
Maybe it happened yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year.
That shit could range from a crappy comment, to unexpected bad news, to a major loss. There is a whole range of shit that happens that puts us in a tailspin.
It’s what you do in that tailspin, and afterwards, that matters.
FEEL HOW YOU FEEL
As I said last week, give yourself permission to feel mad, or sad, or nervous, or devastated, or whatever you feel.
Feel it fully.
There is no need to pretend that everything is FINE or OKAY, when it is not.
And do not let anyone tell you that your feelings are wrong.
At some point, though, we don’t need to “get over it,” but we do need to “get on with it.”
DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR VALUES
When we are disappointed, or hurt, or threatened, it is very easy for those feelings to cause us to lash out. To scream, to cry, to fight. To combat hurt with hurt.
It’s the natural way.
The mirror neurons in our brain light up and mimic what we see and hear, and respond in kind.
This is when we need to be mindful.
This is when we need to be attentive.
This is when we need to push our best self forward.
Remember your commitments.
Remember your values.
Remember what is most important to you.
Fight if you want to fight, but fight in a way that coincides with your values.
Be bold and stand up for yourself and what you believe in, but stand up with kindness, with love, and with an open heart.
At the end of the day you want to be able to say, “I am proud of what I did today.”
FOCUS ON THE SOLUTION
When shit goes sideways, we immediately seek support from like minded individuals or people who will understand.
It’s completely natural to want to vent, or grieve, or complain with someone who will listen. Do it.
Then, once you have found some release, start focusing on the solution.
If it means donating, or volunteering, or making phone calls. Do it.
Take action because it is only through action that things will change.
Take action because it is only through action that we can have power.
Take action because it is only through action that we can truly live in integrity.
LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND
Sometimes shit goes sideways because someone doesn’t share our values.
This is again, when we need to be vigilant.
When we need to insure that we don’t lose our integrity.
When we don’t allow our nasty, self-protecting, ego-maniacal self to come forth.
I know you want to stand in your values and be “right” but that will only lead to discord.
We need to listen, as we would want them to listen to us.
We need to get curious about their circumstances and perspective.
We need to put aside our ego and ask open ended questions.
We need to stop worrying about being right and start worrying about finding common ground.
We need to work together.
Again, at the end of the day you want to be able to say, “I am proud of who I am and what I did today.”
Community. Connection. Collaboration.
Connect with me today in Thrive At Work. It's a private Facebook community of professionals who are entrenched in a negative relationship at work.
Photo Credit: Sarette van den Heever
We have all failed an important test.
We have all had our heart broken.
We have all lost a loved one.
We have all had our political candidate lose.
You were pissed.
You were angry.
You were confused.
You were hurt.
Most of you probably asked “Why me” or “Why this?” Or even, “How could this have happened?”
And you know where that got you--nowhere.
It’s done. It’s over.
No amount of questioning or analyzing is going to change the result.
No amount of bickering and complaining is going to change the result.
You can keep reviewing your notes and see where you went wrong.
You can keep calling your ex in hopes that they will reconsider.
You can keep wondering “Did I do enough?” when they were alive.
You can keep asking “If only…”
But, please don’t.
Get off the internet. Get away from the TV.
Tell the crazy person in your head that it’s time to be quiet.
Feel however you feel, but don’t wallow in it.
Don't let it consume you.
Cry your eyes out.
Punch something (not someone).
Get into a drunken stupor.
Eat a pint (or 2) of ice cream.
Go out for a run.
Watch a stupid comedy.
Whatever it is, do it. Get it out of your system.
THEN GO OUT AND LIVE!
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
“I can’t afford it,” is the most common response I get after a free coaching session with a potential client.
It’s also a phrase that I use quite often myself.
It’s bullshit, though.
First of all, “I can’t” isn’t an accurate statement in and of itself.
Can and can’t is about the physical ability to do something.
Will and won’t is about the choice to do something.
We often confuse I can’t with I won’t.
Let me give you a personal example.
Right now my husband and I are looking to move to a larger house since we are feeling a bit squeezed in our current home.
Given that my husband spent the last year following a dream and not making any money, and I was pregnant and/or on maternity leave, it would be easy for us to say “we can’t afford it.”
In reality, though, we can afford to move.
What is really up for debate, though, is if we want to spend the money.
It’s not we can’t, it’s do we want to. There is a big difference.
There are there main reasons why we say "I can't afford it" when we really can.
Just to be clear, I am not urging you to spend money on every whim that comes your way because that would be irresponsible.
I am asking you to look deeper and ask yourself why you say I can’t afford it.
If your heart sings at the idea of having or doing something, spend the money.
If you don’t want something, don’t buy it, and don’t lie about why you won’t.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.
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