Monday, July 29, 2013

Cling-Ons ...

For the five Mondays in July, we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

The last post in this series is about Cling-Ons ... not to be confused with the Klingons from Star Trek (for my Trekkies out there). Cling-ons are people who hang on to you, follow your decisions and agree with you on everything. These are also known as Yes Men (or women).

Some people like to be surrounded by Cling-ons. It makes them feel important. Celebrities who travel with an entourage are surrounded by this type. I once dated (briefly) a very successful athlete who was surrounded by them. The sad thing is all of these years later, after his career fizzled and he became pretty much a caricature of himself, I believe he's still surrounded by them. I can't help but think what his life would have been like if someone had stood up to him, challenged some of his very bad decisions or just had the guts to tell him 'no'.

His story is a cautionary tale of what is wrong with Cling-ons. At first glance, they seem harmless. All of us should know how to lead and to follow. Most of us are comfortable with one role over the other and Cling-ons are the followers. You can't have too many cooks in the kitchen right? To an extent, that is true. However, there are times in all of our lives when we need a reality-check.

I got one from one of my best friends the other day. I had an important decision I had to make. For this decision to work, I would have to be very strict with my finances, and although I have made progress in this area, for me, it is still my Achilles Heel. She stopped me in my tracks and said, "I love you to death but there is no way you are going to do that. Think about it. Who are we talking about here." She was right. There was no arguing about it. She gave me a cold dose of reality that I needed. It helped me make, what I believe, was the right decision.

She came from a place of love and it made all of the difference. She didn't just agree with me. She didn't just go along because she thought that was what I wanted, she told me the truth and very well saved me from some dire consequences down the line.

If there is a Cling-on or two in your circle, recognize them for what they are - just don't rely on their opinions when it comes to decision-making or when you need an honest answer. They might be a great shoulder for you to lean on but recognize their strengths and their weaknesses.

If your circle is made up of Cling-ons then your work is a little harder. You need to ask yourself why you feel the need to surround yourself with people who will follow you regardless of what you do. Sometimes there can be underlying insecurities or needs that haven't been met. Then again, maybe you just like this type of person, either way, you need to take a real look at yourself before you make that decision.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Get It Together Girl Radio

I have finally done something I'd been thinking about doing for a while now. I am launching my own BlogTalkRadio show in September.

Just as often as I thought about doing it, I would think myself out of it. I probably didn't have the equipment. I couldn't afford the advertising. It would just be one more thing on a very full plate. The thing is I never went further than thinking. I just knew it was going to take more money, more time and more effort that I could afford.

I'd been yearning to do something though. So a few weeks ago, I actually went to the BlogTalkRadio site and started investigating. I quickly realized, I already had all the equipment I needed to get started, it wasn't going to cost me a fortune to start and there were ways I could actually make money through my show. They even gave me tips on promotion and free training with a veteran host.

So I did it. And it felt good. Heck, it still feels good. Had I taken a look at the site and found that it really was expensive or time-intensive, that would have been fine too. I would have just moved on. The scary thing was that I asked all of these questions and came up with my own answers. I talked myself out of taking action without even having any real information!

How many times do we make decisions like that? We think we know and assume that our thoughts must be the reality. The only way to know is to make the effort and take the time to find out the truth. In my case, it was just checking out a website and talking to a veteran host.

So instead of taking your own expert advice, take the initiative to get the information from the experts. Go on a fact-finding mission. Once you have your facts, then and only then can you really make a good decision.

Get It Together Girl Radio will be a weekly series dedicated to helping listeners get the information and take the initiative necessary to live their lives at full capacity! My motto .. Get Motivated. Get Real. Get There with Get It Together Girl Radio! When I finalize the time for the live show I will let you all know. I will also give you the link to my page, so you can listen to my show anytime!

I'm so excited that last night I recorded a short preview episode that contains information on Get It Together Girl: the history, the concept, the workbooks and now the radio show. Check it out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dramatic Royalty

For the five Mondays in July, we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

The King and Queen are on their thrones! Oh brother! Here we go... I am talking about the King and Queen of the kingdom of Drama. When they hold court, confusion, hurt feelings, and negative emotions abound. They will suck you in and will not let you go. You'll be a prisoner in the dungeon of Drama!

I say Drama Kings and Queens because women do not have a monopoly on drama. Many men have a flair for the dramatic too. Dramatic Royalty have a way of making everything about them. You are merely an audience member or a bit player. These people simply aren't happy unless things are emotionally in disarray.

They read into even the most innocent of behaviors and assume some sort of nefarious intent. A friend tried to make a joke when on a shopping excursion The Dramatic One tried on a pair of pants that were too tight. Now, the friend is being hateful towards them and is ultimately jealous of their great relationship (huh?).What started as a snowball (my boss wasn't thrilled with my presentation) turned into an avalanche of emotion (I'm going to lose my job, and then my relationship and finally end up homeless and alone on the street!).

There is always crying or yelling or maybe the silent treatment. They use extreme emotion to get their way and they continue to do it because usually it works. They like the attention and to hold people captive with their pendulum-swinging emotions. Those on the other side of the emotional tsunami want it to stop. We want them to feel better and be okay. We want peace. They count on us to give them the emotional enabling they need.

Three tips for dealing with Dramatic Royalty

  1. It's them, it's not you. While they will selfishly try to find a way to blame you for their problems, it's not you, it's them. And, it is not your job to make them feel better and to always be the one to solve their problems. As long as you take ownership for them, they will never take ownership for themselves.
  2. Let them go ... but don't go with them. When the tantrums start (and they will) let them go on ... and on ... and on. Don't try to stop them (unless they get physical); but don't give into them either. This is the part where they expect you to cave in to their demands. Don't do it. Do not argue or attempt to reason with them either. Once they get an emotional rise out of you, they have won.
  3. Stay calm and stand up. Say no. You are entitled to your time, your money or whatever else they are demanding. You are entitled to being treated with respect and like the adult that you are. You will be called selfish but you aren't the selfish one (see #1). If there is something you can do for them, be clear about what you can and cannot, will and will not do for them. Be willing to walk away. 
Think about their immaturity this way. Kids stop the tantrums when they realize that no one is looking at them. As a kid, I always wanted to throw something when I was angry. I stopped doing that when I realized that I was the one who had to clean up the mess I'd made. When children know what they can't get away with they stop the behavior. Notice however that the immature behavior starts again when they are with someone who tolerates it. Dramatic Royalty works the same way. When you stop the madness, the madness will stop.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is it Time Yet?

How long is too long? I’ve often hear people say they stay in a bad relationship or job because they’ve already put X number of years in. That never made sense to me. Wouldn’t that be even more of a reason to get it over with and get on with your life?

I think people that say this are dealing with a few things. First: fear. They would rather be unhappy with what they have than face the possibility of being unhappy with something unfamiliar. Really though, isn’t the risk worth it. After a while, the possibility of happiness in the bad situation dwindles. However, the chances of your success in another situation don’t change.

Second: comfort. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson makes a statement about human nature that is almost always true. He said, “All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” People will put up nonsense and settle for far less than they deserve because the status quo is easier than change.

Third: hope. In their heart of hearts, some people believe that sheer force of will and enough endurance will change their situations. This could be true if you are in your situation alone but force of will and endurance won’t change another person’s thoughts, actions and behaviors.

When you look at how much you’ve invested in a situation, ask yourself whether it is worth it to invest anymore? Your time is more valuable than money and you would not consistently invest your hard-earned dollars in a product or stock that consistently lost your money. So why spend your invaluable time with people or situations that don’t provide a return on your investment?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Managing the Manipulator

For the five Mondays in July, we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

If you look at your relationship with someone and find that you are always the giver and they are always the taker, you’re probably dealing with a manipulator. When they are willing to take beyond what is comfortable for you to give, you’re definitely dealing with a user.

A user plays on your emotions and your good nature to get what they want. Yet, when you need something they are absent or come with a good excuse. They expect you to take no for an answer but when you try it, you better have your bags packed because you are in for quite a guilt trip!

They will take money, time, clothing or anything you have got. Some people are just manipulative. Others have learned to manipulate because it has gotten good results for them in the past. The spoiled child grows up to be an adult who uses tantrums, guilt and everything else to get the results they have always gotten.

They aren’t always easy to spot. Some will look like that pouty, bratty child. Others will be demanding and argumentative. However, a lot of them will be sweet and nice. The way to tell a manipulator is through their actions not through their attitude. They want something from you and they want it now. If you feel that sense of dread coming when they begin their latest tale of hard luck or woe, you are probably dealing with a manipulator.

So, how do you handle them?
  1. Set boundaries. Let them know what you can and can’t do. They need to see that there are limits. They need someone to babysit every evening this week. Let them know you can do two days and what two days they are. Stick to your guns when it comes to the boundaries you set.
  2. Say No and mean it. There are times when the answer is no, so say it. Often they will come up with a variety of ways to ask for the same thing. You have one thing to say and that is no. You can change it up too but at the end of the day, the translation should be the same – “No.” If you need to soften it a bit, throw in a “I’m so sorry but I can’t help you.”
  3. Don’t give them a time frame. If you say, “I don’t have $200 now but see me on Friday when I get paid,” guess who you’ll be seeing on Friday? This is not a good technique to use because you are just delaying the inevitable and making a touchy situation even more sensitive.
  4. Attach some strings. Give them a contract to sign, a date to pay you back, or something to do in exchange for the money. Hold them accountable and mean. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Wish You Well

Over the years, I have been lied to by people I expected to always tell me the truth. I’ve been kind and generous to people who did not deserve either kindness or generosity. I’ve even turned the other cheek on occasions where a good slap could have felt a heck of a lot better. I used to get upset. I used to wonder ”Why me?” Sometimes I still do have those responses, but inevitably, now much sooner than later, I end up feeling the same way. I say to those who have wronged me, either in person or mentally, “I wish you well.”

I don’t wish them well with sarcasm or bitterness. I sincerely wish them well. First of all, holding on to anger hurts me more than it hurts them. I read a quote once that said refusing to forgive is like taking poison and hoping the other person will get sick.

Everything that happens happens for a reason and I truly believe that our mistakes, missteps and the evil people do, teach us lessons ... some a heck of a lot harder to learn  than others. I try to find the lesson. What can I do differently next time? What should I watch out for? What are the warning signs? What shouldn’t I tolerate? What can I start doing right now to make this situation better? Once I have the lesson, I’m prepared to move on. And, I move on with the knowledge that will prevent whatever happened before from happening again.

I am a better person than I was before and I wish them well.

Now wishing someone well and being the vehicle by which they do well are two wildly different things. I wish you well. I wish you get the help you need. I wish you see what the consequences of your actions. I wish you stop hurting yourself and those around you. I wish you get some peace and some happiness.

HOWEVER, I shouldn’t and won’t be responsible for getting someone help, or showing them the consequences of their actions or getting their pain to stop or taking on their happiness and peace of mind as my personal mission.

When I wish someone well, I release them of the power that hate, resentment, bitterness and even fear gives them over me. I send them out of my live without negativity. And, most often, I am sending them out. I don’t have room in my world for people who don’t have my best interest in mind. In the case of toxic family, I might not be able to send them out but I can keep them at a distance. Self-care is about more than bubble baths and manicure; it’s about doing what is best for you physically, emotionally and mentally.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Succeeding with Saboteurs

For the five weeks in July, every Monday we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

If you have ever embarked on a diet, started an exercise regime or considered a career change, you have probably run into a saboteur. They are there with the cookies when you are trying to watch your eating, they want you to take a walk through the parking lot to happy hour instead of heading to the gym. They point out every potential risk in your new undertaking. Basically, when you need support the most, they not only refuse to give it but seek to derail you.

For the saboteur change is a bad thing. They want to maintain the status quo, change is to be avoided at all costs. Sometimes the urge to sabotage is based out of fear – fear your relationship will change, or even end, if you change. If you lose weight, maybe you’ll find someone else. Other times fear is of you wanting them to make a similar change. If you start working out, you’ll want them to start working out … and they don’t want to work out!

Maybe change would make things more difficult for them. You cutting back on your expenses would mean cutting back on shopping sprees with them. If you get another job, they will lose a valuable work ally.
Finally, your change might be holding up a mirror for them in their lives and, they might not like what they see. They want to do something different too. By you actually doing it, makes them wonder why they haven’t taken the initiative.

Regardless of why, you don’t want their efforts to derail your success.

  1. Put them at ease. If you sense they are resisting your change out of fear, then assure them that you will still want them, need them and love them, regardless of the change. Once you have eased their fears, tell them how they can help you.
  2. Let them know of the new status quo. While some things will change, others will remain the same. Maybe you won’t be buying as much, but you are still available for shopping trips with your friend. Even though your budget is changing, there are lots of fun things you can do.
  3. Have a Plan B. There will be times when you give in to the saboteur’s efforts. So have a plan for getting back on track. Remember, success isn’t flawless, there are always setbacks. When you fall, get back up!
  4. Get a team of supporters. For every saboteur, there should be at least one person you can turn to for support and encouragement. Lean on these people and allow them to bolster you when you are down, and when you can, return the favor!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Whoa there! Negative Nelly!

For the five weeks in July, every Monday we'll deal with dealing with one type of difficult person.

There are some people whom you hate to see coming. When they open their mouths, you know what's coming next. It won't be positive. It won't be encouraging. It won't be helpful. It will be negative, emotionally-draining and leave you feeling worse than you did before they showed up. This is Negative Nelly or Negative Nelson.

Nelson's glass is half-full. In fact, it's less than half-full, it's almost empty. And, if you ask Nelly, she'll tell you why. It's the waiter's fault. She never gets good service at this restaurant. In fact, service hasn't been good since the 70's. "Why, oh why, can't we go back to that time?!"

Negative Nellies/Nelsons refuse to see the bright side of anything. Usually, they aren't just looking for the dark side, they are also looking for who to blame for the clouds. As someone who has to deal with this type of person, recognize that it isn't your job to understand them and it certainly isn't your role to change them. All you can do is decide how you will interact with them.

  1. Don't encourage them. When you need someone to complain to or to commiserate with you, do not call Nelly! She'll take it and run with it. More importantly, she'll begin to see you as a kindred spirit, someone who shares her demoralizing outlook.
  2. Stop them. Once they start, change the subject or just excuse yourself. You do not have to be subjected to a long-winded diatribe. When you start feeling drained, change the subject. If that doesn't work, excuse yourself - end the conversation, stop the texting, get off the phone. 
  3. Refute them. Since Nelson and Nelly are usually looking for someone to blame, they may start looking at you, especially if you aren't taking their negativity. Have some information to counter them ... this is especially true on the job. Be armed with information to challenge them when they turn their negative eye towards you. The purpose isn't to confront or engage them. It is simply to stop them and make it clear that they need to focus their efforts elsewhere. You will not tolerate it.

Next Week: We'll be dealing with Saboteurs - the--people who actively stand between you and your success!