Get Rid of the Negative Nellies
Have you ever been in a situation where others doubted your ability to thrive and be successful? Most noteworthy and successful business people have too. But they ignored them - and so should you.
Well over a decade ago, while working in the corporate world, I was taking a member of our senior management to the airport. He was on the brink of retirement and I was just beginning my career. I was young, impressionable and intimidated by his boisterous personality and success. We chatted and our conversations remained within the confines of what is acceptable, politically correct conversation. After all, I had been well-coached for moments like these. I knew how I was supposed to act in front of individuals in his position. Professional.
All of a sudden, he abruptly turned to me and asked, “So what’s your plan?" A little taken aback, I asked “What do you mean?" He proceeded to interrogate me on where I thought this job was going to take me. He went on about how I couldn’t do this forever, and how it was basically a dead-end job. My immediate thought? What a jerk.
Little did he know this dead-end job was about to catapult my career. It was about to expose me to some of the most powerful, influential people in the industry. It was about to afford me the opportunity to travel all over the country, learn from the best, and build long-lasting relationships that are still going strong today.
He didn’t know this, but I did. I didn’t know how I was going to get to where I am, I just knew I was headed in that direction. I knew from a young age that no matter where we are, or what we’re doing, we can learn and grow from every experience. Even though I was not in a position of power with a set path at the time, I knew there was a lot I could get out of this job and the company.
Fast forward a couple of years and I was still with the same company. We were at a conference when one of my peers turned to me and said, “I heard an Executive Assistant position is opening up. You should go for it. It pays about $40,000 a year.” I graciously thanked her for letting me know, leaving out how I was already making more than double that.
This was her perception of me - but it was clearly not the perception I had of myself. If I had allowed her words to offend me, hold power over me, or cause me to doubt my worth, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I had allowed the senior leader, a few years prior, to change my belief on what that job was going to do for me, I may have switched career paths and never embarked on the incredible journey I’m on.
Knowing who we are is hard. The first step that leads to our identity is knowing who we are not. You must have some kind of vision for your life. Even though you may not have a plan; you have to have a direction in which you choose to go. I still don’t know exactly where I’m going, but I do have a very solid vision.
How I stay focused on that vision is simple, and I want to share these strategies with you.
Staying Focused on Your Vision
1. Remain aware.
We all have greatness within us, yet throughout the trials and tribulations of life, we often get distracted and lose site of our dreams. I challenge you to stop for a while and think about what you used to fantasize about. What would you turn your life into if you were handed a magic wand?
2. Look at your inner circle.
Get rid of negative nellies. You know these people - they're the ones who want to bring you down. Sometimes they are friends you've known since high school, a friendly neighbor, a chummy co-worker or even family. But these negative folks don't belong in your inner circle. Surround yourself with positivity. When you do this, you will have selectively chosen your circle. Those are the people you share your story with.
For those that are special and trustworthy enough to hear your story, share it loud and clear. Play off their energy and excitement for you. For all the naysayers I’ve come across in my life, an equal number of cheerleaders have shown up. Friends and acquaintances along the way who have believed in me, shown me support, and offered to support me in making my dreams a reality. Hang with those peeps.
3. Take control.
This is hard work. But if you want to change your life, restructure your business, be happy, and achieve success beyond your wildest dreams, you have to aggressively take control of your life. You have to take risks, let people go, let people in, and start to talk about who you want to become.
I’ll leave you with this. Whatever you tolerate, you will never change. I was fueled by those who thought less of who I know I am. Anger brings change. I was determined to prove them wrong and I did. Don’t let the noise of the outside world ever deter you from where you want to go. You have it in you, I know you do.
President & CEO