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This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

Toxic people are all around us, sucking our energy, the way a vampire sucks blood from his victims. At least, this is the general, dramatized  picture of toxic people, but who are they, for real? They don’t come with a label, so you must first learn to recognize them and then do your best to deal with them, like most successful people do.

Toxic people have a high destructive potential, thus they can make a difference between you living a successful life and failing in all departments. This is why it is so important to know how to protect yourself from them.

Avoid people who try to take control over everything, the eternal-victim type, the arrogant type, the self-appointed judge, the gossip, and all the people who rely on lies and negativity to gain what they want.

How do these people affect you? They stress you out! Stress can bring an incredible amount of chaos in your life and you may end up failing on your job. Recent studies conducted at Stanford and Berkeley Center have confirmed that stress can deplete neurons, leading to brain damage and lower cognitive performance.

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Buddha put it simpler: “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your body.”

How can you stay away from toxic people? Here are some of the methods used by highly successful people—embrace them, adapt them to your own lifestyle, and make the most out of your life!

Victims and complainers? Set their limits!

One of the most common types of toxic person is the complainer: they tend to portray themselves as victims and try to find people to listen and join their self-pity parties. The best way to deal with these toxic people is to define limits for them—don’t be rude and just push them away from you. Instead, let them explain their problem and then ask them how they plan to solve it. This will stop the complaints and can actually help that person, so you will be in a win-win situation, like you should be, if you want to be a successful person.

Control your emotions

The secret of all toxic people is that they tend to overwhelm you and make you respond to them on an emotional level, which is the point at which you become part of the negative mix. To deal with this, you must detach yourself and think about who you are and what your goals are. This will put you back on track and help distance you from their storm.

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Stay aware of your own emotions and allow yourself some time to rethink the situation. Remember you only need to respond to facts from toxic people, not to their emotional roller coaster.

Pick your fights wisely

When you are dealing with a warrior type of toxic person, you must know when to fight back and when to call it a day. Many negative people can be really violent, with the sole purpose of making you react in an impulsive manner— and impulsiveness often means poor judgement. Don’t try to beat them at their own game. There is a harsh phrase for these people: “Never argue with stupid people; they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”. Just replace “stupid” with “toxic” and you have a new motivational to pin on your board.

One tip on this point is to limit your caffeine intake, because it stimulates the release of adrenaline, which makes you more prone to fight an angry co-worker or so-called friend. Instead of coffee, drink more smoothies and green tea, which are known to boost your energy and refuel your vitamin and mineral intake, as well as raising your intake of antioxidants.

Be consistent

In order to impose limits and be able to pick your battles, you must be consistent in your behaviour. Never, ever step out of your armor, because you will be hit by toxic people. If you’ve made up your mind to avoid a certain person, do so, all the way. One single leak can turn into a river and you will be instantly drowning into the waves.

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Forgive but don’t forget

Successful people know how to protect themselves. Don’t be afraid to be egocentric, and don’t let other people’s mistakes bother you or steal your productive time—give a person a chance, then move on when they fail on you. If you invest time into giving a toxic person a second chance, you are bound to take a couple of steps backward in your own self-development.

And when you feel guilty about this, remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right; for you’ll be criticized anyway”.

Focus only on the positive side

Focusing your attention upon your problems or on someone else’s problems is a sure way to get stuck. What you should be doing is focusing on solutions: this relieves stress and makes room for the so-called constructive stress, which is the urge to solve the problem. This will put your blood in motion and help your mind focus on positive emotions. In terms of toxic people, this can be translated as focusing on how to deal with them, not on how dysfunctional they are. Again, this is a win-win situation.

Minimize the impact of toxic people

After an encounter with a toxic person it is normal to feel bad about yourself, to a certain extent. But, you need to minimize this impact and the amount of time you spend thinking about toxic people and their problems. Negative self-talk is not only useless, but can drive one mad and is a strong barrier against productivity. The only thing you will manage to do when you lose yourself in self-talk is to focus on all the negative thoughts and bring a bad karma all around you, which is basically bad energy. This promotes depressive states and procrastination, among other things.

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Get support

Humans were built to live in communities and support one another, especially during hard times. Dealing with toxic people is difficult, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. A fresh point of view can help you solve the problem, relieve you of the person who is bothering you, and make you feel better about yourself.

Make constructive associations

You can’t pick your family, but you can and should make wise picks when it comes to your friends, co-workers, and mentors. Detach yourself from people who are disrespectful to you and your work, and seek the company of inspiring, creative, and supportive people who can teach you new things and help you boost your performance. Remember the Latin phrase “festina lente”—hurry up slowly—and invest your time in own self-development, making every second count.

Singer Adele can give you a strong example of how to do it: “I have insecurities, of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”

Enjoy life and be happy!

Last, but not least, don’t let toxic people steal your joy. When you are proud of yourself for something you’ve done right, don’t let an arrogant person steal your happiness—block all the negative remarks and take your time to enjoy your moment of glory. However, don’t dive too deep, because you risk developing a toxic personality yourself. If needed—in other words, if you feel like doing it—take other people’s remarks and find the positive, constructive ideas in them, so you can learn from them, even if they are not the best teachers one can have.

And remember, the only person who really knows you is yourself, and only you can work on your faults in order to achieve personal and professional success.

Featured photo credit: toxic via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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