Dumping Debbie Downers

As a professional speaker who puts myself “out there” every day, it is important that I maintain positive energy and mindset. For the first few years of my career, however, this was difficult for me because the most influential people in my life, my friends and family, were doubtful about the path I had chosen. And as I would share my dreams and aspirations with my friends and family, their doubt became my doubt, their criticisms became my own criticisms and their negativity became my own negativity.

New Years 5 years ago, I made a drastic decision: I DUMPED everyone in my life who didn’t support me or contribute in a positive way. Some of them were impossible to actually “dump” completely from my life (i.e., my parents) but I shut them out of my planning and decision-making processes, instead I decided only tell them about results and successes (i.e. “Check out this newspaper article on me!”)

The results have been nothing short of amazing. I’m more confident and happy, and even better, my former “doubters” go around boasting about how successful I am!! Not to mention, sharing on a “results-only” basis means I’m more focused on results, which is good on numerous levels.

We all wish our lives were filled with row after row of raving fans who love exactly what we do and how we do it. The unfortunate reality is that life’s filled with people who rain on our parade…and people who are just plain toxic! And sometimes these Debbie Downers are disguised as our closest allies, so they can bring us down, without our even noticing. What to do?

It’s time for a detox.

When most of us hear the word detox, we think food, drugs or alcohol. We rarely think about detoxing from a person. Yet, you know what I’m talking about because you have a person (or multiple persons!) in your life right who drains you, distracts you, derails you, or makes you doubt yourself.

This person may very well be a client. It might be a colleague. A business partner. An employee. A competitor. Or someone who calls themselves a “friend.” You have to prune these people out of your life.

Try this NOW.

Dump them short-term:

Consider taking a 30-day detox from that person. Insulate yourself. Draw a line in the sand. Protect yourself from the person’s energetic impact, thus eliminating counter-productive drama. After 30 days, re-evaluate. Maybe the detox felt so good you don’t want it to end. Or, maybe you’ll come back to that relationship – be it professional or personal – with a whole new appreciation of the role that person plays in your life.

Dump them long-term:

Some people don’t deserve another chance. In business, most of your relationships are expendable. You can always get a new client, accountant, or assistant. The moment you think you’re stuck with someone is the moment you start sabotaging your success.

Overall, here are some tactics to protect yourself going forward:

  • Avoid negative people – they have power to slow or halt your progress.
  • Choose your inner circle wisely, and keep your intra-personal relationships healthy and thriving.
  • Surround yourself with other students and people in your life who are aligned with who you are and where you’re going.
  • Get advice, assistance and moral support from people who appreciate the journey you have committed to.
  • Tell those people what you are committed to, and allow them to (or ask them to!) lift you to up where you’re going.
  • Finally, hang out with people who are MORE SUCCESSFUL than you.
  • So do the people close to you in your life move you FORWARD or HOLD YOU BACK? Consider this: do they get excited for your successes? Are they good listeners? Are they open to your ideas? Do they share BALANCED advice or do they always criticize everything you do?

Remember: You work way too hard to let OTHER people’s junk get in YOUR way.


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