A frequent question I hear over the last 25 years of leadership, maybe 20 since being at a higher level of leadership: How do I deal with toxic people? This comes in many forms; how do I deal with dysfunctional family members? How do I deal with overbearing controlling bosses? How do I deal with people who are just so negative? These are all different versions of the same question: How do I deal with toxic people?
What do toxic people do to your life? Or think what do toxic people do to your life?
They drain me, they suck the life out of me…
They suck the energy right out of us. And if you have toxic people in your life, you probably don’t want to stay there. How do you deal with that? I got three pretty essential keys for how to deal with toxic people. And by the way this expands, not just to toxic people, toxic environments as well.
ONE: Take Full Responsibility & TAKE BACK YOUR POWER
You have got a toxic person or you’re in a toxic environment, what should you do? You take full responsibility for your life and TAKE BACK YOUR POWER because you are a powerful person. You’re not a victim of your circumstances. You’re a creator of your life. If you’ve got toxic people, stop playing the victim. Stop acting like they got all the power and you have none. YOU ARE NOT POWERLESS.
There is greatness on the inside of you. It is your responsibility to protect the greatness on the inside of you so you can give it to the world. And if you’ve got a leech; someone creating pain and suffering in your life, making you feel less… some of you have felt those feelings, right?
If that is happening in your life, you have to take the first step… you have to take 100% responsibility and say, I refuse to live this way. While you do that, ask yourself these three questions:
- What can I Own?
It takes two to tango, a little cliché, but think about it, what can you own? What did you contribute to make this relationship more toxic? Even if you just contributed to the victim hood mentality that kept you in the relationship… What can I own in this scenario? How can I take full responsibility? I recommend the book: Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Where can I take extreme ownership in this, so that I am not playing the victim, pointing the fingers, or acting powerless?
- What can I Learn?
That’s a tough question to ask, but ask yourself: what I am dealing with toxic people, what can I learn? What can I learn about people? What can I learn about life? What can I learn about my business? What can I learn about my tendency to hire people or to surround myself with toxic people? What can I learn about how people operate?
- How can I Grow?
How can I change? If you are going to stay, you’ve got to take responsibility and realize that you can get better out of this circumstance; these toxic people, somehow they are a gift. I know that is taking it a little too far for some of you, but those toxic people are a gift that will help you to become all that you were created to be. One of the greatest lessons from Tony Robbins I have learned, “You can find the gift in any circumstance.”
TWO: Take Action
This does not mean what you think it means. What I am talking about is I want you to take action to shift the relationship, to shift the environment.
I’ll never forget, a long time ago I was in a toxic environment. I was whining and complaining and blaming. And it was everyone else’s fault. Nobody appreciated me and I wasn’t getting paid. I wallowed in it for quite some time, probably a year and a half… my wife affectionately calls it my “dark time.” You don’t want your spouse to have a chapter in your life referred to as the “dark time.” I was letting it weigh me down and I was playing the victim.
And then I made a decision to TAKE BACK MY POWER and I made a list in my journal. It was my first journal, on those pages I wrote about all the things I could do to take action, to shift the environment, to shift relationships… to say, I am not waiting on someone else to make a move. I’m going to move. I’m going to take responsibility. And I’m going to take the actions to shift the people, the environment, the relationships, the outcomes, the culture.
And so you can take responsibility, but then take action to shift it.
THREE: You’ve GOT to SET BOUNDARIES
This is essential. Let me say it, again, because some of you suck at setting boundaries. You let people step all over you, talk down to you and diminish the greatness that is on the inside of you. You have got to stop doing that. You’re loved. You’re great. You’re amazing. And you need to set boundaries that respect you and the other person as well.
Recommended Reading :
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
By: Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend
If this blog is resonating with you, get ahold of this book. It has been a bestseller for decades for a reason.
Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward
By: Dr. Henry Cloud
There is a golden nugget in this book; he talks about three kinds of people that you need to set boundaries with: the wise, the foolish, and the evil. When there is conflict with wise people, you can give them feedback and change occurs as a result because wise people can receive it. They can see themselves, they have self-awareness. The foolish when confronted will be offended. They will get upset and they will get angry and act out. Don’t give a foolish person feedback, give them an increase of consequences. If you have got evil people in your life, you can’t talk to them, you can’t give them consequences. You just need to cut them out, because they are just going to hurt you. But just because you might think they are evil, they might not be: they could be foolish but you never set boundaries with them.
Set boundaries to protect you, protect others and help you increase the quality in your life; the joy, the fulfillment that you feel on a daily basis. Tell me which one you need to take action on today. And I hope to serve you guys. I love you people. This is where we go out there and give our greatness to the world, because somebody needs what is on the inside of you! Go out there and give it away! I love you guys.