Thoughts and such like.....
Once would expect at a certain time of life that challenges with difficult people would either no longer bother us, or we’d be well versed in dealing/working with them. However, I’m finding even in this new life, where I can pick and chose my clients, that that is not always so! Sometimes when working with some clients, I wonder ‘how did they get so far in their career with that attitude?’ What on earth were the hiring committee thinking? And other such negative thoughts, judging and finding fault, something a coach shouldn’t be doing. When I have find myself in that position it is galling to know I’m not as immune as I would like, and that strangers can still press my buttons and tie me into knots.
Finding myself in this situation, where I don’t want to deal with a client any longer, where nothing is right, each suggestion comes back with the fact that they are the expert, they know how it should be done because they have done it before….. I have to bite my tongue where a nasty retort may sit about how their supposed expertise wouldn’t have led them to being sent to my front door. However this behaviour has had me researching and wondering if and how I might be able help this type of ‘know it all’ or negative person to see how their behaviour impedes them, their relationships, and reaching the dreams they hold dear.
When working with individuals, particularly if I find myself questioning something, I often go back to my first impressions and intuition… what did I first think and/or feel about the individual? What was it about them that gave me these impressions? My impression of ‘know it all's’ is that often they are insecure, lack empathy and may have an oversize ego. Harsh, maybe but often very true. In her Gamache series, Louise Penny’s protagonist poet Ruth published a book of poems called ‘I’m FINE’ . An acronym: F#*ked up, insecure, neurotic, and egotistical! I love this description of such a common banal way of responding to ‘How are you?”, it tickles me in the right way and in my mind fits this type of personality.
My research has led me to two possible ways to deal with people like this: I can just avoid them, or I can try and help and support them. My conclusion is that if I decide to work with them, I need to mix the two sets of advice. So if a client acts in this way, I try to:
However, it’s not so easy if you have to work with someone like this, or are dealing with a family member. My suggestion would be to follow the above rules, but also to avoid them as much as possible, negative behaviour is catching and you may find yourself following their example without realizing. If you’re working with someone who has this type of personality try and see the humour in the situation(s); who ever knows everything! Find a friend or family member outside work who you can confide in, however limit your time in doing so, or else they may grow tired of listening.
Remember life is for living and you only have this one life. You are in charge of how you live, surrounding yourself with negative people or ‘know it all’s’ will affect your mental health and happiness. So if you find yourself having to work or socialize with someone of this ilk, take time away and do what you can to ensure you don’t absorb the negative energy that surrounds them. Live the life you have been given with joy, gratitude and happiness. And, if you need support to instigate changes, or to stand up to negativity, contact me and set up an appointment for a free discovery session.
Authenticity, being true to oneself; understanding where we are coming from through reflection and understanding - working from the inside out. In the Third Act we talk of this inside out transition, doing a personal audit, how we view ourselves, how we treat ourselves and how we view knowledge we own, as well as how we use our experience and skills in the world.
When we talk of the Third Act transition we are challenging ourselves to look at who we are in the world, not who we project but who we really are inside - we can change how we are seen in the world, we can change our circumstances, our country .... but if we are unhappy inside nothing will shift for us until we change ourselves and do the inner work.
Inner work can be scary, we cannot hide from our true selves. We can try to ignore it, we can make up stories about who we are and how we became, but until we dig into those old hurts, all the wounds we have carried throughout the years, whether they are from childhood, or more recently from where we work/play, we will never truly be authentic. I believe we all need to challenge ourselves to look our fears in the eye, question self-limiting beliefs and toxic ways of thinking, and understand what our underlying fears are.
In the introduction to their book 'Immunity to Change' (amzn.to/2oGQ6pX), Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey talk of a medical study that showed when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don't change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully. Their book is an eye opener into the human brain and the challenges we all face in overcoming resistance and transforming our lives. They look at what it is that prevents us from making changes that, literally in some cases, can make the difference between life or death. They talk about not only uncovering fears that stop us from making changes, but how we protect ourselves consciously, and unconsciously, from doing the very thing we want. Competing Commitments - an example being of a father wanting to be a better listener, thinking he 'may look stupid' to his teenagers, and thus feel humiliated. Therefore he acts in a way that protects him from this threat but in doing so prevents himself from achieving his goal of being a better listener and too, feeling closer to his children.
You can't wish to change and then expect it to happen overnight, it comes from deep inside and believing you can change is a major step in moving forward. Changing a habit of a lifetime is not easy, often it's easier to give up than to persevere, however, it can be done, and understanding that there will be setbacks is part of the journey. Even as we do begin to understand these fears and competing commitments, we often have trouble forgiving ourselves if we step off the path. It takes courage to step right back on and move forward, in AA they call it taking one day at a time. Some say it's easier to tell others and ask them to hold you accountable, others believe it is better to hold the change to yourself. I think you need to decide what works best for you!
Transition by its very nature means moving forward - there is no end, it's ongoing and that's the way is should be, we can rest, reflect on how far we've come but it's a journey, we can take a detour, but we should never presume to be at the end - nobody is that perfect! There's always something I want to change in my life, however one small step at a time, I'm not going to waste energy fighting who I am, what I'm doing is making small changes, working at them so that they become ingrained, and I'm no longer thinking about 'having' to remember, then I move onto something else. An example: I wanted to meditate each night: So I found an app I like and use it. It has become part of my night time ritual, however there have been nights when I've been too tired or simply forgot, I don't beat myself up about it, I just tune in the next night and continue on.
As you instigate changes in your life, now and then take time to reflect on how far you've come - celebrate those steps you've taken to becoming the person you wish to be. Our Third Act is a time when we can do this work, learn from it and make changes that can allow us to truly be who we were meant to be. It is not a time for regrets of what might have been, but rather a time of celebration, of a new and exciting adventure or journey, and a time for us.
If you would like help, find a coach and/or support team that will help you on your journey. Remember you only have one life to live, you are in charge of how you live it, take time to enjoy the journey and embrace the changes that continue to occur. Live the life that's left to you with joy, gratitude, positivity, and happiness while fulfilling the dreams you have carried throughout your life!
If you would like support in instigating changes into your life, why not contact me and make an appointment for a free discovery session.
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog