Recently I coached a young executive, and she spent the entire hour speaking of the challenges she faced being positive because of the relationship she had with her two siblings, their children and her mother. She lamented over and over about how difficult it was to be positive around these people. She told me story after story about how they found the negative in almost everything and saw themselves as victims of circumstances. They constantly chose to blame others for everything going wrong in their lives.
This young woman had recently completed our fully immersive, intense, 4 day, off the grid, experiential Master Graduate Leadership Program and decided to enroll in the group coaching after the class to sustain the positive breakthroughs she had experienced during the program.
These family members mocked her for being positive and found a way every day to create something negative and asked her, "Is it still a great day to be alive?"
After the group coaching series ended, she continued the effort to sustain her benefits and enrolled in our "1:1" coaching. Anyone that has completed our training will agree that sustainability is the key after completing one of our programs. Unless you deliberately choose to practice new behaviors, you are destined to return to the land of the familiar, better known as your comfort zone.
Sometimes the sustainability and the growth to your next level is made more difficult or even prevented at times due to the unnecessary baggage we refuse to let go of and consequently choose to drag along on our journey to change. This unnecessary baggage can be people, old outdated beliefs, or circumstances that happened.
My coaching to this young woman was that in order to live a purposeful, happy, joyous, rewarding, invigorating, stimulating, enthusiastically positive life we have to allow relationships that have passed their expiration date, to move on. Some people feel obligated to remain in the decaying or dead relationship because of the expectations of what others think they should do. I assure you, there is a huge difference between doing things right and doing the right thing. It is possible to do the wrong thing right as you sit and wait for someone else to change in order for the relationship to improve. And when the relationship does not improve, you feel like a victim.
Once you have experienced our Master Graduate Leadership Program, you are crystal clear that in the context of this conversation there are NO victims, only volunteers.
You will be crystal clear that positive and negative is a choice and the one you are choosing in that moment is the one you are the most committed to. Going back into those relationships where you may have been part of the negativity and now choosing to focus on creating a positive relationship can be a daunting challenge. The other individuals in the relationship gets to choose if they want to be positive or negative. If they do not choose to be positive, I recommend you request they write down the benefits of being negative and the benefits of being positive.
In the many years I have conducted this exercise, the only reason I heard for why a person will choose to be negative is "because it is easier to be negative".
The reason it is easier to be negative is because you have practiced being negative and now mastered that behavior, which means it is your normal tendency or habit to choose to be negative. At this point you will need to make a choice: Tough or Suffering?
Tough means not allowing that person to live in your space, however, it is ok to allow them to exist outside your space. Which means that you will need to redefine this relationship based on your outcome of being a more positive person. Suffering means that you allow these relationships to live in your space and you complain about their choice to negatively affect your world which leads you to see yourself as a victim and you blame them for the negativity you are experiencing.
Well, she accepted my coaching and asked the negative relatives to write down the benefits of being negative and yes you guessed correctly, those that replied stated it was easier to be negative than positive because there were fewer disappointments.
My coaching to her was that she needed to redefine these relationships to get to her outcome of a happy, positive life. Her response was that she would have to choose suffering because "blood was thicker than water".
I heard that cliché years ago and as a result examined my own relationships regarding that very self-defeating, victim's mentality. Some of the people that are the closest to me have no blood relation to me at all. I realized that if I lived that truth, that "blood is thicker than water", my life would have taken an entirely different course.
As I made the choice to grow as a person focused on positive outcomes and committed to accept personal responsibility for everything going on in my life, I made the choice to be committed to Just do WIT (Whatever it Takes) to get to my outcomes.
I have out grown many of my relationships from blood relatives to life-long friends because of my choice to live a positive, purposeful life. Every one of us has a choice to the course our life will take. Just because someone is your brother, sister or even your mother or father, it does not determine if they will be a value add to your choice to live the purpose God put you on the planet to do.
If those relationships are more important than your choice to fulfill your purpose, or more important than your happiness, or finding joy and enthusiasm in your life, then I say shame on you, not shame on them.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to live your life outside of the expectations of others, however, when you do, you create new possibilities for others as well. They get to choose their fate. However, if their fate becomes yours, that is the result of your choice - not theirs.
Blood may be thicker than water, however, that will not determine if I allow an individual to live in my space no matter what their relationship is to me.
I am committed to live a purposeful, happy, joyous, rewarding, invigorating, stimulating, enthusiastically positive life and I am committed to be courageous enough to make the choice to surround myself with individuals who add value to my life in that context.
I submit that one of the greatest gifts that you have is the gift of choice. Be aware in this moment that the reality you are experiencing is based on your choices and not the choices of anyone else. What choice will you make today to create the life that you want?