We don’t have to let the negative words or actions of others hold us back or bring us down!
A few days ago, I went to a Marketing class with 20 or so other business owners. For part of the class, we broke into small groups of 4 to help each other strategize in our business. When it came my turn my talk about my business, an older man in the group interrupted me to say:
“To be quite frank, I think you’re a bit young and inexperienced
to be doing this work.”
I was quite taken aback by his statement and didn’t really know how to respond, so I pretty much just ignored him and moved on. However, when it was the next person’s turn to talk about their business, my mind started churning. ‘What an asshole!’ it said. ‘Who does he think he is?! Does he have no respect for other people? Does he hate all young women following their dreams!?’
I watched as the thoughts just kept coming: ‘What does he have against me? I feel sorry for his wife… if he has one. What a terrible human being!’
The longer I had these thoughts, the angrier I felt. Angrier than I’ve felt in a long while. Luckily, I have a powerful tool for moment’s like these that can help to diffuse a situation and bring me back to my center. I interrupted my negative thought patterns with a simple, yet powerful question:
“What else could this mean?”
I contemplated this question and came up with a few possibilities.
‘Okay… so if he’s not a complete shit head… maybe he’s had a really rough day or week, and this comment was just a cry for help.’
‘Maybe he had a dream when he was younger that someone else told him he was “too young” or “too inexperienced” for and he was just projecting this onto me.’
I also suspected that he had a complete misconception of the work I do. He may have assumed that a life coach tells other people how to live their lives. He probably didn’t realize that a quality life coach does no such thing, and rather, leads other people to their own answers. Surely, this isn’t something you need to be a certain age to do; it’s more about training and skill.
Once I thought about these other possibilities for his behavior, I felt my angry feelings start to diminish. Asking this question reminded me that this man’s thoughts and words have little if anything to do with me- but everything to do with his own thoughts and feelings about the world. Suddenly, the statement he made to me didn’t feel like a personal attack; rather, it felt like a reflection of his own state of mind.
Apply this to your own life:
Think about a recent time when someone said something to you that felt critical. Did you react how I did at first and make a bunch of assumptions about who they were as a person, or what they intended with their remark? Try asking yourself the question, “What else could this mean?” and see what other possibilities come up.
This is a powerful question that can be used in many different situations to offer us greater clarity and peace of mind. We don’t have to let other people’s words make us feel bad- with a little focus and practice, we can look at their words from a higher perspective and return to our place of power!
Give this tool a try, and let me know how it works for you!
P.S. Would love to hear your comments and feedback in the space below! <3