I just came back from a two-day think tank for forward-thinking business people. This experience gave me an opportunity to reflect on the people I've been hanging out with since deciding to dip my toe in the world of entrepreneurialism.
Besides laughing and socializing, we shared many personal stories of challenges and how we overcame them; learning from each other.
Just before leaving, the organizers asked each of us to come up with one thing, a really quick piece of wisdom that experience taught us.
Four years ago, I was a crisis interventionist. Before I even knew much about business, I felt it was time to do something with those experiences. So I joined a couple of women's business networking groups in my local community to glean some ideas. Both these groups had a lot of heart and nourished a social side during an isolating venture.
Unfortunately, since they were all business women, I didn't equate the time spent as "social" but rather as "business building" events. They were not the right place for me to grow my particular type of business.
Even when I figured out that I was not going to the move the needle, I would go to these groups and convince myself that I had worked on my business. Sometimes, we have to realize that something isn't working and move on, keeping only the pieces that make sense.
Fortunately, I made some wonderful friends in those women's groups as well as others I have joined. In fact some of the women I started out with were in the think tank with me those two days. In this environment, I fed both the social need to belong and the ability to build my business.
So this is the lesson that I shared with my business friends:
Declutter: Review and Release the Wrong Acquaintances
Let's unpack that a little.
Have you ever had a closet that was full of old clothes and that you lost a lot of weight? If you decided to buy a new wardrobe, you would have to declutter the stuff that doesn't fit anymore. We have to do the same thing with our calendar.
Who are you letting in on your calendar? We have a finite amount of time each week so we must be selective. Are we letting them in because there is a history we feel loyal to? We need to review these relationships without emotion, in a rational manner.
This is not about abandoning people that we value. The review process helps us decide on whether they fit the same way we originally thought. We all still have old sweaters that have meaning, that still sits in our closet but we know we shouldn't be seen in public with them.
We must not allow our emotions to make decisions that use up a lot of our time bandwidth. Once we have decided that the original needs that brought a person or a group into our life is no longer as relevant, we must detach lovingly.
I recognize that letting go may feel scary or difficult. It may be helpful to read last week's article on recognizing if our boundaries are being crossed.
If the other person is not crossing our boundaries, but they eating up our calendar, then we need to put on our big girl or big boy pants and reduce our availability for our own good. We need to protect our business hours and set aside some premeditated social times where these relationships may better belong.
Looking for people that share similar goals or vision creates a momentum in our lives. This is the same with all things that I've taken a priority for us.
If we are single in our 20s and want to get married, we don't hang around at our grandmother's knitting group. If we are trying to build a corporate business, putting 40 per cent of our time in local non-profit community organizations does not build that important corporate network as easily as going to corporate networking events.
This is simply logical. Our priorities change over time and we need to know that the people around us are aligned with where we're going.
This applies to our personal life, too.
So there you have it: Review, Release and Resonate, the three Rs to boosting whatever is most important to feeling successful in your life.
I have come a long way from needing other people's approval to the point that I let them invade my calendar. This was not an easy journey for me but I am the proof that it is possible.
I'm rooting for you!
The most successful leaders are not infallible when faced with someone who "drives them crazy!" Monique's strategies to empower others to stand up and take control of their personal and professional lives are appreciated by all who meet her. As a Speaker, Facilitator and Consultant helping to reduce conflict and increase collaboration, Monique Caissie draws from 30 years of crisis intervention work to help others increase their confidence to feel more heard, respected and happier. In her quest to better manage the difficult people in her life, she has studied human relations, spiritual texts, psychology and 12 step groups. You can check out her speaking services here.
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