In my late teens and then again once in my early thirties, I found myself in relationships that weren’t right for me, with men who weren’t able to see me for who I am or to appreciate me.
I’ve come a long way since those unhealthy relationships — I found that I had the capacity to learn from them and to create a life that’s true to who I am, what I stand for, and what I want. I look around me today and, from my marriage to my work relationships, all I see are healthy dynamics with the people in my life.
What those earlier experiences with unhealthy relationships taught me is that we’re constantly broadcasting to the world how we want to be treated and what we are/not game for. When we’re not aware of the messages we broadcast, we run the risk of developing patterns that get us stuck in unfulfilling situations and rather than looking inward, we tend to blame this on bad luck. We build defenses and develop harsh reactions as a way of protecting ourselves, and these defensive patterns become ways of being (and turn us into rigid, unforgiving jerks).
What if instead of wasting so much energy rolling up our sleeves as a reaction to things AFTER they happen, we set up our life in a way that prevents us from getting into unhealthy situations in the first place?
This article is about how to set up your life up in a way that prevents you from ending up in undesirable situations (and how to get out of those situations when you’re in them). When you follow these four guiding points, you’ll find that undesirable people and situations start to disappear from your life. Are you interested?
Without further ado, here are four guiding points on how to take no shit from anyone:
If you don’t have clarity on your purpose right now, start by asking yourself these questions to get clear on your values and intentions as the leader of your company, and of your LIFE:
What am I here to create? How can I use my talents to make a difference in my clients’ lives? How will my business decisions and how I treat my people align with what I stand for in the world?
It’s ultimately up to you to decide where to draw lines in the sand about who you will be & who you will not be. Your clarity about your values, intentions, and purpose becomes a filter that makes seemingly difficult decisions easy decisions. That clarity also gets communicated to others (in subtle and overt ways) daily, so that you attract the people and things that are aligned with your purpose and who you are.
Someone who is truly undivided in their values and actions sends a strong message to others about what they’re available for and that they’re SERIOUS about it.
Knowing who you’re committed to being and truly embodying that in your thoughts, beliefs, and actions means people trust you and know what to expect from you; others can only get you to act against your best interests when they know you can be swayed.
Be prepared to have honest and confronting (not confrontational!) conversations when faced with challenging situations. I want to share with you a story about a time I was challenged to practice this concept:
Some time ago, I worked at a company where there was virtually no consistent leadership. In reality, it was quite dysfunctional. I was bullied by a higher-up who tried to get me to take on junior-level tasks that weren’t a good use of my brain and skills, especially since I was already in a leadership position at this company. When I expressed my concerns to her, she started to badmouth me to other employees and proceeded to build a case against me… with the CEO of the company!
It became clear that this was a challenge for me to practice behaving in a way that aligns with my values. Instead of backing down, I went to face her head-on to clear the air. I emailed her suggesting we meet over coffee to have a conversation about what happened. Like most bullies, she acted cowardly by not responding and avoiding me (but continued to talk behind my back).
When people try to get you to act against your best interests, they will have ugly reactions that will scare you into questioning what you stand for. It’s your job to check in with yourself about your values and gently, but fiercely, confront the person about the dysfunctional situation. Don’t be afraid to be brave and bold, and to stand strong for what you believe in.
In my story, the bully in the company made it possible to get leadership to ask me to leave. And I gladly did.
Only positive things came out of that experience: I strengthened & liberated myself by not compromising who I was. It was also the start of my journey to becoming a leadership coach, so that I could work with leaders to make sure this kind of toxic environment doesn’t get overlooked in corporate culture. I may not have realized it at the time, but liberating myself from that toxic situation fueled my passion and motivation to strengthen and define my purpose.
So, there you have it. Four guiding points for helping you create a life free of unhealthy people & situations. Bonus: If you practice points 1 and 2 consistently, there will be less and less need for you to even apply points 3 and 4. You’ll find yourself living a life where you don’t take shit from anyone, without ever needing to be a jerk about it.