Energy feeds on energy.
During one of my recent motivational speeches, the lights were turned up obnoxiously high in the room. I could see every expression and subtle movement from the audience. As I rolled through the material, I could see and feel a certain energy from the crowd that fueled my own passion and delivery. Everything was in synch as the positive reactions from the audience filled me with confidence and enthusiasm.
But as I glanced down to make eye contact with the first row, I spotted a slovenly man, with his hat on backwards, staring at his phone. Excuse me? I didn’t see this coming.
For the next 5 minutes, I poured all my effort into “turning him around”. I looked directly at him. I geared my message toward him. I blocked out everyone else in the room. He didn’t even adjust his lid. Nothing.
I was thrown completely off my game. I had little energy for the rest of the room and my delivery went from dynamic to flat. I let one negative person impact my entire performance.
And don’t we all have to face similar negative influences in our work and personal lives?
Don’t Let the Negative Forces Bring Us Down
In our work lives, these “Energy Vampires” can be lurking around any corner. In the break room. In the cubicles. By the water cooler. They won’t engage. They see the downside of every office change. Their gossip serves no purpose. Their complaints only sap our energy and bring us down. We can’t let them drain our enthusiasm!
We don’t have to ignore them completely. We don’t have to be rude or exclusive. Empathy is still alive and well. We can patiently listen and subtlety try to convey a different point of view.
But at some point, we have to bulletproof ourselves from the negativity. If our attempts to influence and change are failing, we need to put a stake in the ground. If we are not careful, eventually the rogue wave of negativity can overwhelm us!
We can’t let this happen! The world needs our positivity and creativity. Sometimes, we have to cut bait and wall off the negative forces to protect our own personal brand.
Step Back From the Negativity
The same is true in our personal lives.
Trying to turn around a partner who is damaging and negative can backfire. Sometimes, we need to move on and protect ourselves so we can love another day. Listening to people who constantly tell us something is impossible can rob us of our motivation. Sometimes, we need to drown out these voices. Surrounding ourselves with self-destructive individuals will eventually bring us down. Sometimes, we need to walk away from our scene.
It won’t be easy. There are times when we are too close to the situation and can’t see the potential damage. We don’t always have the best perspective. But at some point we need to step back and assess the negativity. Are we trying too hard to turn someone around? Are we being pulled to the Dark Side?
It’s time to put a line in the sand.
Find a Positive Ally
Energy Vampires will drag us down with them if we are not active. So how do we combat these forces? The best way is to find an ally. It doesn’t take much to fight apathy and negativity. Finding even one additional voice of positivity and reason can have an exponential impact on our happiness. We need to seek out these people when our resolve is tested. We need to partner with these people when the landscape turns bleak.
We can change an entire culture by surrounding ourselves with positive influences. We can change our fortunes at work by ignoring the negative voices. We can reach our personal potential by concentrating on the people who will lift us up.
Resiliency Will Give Us Strength
Of course, we will always have some level of justified dissatisfaction in our lives. This is the real world and things are not always going to go our way. We can get “angled” out of a potential deal. Our compensation plan can inexplicably shrink. We can get passed over for a promotion. A close relationship can disappoint us. It can be cathartic to vent with a few trusted colleagues and friends when our level of angst becomes palpable.
But there is a big difference between venting and venom. We must quickly move on. We cannot dwell on the “injustices” of the world. We cannot bring others down into this negative spiral. We need to shake off the sting of disappointment and quickly move forward with our lives.
Resiliency will give us strength. Resiliency will restore our motivation. Resiliency will drive a stake in the heart of the Energy Vampires!
Stay strong. Stay positive. And stay bulletproof. No one can sap our energy and no one can bring us down!
Until next week, keep smiling!