This past week I had the great opportunity to speak to a group of leaders (from all different types of business) from the Nashville area. It’s always great to talk to a group of people that are committed to growth and development because they’re there to get as much out of the event as possible. They’re engaged and plugged in, and it’s just a really energizing environment, especially for me!

I was talking about the power of questions, and used a lot from John Maxwell’s book, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. Then, like I try to do at every event, I open it up to the audience for a Q&A session. As I’ve been thinking, over the past few days, about what my next blog would be about…a question from that night kept coming back to me. I wasn’t sure exactly how to piece it all together, but I felt it was important enough to write about. I also believe that we’re given ideas for a reason, and this one keeps coming  back up – so I figured the universe was trying to tell me something, so here it is.

The question that the woman asked regarded “question shamers.” Let me provide a little context: One of the principles I was talking about was the need to get past the self-limiting belief and fear that asking a question would make you appear inferior, silly, stupid, or any other unreasonable and irrational emotion that we allow to continually prevent us from obtaining what it is that we either want or need.

So she asked, “how do you handle question shamers?” When I asked her to explain she described the typical office bully. Maybe it’s your boss. Maybe it’s a co-worker. Maybe it’s a direct report to you. Whatever the case, these people exist and can be a real problem if we allow them to be. So here was my reply.

First and foremost, we have to understand that someone else’s opinion of us is none of our business. As my mentor Les Brown says:

“You don’t have to allow someone else’s opinion of you to become your reality.”

Every day, we’re faced with a bully. It could be a co-worker, your boss, neighbor, family member, or even just some random stranger. For us, we have to remember one thing – their negative opinion has absolutely no power over us unless we allow it to. If someone is bullying you and ruining your day, week, or more…the first thing we have to do is take personal responsibility for it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it’s your fault that you’re being bullied…I’m just saying that if it’s affecting your life in a negative way…THAT is something no one has the ability to do unless we allow it happen.

So here are a few steps to help deal with these types of people.

  1. Take responsibility for how you feel. The moment you accept responsibility for your own emotions and feelings, you strip away any power over them that someone or something else may have had. Instantly. you’re back in control.
  2. Understand that you have the ability to have a different thought, at all times. Once we’ve taken responsibility for our feelings and thoughts, it’s as simple as shifting our focus on to something positive and serving to us. Go for a walk, turn on positive music, call a friend…physically something to change the negative dynamic and get your mind focused on something positive that will serve you. “Cut off the branch that does not bear fruit.” This part requires some sort of action…do it.
  3. Remember why you’re here. You exist for a purpose, and if you’re breathing air today your purpose is still extremely important. You are created to live a life of peace, hope, and prosperity with an abundant future. Everything that exists in your world exists so that you’re able to do magnificent things. The resources you will need to do everything you’re destined to do exist in an infinite supply in the universe for this exact reason.

You might have noticed that none of those steps have anything to do with the other person or circumstance, and that’s because one of the most incredible realizations that we can ever have is understanding that we have the ability to create/change our reality if we’ll first take responsibility for the reality we’re currently in. No one can make us feel anything unless we give them the power to do so. So stop it.

The bad news is that the more success you have, the more likely you’re going to run into people like this. A key difference in successful people versus unsuccessful people is that the successful people realize THEY are the only ones in charge of their lives and their destiny. You have the ability to live your life by design…or you can live by default. To put it another way: You either live out your plan, or plan to be hired by someone to help them live out theirs.

I’ll leave you with this. A mentor of mine once told me, “If you’re getting kicked in the butt…at least you know you’re out in front!”