On a webinar WITH some awesome European women last Thursday night, one woman asked, "How can we deal WITH negative people or negative co-workers in a WITH way?" I was taken aback. She had asked the question in such a WITH way, and wanted a WITH solution. How cool is that? Following that webinar, a friend of mine posted a FB Live asking for similar advice. This is a sign from the universe, I thought. Oh and I had a shower-piphany (shower + epiphany) about all of this, so here goes.
DEAL WITH YOUR OWN SHIT FIRST
I know you're thinking, this is about the other AT person, not about me. Just like Forgiveness, it never really is about the other person. It is about YOU. When I was at my women's retreat in Bali in December of last year, there was a woman who was particularly challenging to deal WITH. One day when we were out surfing, she made fun of me in front of the other women and the surf instructors: "Hahaha...Kyla actually thought she was surfing on her own!" She was referring to the fact that the instructors would give us a little push, so we could ride the wave easier/faster. I was so pissed. Later talking WITH my friend Nikki (who is also a life coach) about it she said this, "You know, I think you have to ask yourself why this person has come into your life and what it is saying about you and where you are." Nikki was right. People come into your life for a reason and they reflect back what you haven't dealt WITH.
I was asked to write an article for April Magazine (an online magazine by Asian women for Asian women) about corporate bullying. It was telling that I ended up writing about being my own inner bully. I think we all have our own inner bully somewhere that runs wild WITHin us. Before dealing WITH other AT people, we have to deal WITH that inner bully. You know the one that says you can't do something or that you're not good enough. You can check out my article about the Inner Bully here. Remember: You are not alone. One of the key takeaways from that webinar I had on Thursday night: Wow, we all have similar AT voices WITHin us.
LIGHT THEM UP
Ok, so I'm not talking about dropping a match, burning down the AT person's cubicle and walking away Die Hard style. Although believe me, I have thought quite seriously about this with various corporate bullies I have had to deal WITH. But in seriousness, they say people who hurt others are the most hurt inside. Yes, it is cliche, but it is very often true. The very AT people who you want to be AT back to, actually need as much WITH behavior as possible. So find out what it is that lights that person up, what makes their heart sing, and talk WITH them about it. One of my former corporate bullies loved talking about her daughter playing violin. So that is what I would talk WITH her about.
The guru of positive psychology, Martin Seligman came up with something called the VIA Strengths Test, which you can take online for free. Far too often, we focus on negative AT behavior, rather than the AT person's strengths. We all have strengths, sometimes we choose to see them and often we don't choose to see them at all focusing on what we can improve. Just as much as the AT person has stuff that lights them up, they also have strengths. In working WITH a personal trainer, or in my case bootcamp class, my strength training involved building my upper body strength. It wasn't that I didn't have any upper body strength, it was that I had to work hard to build more to strengthen my upper body.
A few weeks ago I was talking a friend into joining an upcoming FemEntrepreneur panel I was putting together. Here's how that conversation went:
Me: Hey, I am putting this panel together, and I think you would be great!
Friend: Ohhhh...I think I have a lot to say, but not much to give...
Me: Imagine if you could empower just one other woman to become a fementrepreneur WITH your story...
And then from there, the conversation took a different turn. Her fear of not having enough to give or speaking in front of an audience was trumped by the empowerment aspect of it all. I think the idea is when you find an AT person, ask yourself: "How can I empower MYSELF and that other person as well?" Oh, and you've sidestepped FEAR without even having to worry about it (!).
Along the same lines as empowering others, what I realized was so powerful during that webinar was that the other women had so many great ideas. Whether we were talking about AT emotions during PMS, or how to deal WITH men in a WITH way, or just how to be kinder WITH ourselves, they were eager to share what had helped them. You realize you're not alone, you realize you can help someone (GROW x2), you trump fear, and you've been able to use a seemingly challenging AT situation to help someone else. Drop the WITH mic!
Ok, I often tell this to clients: GTFO! If none of the above is working, and you've given it your best go, and you'll know deep down, then let go and go. When I was going through a particularly challenging AT corporate bullying experience, a lot of friends would say, "Oh, just stick it out. It will look bad on your resume if you leave before the year is out." What I would say is your mental sanity is so much more important than your resume. Without your mental sanity, there will be no more resumes, right?