Handling bullies & toxic peeps with grace & sanity.

mindset toxic people Jul 10, 2023

If only we had any control over other people! But we don't, and sometimes people can be downright awful to us and others. It's that yucky part of our sport that we could all do without. And while I wish it were fading away, bad behavior will probably always stick around. Sigh.


This is on my mind not because of a personal story (whew) but because it came up in a seminar I taught over the weekend. At least 30% of the attendees said that some form of toxic behavior was affecting them currently, and all but one attendee had a story of an experience. One person said she's stopped trialing altogether.


I'm equal parts mad and sad to hear these stories. How can a sport we love so much, which is filled with some fantastic, generous people, also have people who make us want to quit?


We all handle these situations differently, so here are some suggestions for handling tough situations and people.


Brainstorm a list of at least 20 things you'd like to say in response to a specific comment or person. While you probably won't be able to use any (haha), there may be a gem or two in the list that you can use.


Pause before you speak. We want to respond thoughtfully, not react reflexively. A response gives us more control, and we get to choose what we say and do next, even if it's walk away.


Visualize how you want the situation or encounter to go. So often, we fret about an upcoming event, and our heads are filled with all the things we don't want to happen. But how do you want it to go? Maybe you image the person doesn't show up, or they crate on the other side of the world, or you do your thing and they theirs. You need to know what you DO want.


Do some cord-cutting. This is a favorite visualization exercise of mine and my clients have customized it over the years. Imagine there is a cord connecting you to this person, experience, or place. (Mine is always black and root-like, but you imagine whatever.) The connection is there because you're still thinking about the experience, so the next step is to imagine cutting it. (I use those big garden loppers and keep cutting until it's severed!) You'll have to repeat this as much as necessary. One client puts the experience in an imaginary Chuck-It! and keeps throwing it whenever the issue pops back into her mind. The goal is to cut ties between you and the experience or person.


These things put us back in a position of control instead of feeling so vulnerable - and that's where we want to be!


At the end of the day, we also need to be the change we want to see. Be someone who always has a nice thing to say (or say nothing). Be encouraging and helpful. Remove yourself from crummy energies and gossipy people. Smile. Wish people well (there's plenty to go around!). Let people learn you're not available for negative talk and unkind words. If you're stuck in a "mean chatter" situation, don't participate or change the topic. Be the person you wish you knew!

Wanna get these sent to your inbox?

Trade me your email addy and I'll send you the latest news and updates from our team. Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. I will never sell your information, for any reason.