• Read How to Say No to the Needy Networker

    Relationships

    How to Say No to the Needy Networker

    The Case of the Needy Networker The other day I found myself in a conundrum of my own making.  I had accepted a coffee date with a woman I met in a social group we both belong to.  I arrived 5 minutes early, got my coffee and waited.  She showed up fifteen minutes late, sat down, a mess of chaotic energy, and launched straight into a story about how she was new to Austin and nothing in her life was working. About thirty minutes in, I tried shifting the conversation to something lighter.  She kept pushing the subject back to career, in particular her career. I realized at this point she knew what I did.  She knew I was a career coach.  She knew I did leadership development and mindfulness work for organizations.  She mentioned she wanted to break into corporations with freelance work, but she didn’t know how.  She was hungry.  And I was her feast.  And the energy was so strong in that interaction, I could feel myself being devoured by her desperation.  It was a sticky, yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I had to get away. I tried to shake her off and change the subject again, to shift the energy of the conversation, but then she really dug in deep. Then the flattery started.  How I was a trailblazer, how I was an adventurer, how I had built a successful business as a woman, and I am an inspiration to all.  How she just wants to be near me and learn from me. Honesty is the best Policy I offered a few pieces of advice and said, “I can’t wear my coach hat out with everyone in a social setting.  I’ve got to protect my own energy, and to do that I have to establish boundaries with folks outside of work.  I hope you can understand.”  And then I made my excuses, picked up my purse and left, considering I’d already been there almost an hour and a half. Sometimes we call these types of people “toxic,” but I think that’s a little unfair.  There is no such thing as a toxic person.  There are only people who treat us the way we allow them to treat us.  We unwittingly find ourselves locked in toxic situations, often referred to as emotional blackmail situations, by our own poor understanding of boundaries and our need for another’s approval.  And then the gremlin kicks in: “You’re such a bad person if you don’t sit here all day and sort her problems out.” “People are going to think you’re selfish if you don’t help her.” “You’re a coach.  You’re supposed to believe in abundance and giving to everyone!” As a woman in a caring profession like coaching this happens a lot.  We don’t get up and leave when we should.  We take the phone call in the middle of the night from the crazy family member that we know will piss off our spouse.  We spend […]

    March 29, 2022

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    4.3 min read

  • Read The Silent Way You’re Sabotaging Relationships

    Relationships

    The Silent Way You’re Sabotaging Relationships

    A month after I packed in my job and started my own company, I decided to reward myself with a two-week meditation retreat. A few weeks of blissful self-reflection in the wilds of the Colorado mountains. A fitting start for a trail-blazing woman who has just left the madness of the corporate grind to embark on a new journey and start a business focused on personal development. It reminds me of that saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The setting was indeed idyllic. I spent the two weeks in a tent in a very remote part of the Colorado mountains with 120 other brave souls. So idyllic, in fact, that often a chipmunk or deer would wander in during meditation sessions and stare at the strange humans sitting on mats, staring off into space for hours on end. I often spent hours longing to be one of those deer. At least I could have escaped. The night before the retreat started, we gathered together for an orientation. During that session, it became clear to me that the meditation retreat really was just that – meditating. All day long. No rest for the weary. Sitting was to start at 7 am and end each evening around 9 pm. And it was at that point, the panic started to set in. Two weeks? Two weeks of sitting on a mat? My legs will go numb. My back will give out. I’ll die of boredom. And it was just at that precise moment, in my infinite wisdom, I realized I had inadvertently signed up for two weeks of my worst fear. For some people it’s snakes. For some it’s death. I, however, fear boredom and will do just about anything to avoid it. You may be thinking to yourself, “How could she have been so stupid?” (Which would be judgment, by the way, but we’ll get into that later.) And it’s true. It was indeed billed as a meditation retreat – make no mistake. But often the mind sees and interprets what it wants to see and interpret. After the first day, I was convinced I was going to claw my eyes out. Between sitting sessions, I sought out other like-minded meditators for much needed conversation where I blurted out my fears and concerns like a bulimic needing a good purge. And then the unthinkable happened. The head meditation instructor announced that the retreat was to become completely silent. No talking, even between the sitting sessions during breaks. Not one single word. If there was an emergency, we were to write a note. Resigned to my new silent fate, the next morning I was sitting on my mat, under the guise of meditation: “Uuuugh, I hope Eric doesn’t sit next to me again. He smells. It’s so disgusting, I don’t think he’s taken a bath since he’s been here. Why do I always get stuck next to the smelly person? Doesn’t he have any […]

    January 20, 2022

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    7 min read