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Reality Blog: 5 Ways to Manage Negative Influences

Reality Blog: 5 Ways to Manage Negative Influences

July 29, 2015 | By John Mullen | 1 Comment

Reality Blog: 5 Ways to Manage Negative InfluencesIt all started off well.

I woke up.

I was eager to spring out of bed and get my day started. Stuff to do, you know. Instead, I slowed myself down. Practiced a little meditation.

Now I was feeling calmer, more focused. Already, I knew my day would be more productive than if I had simply slid from my bed straight to the computer.

I planned out my day while I took a shower. Now I felt calm, focused, and refreshed. Plus I had today’s to-do list firmly in mind.

I grabbed my morning coffee — call it refreshment for the inside. (Hey, you can’t have all good habits. You gotta have some contrast!)

Now I was in the perfect frame of mind and ready to get started on my first block of work: marketing on LinkedIn.

Then … wham!

I didn’t know what hit me.

It started out, innocuously enough, with a phone call: “Can I talk to you about something?”

But I could already see my morning’s peace slipping away.

And that’s exactly what happened.

You see, that “something” was a family member wanting to vent. And, just as I expected, the conversation unfolded in ways that left me feeling frustrated and stressed out, too.

Every self-help and success guru will tell you to remove negative influences from your life. That’s excellent advice. But sometimes, you can’t. Because sometimes those influences are people you want and need in your life … negativity or not.

And that’s when you just gotta grin and bear it.

I admit, I’m not very good at this.

People who are venting want to be heard. I can do that. I’m good at listening.

But they also want you to affirm their feelings. And that’s where I balk. You see, I’m an easy-going, “look on the bright side” sort of person. Calling on me to validate negative feelings is just asking for a fail. Too often, I end up trying to diffuse rather than affirm … which, of course, just makes the person angry at me, too.

So I did my best, walking the tight-rope of affirming and diffusing. Not a stellar job of it, perhaps, but I eventually extricated myself with a minimum of drama.

Remember how I was feeling so calm, focused, and refreshed?

Gone.

Now my “monkey mind” is doing backflips, rehashing this conversation over and over again. And suddenly, I’m in no mood to write, or do anything else productive.

That’s what negative influences can do.

So I give myself a little bit of “free time” — kind of like cooling down after a workout. Finally, I regain my equilibrium enough to get back to work.

I complete my first block of work without further interruption. But it takes me half an hour longer than usual to do it.

And then a second game-changer: a call from the ex.

This is emotional strain of a different sort. Plus, I find out that my youngest daughter sprained her ankle. I take the high road, as I always try to do in these situations, and extricate myself once again with a minimum of drama.

But man, do I feel drained.

Really drained.

And I still have this article to write.

By the time I “re-energize” myself enough to start writing, it’s after four o’clock. Where did my day go? Remember when I planned this all out in the shower? I was supposed to start writing around noon.

That’s four hours wasted.

At least I have a new topic to write about.

You see? There’s always a silver lining.

Here are five ways to help manage negative influences in your life:


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John Mullen

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One Comment

  • John, you ended this on the right note — and sometimes, that’s all you can hope for! I surely hope that “Tomorrow” was better, and that your daughter’s ankle isn’t too bad. Here’s to handling interruptions with grace whenever possible!

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