This may be stopping you from rising!

You are not meant to be small or less than...you are meant to RISE! 

Actually you were born to rise. We need you to step fully into your power and create, innovate, lead, teach, heal, write...whatever it is you have in your heart to do, the world needs you! 

If you talk to successful people who are operating at full capacity, you will realize that their community is one of their keys to success.  

The people around us matter. They really matter. We need to be strategic with our community. We need people who can support us, challenge us and move us forward. We also need people who love us and with who we can have healthy relationships. Healthy relationships with the right people is key, because proximity allows their actions and words to have greater impact. We need to be more protective of our space, time and resources and not cast our pearls to swine, because this drains us and eventually burns us out. 

Some of us have great ideas, great vision and more, but we find it difficult to execute. Sometimes the people around you are the problem. They sap you of strength & energy. Or distract you or cause you to lose focus on your goals. 
In the last few years, I cleaned house. I didn't ask people to leave my life but I set clear boundaries, that caused people who were operating in a toxic manner to move on. And literally my success, impact and peace of mind have increased exponentially! 

Here are some toxic people to be mindful of. 
1.The users: People who only want to be in relationship with you because of what they can get from you. When you start to shine a little, you may attract users. People who want to get part of that shine with little effort. And they may not present like users initially but you will notice that as soon as they get as much as they think they can get from you, they move on. 

Users are damaging because they use your resources and therefore limit your ability to go as far as you can. One lady said to me "I'm going to ride your coattails" The problem when someone wants to ride your coattails is the weight of them will slow you down and stop you from rising. And often users, like vultures protecting their carcass, will actually damage other relationships around you, either by saying negative things to you or to them, so as to ensure you and your resources are more available for them. 

How do you check if you have a user? Place some demands similar to what they ask of you. Ask for what you need. A relationship should be mutually beneficial. Users like to take, but have a hard time giving. As long as what you are asking doesn't go against their values or is not unreasonable, pay attention.
Start saying no. Start being measured in your giving. If there is not a mutual flow...pull back. 

It is important to note that toxic people are not necessarily bad people. I look at it like an infection. If someone is sick but wants to get better, then in time and with the right regimen & signs of improvement, you can let them out of quarantine, but some people have emotional ebola and are not willing to acknowledge or address it...such people may have to stay in quarantine or be moved out of your life. 

2. The Belittler: This person is the queen or king of making little comments to undermine you. If you ever confront them, they'll tell you, it's all in your head. Whenever you are around them, you find that you are less confident and achieve less. They tell you in so many little but sneaky ways how they think you are less than. And if you are ever hurt or offended, it's never them, it's always you reading it wrong. They know your insecurities and play on them. They may even use positive language or symbols like "I was praying for you! I didn't think you could pull it off." Or forever try to remind you of who you were and not who you are today. 

Maybe you are with one of these sorts of people...you may think it is you because they appear so confident but darling, the need to put others down is sign of deep insecurity. So their statements are less about you and more about them. Even if they seem to be wanting you to win by turning you into a project they can fix. A true friend celebrates your strengths and has respect for you and accepts and gives you the space to grow at your own pace. A true friend doesn't speak ill of you in front of you or behind your back.  
If you continue to allow this sort of toxicity in your space, you will never get started, struggle to launch into your greatness and continue to play small.

How do you break the cycle? Set clear boundaries. I have a zero tolerance policy. If you belittle, undermine or undercut me, then I will call you out. Stop being afraid of conflict. Conflict opens the door to a deeper level of intimacy. If you are willing to discuss it - because sometimes it's your inner mean girl taking over - then we can and we can both grow from the experience, but most belittlers are unwilling to acknowledge their shadow selves and would rather cut you off and quickly move on, once you stop being a great source of narcissistic supply.  
And there is a narcissistic quality to this kind of person...because by putting you down they feel superior which is what the narcissist needs. 

By calling it out and holding them accountable, you are changing the dynamic and if they are not capable of transformation at that time, they may respond drastically. Don't sweat it. Pray for them and let them go. You need the space to grow. 

3. The Fear Monger: This person always sees the worst possible scenario, the sky is always falling. They live in a culture of fear and are firmly ensconced in the victim mentality. Whenever you want to do something, they see all the reasons why it will fail. 

I remember years ago, on one of my earlier trips to Stone Mountain. I was hiking up and a woman was sitting on a stone about halfway. She looked dead tired. I smiled at her and she spoke to me. She said "Don't bother trying to get to the top! It's too hard. Infact it's dangerous. People fall!" Hundreds of trips to the top later, I reflect on her words sometimes. She was a fear monger. 

Often these people are victims of fear themselves. They don't get things done. They struggle to sustain momentum. They give up easily. And so they project that on to you. 
It will slow you down. If you succeed at all with this type of toxicity, you learn to do it inspite of, like running in sand and that creates a layer of unnecessary stress. 

If you have one of these people in your life. You may want to be selective of what you share with them. You can move them to a less prominent place in your life and they certainly should not be on your "advisory" board. 

A fear monger is different from a cautious person. Cautious people are simply careful. They may ask for more information. They may be measured with their opinions. They may have constructive criticism. That is all good. Cautious people should be on your "advisory board" because they will help you see things you might otherwise miss. 

How can you tell a cautious person from a fear monger. A fear monger jumps to the why it won't work first without looking at all the data. Usually it is not even a well thought out opinion. They present their opinions as fact and universalize their experiences. 

Again, toxic people are not bad. They are just toxic for you. You have the right and responsibility to say no to things that aren't good for you. 
I'm not saying love these types of people less, I am saying guard you heart with all diligence. Guard your space. Guard your community. Love people from afar if you need to. Love them in quarantine. If you can't physically distance yourself, emotionally disengage if necessary. If people have hurt you, forgive them. Forgive them! Understand it is about their humanity and let it go, but learn from it. 

We are still registering for Operation WOW, which is where you will be able to form community with some amazing women! You have just 6 days left to sign up. If you want to elevate your life then you need to do the foundational work necessary to build the life of success and Operation WOW helps you do that. Are you ready for the next level? Sign up now! 

Have a wonderful weekend and reflect on your relationships...are they moving you forward or holding you back?

Hugs!
Ekene