“Will you just stop it?” is something just about any mom on the planet has asked. Fast forward through a few challenging phases of adulthood, and the words, “You can stop doing that now,” are a relief and we don’t need a reason. We are glad to stop a few things. If you habitually read online articles you’ve read about things to stop doing to be a better leader or operations to stop using because they are obsolete. As much as we should stop doing them, we do them anyway.
So, instead of repeating “things to do” ideas you may have read recently, let’s talk about things to stop that will improve your outlook beginning today. To think about as you read: “Is this something I should stop doing? How will I stop doing it?”
We have to do a certain amount of comparing because it gauges where we are in relation to where we’ve been. But let that be your solo reason to compare. One of my friends was ecstatic about the ring her husband gave her for their anniversary. She was content. She was happy … until she attended a party and saw the “rock” on the hand of her newly engaged friend. Let’s bring it a little closer to life. If you got an 11% salary boost would you be excited? Well, yes! Ecstatic. Happy. Content. How would it affect your enthusiasm to learn that the person in the cubicle next to you got a 14% raise? Stop comparing. Comparison is the enemy and it will destroy your contentment.
If you feel like quitting, remember why you started. – Beachbody coaches
Every time you start a new project or habit, you’re pumped, energized and ready like to “Just Do It,” Nike style. Then something happens. Timing is off. You get bored. You don’t see the results you hoped for. Suddenly, you’d rather be sailing. Right? Ah, you’ve got the solution. Just quit. You feel like this is a commitment that nobody else cares about, so why should you? Drop the class, cancel your trip and get the money back, have the hot fudge ice cream cake, skip the workout today … and tomorrow … and here’s your pattern. There’s hope. Ask yourself. How bad do I want it? If your answer is “I guess not that much,” ask yourself why you started. Chances are, there are valid reasons why you set that goal. You can do it. Stop quitting.
Stop Hanging Out With Toxic People
There is no specific definition of toxic people, but we know what toxic is. What toxic compounds are to the physical body, toxic people are to the soul. You will know you’ve been in the company of toxic people if you feel frustrated and exhausted. Toxic people are manipulative, self-centered, demeaning, unforgiving, take no responsibility for their actions, and play the entitlement card. We call these creatures frenemies; if they weren’t already our friends we would see the flags, warning signals, and keep them at a distance, a far away distance. Frenemies justify their behavior until something goes wrong, then they blame someone else; that someone else might be you. If this generality sounds like something you grew out of in middle school, think again. When Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” she was not addressing an audience of 12-year-olds. Toxic people play the victim; they drag you into the pit with them, then make it your responsibility to rescue them. Stop hanging out with toxic people.
We assume it’s only the younger generation who make poor choices and are easily talked into doing things that get them into trouble. Here’s where we, as adults, need to spend some time thinking about who we surround ourselves with. We become what we think about. We also become like those we spend time with. If your friends are not encouragers, disciplined with their lifestyle, but rather have dastardly attitudes, play the blame game, and take no responsibility for their behavior, they are toxic. Stop hanging out with toxic people.
Stop Keeping Score
This one is tough because on the one hand, if someone gives you gifts, consistently helps you with your projects, and seems to do more favors for you than you deserve, you can’t reciprocate if you don’t keep track. On the other hand, there are people who grind your nerves to the last thread, say things that are half-truths, behave belligerently, and have no compass for treating people fairly. We are taught that nice people don’t keep a record of wrongs, but what about keeping a scorecard of good behaviors? We should do that, shouldn’t we? Let’s consider.
When people do good things because their motives are pure and their they desire from the heart to do good things, we should not keep score. When our hearts are full, we will want to return the favor, buy a gift or give back in a different way. Giving and receiving are for our enjoyment. If we keep score, we are robbing ourselves of the benefit of giving and the joy of receiving. When our minds are constantly tallying “they did this, I did that, then they gave this,” that defeats the whole magnetism of giving. Give without expectation of equality. In fact, if you want to experience true joy, do something for someone who can’t possibly repay you.
Let’s talk about the nemesis who is a natural born bully. As much as you want to keep score, don’t do it. That scoreboard is in your face all the time reminding you of how many times that bully has hurt you. Forgive him or her. Wipe the slate clean. Don’t forgive them because they deserve it, forgive them because you deserve it. I think we get forgiveness mixed up sometimes. Forgiveness is not pretending it didn’t happen. Forgiveness is acknowledging the wrong, the feelings, the outcome, and the future consequences. Forgiveness says, “This happened, it hurt, it might have changed a few things in my life, but it is not going to change who I am. I forgive so I can be free of the negativity that will poison my soul otherwise. I can’t change what happened, but I can change how I react to it.” Stop keeping Score. (Sidebar: Repetitious mistreatment is unacceptable. Bullies need to be confronted and if that’s not possible, do all you can to wear elephant skin when in their presence.)
Stop Treating Setbacks as “Staybacks”
This statement needs no clarification.
Let me give you my favorite analogy to the setback. If you’re an archery fan you will catch on right away. When you go out to shoot arrows, do you hold the bow up, tug ever so gently on the string then let the arrow fly? Only if you have nothing to aim at and you don’t mind that the arrow drops ten inches in front of your shoes. No, you hold up the bow, look through the site, use all your strength to pull back on the string and watch as the arrow sails far into the field at your line of sight. This is how it is with setbacks. That area where you pull the string back is your setback. This is now your opportunity to get a line of sight, firmly grasp that arrow, work at it with all your might, then let it fly further than you dreamed possible. Stop treating setbacks as “staybacks.”
When I was in driver training way back just after wheels were invented, we had a motto for all the new drivers who tested their ability to stop on a dime. Start Stopping Sooner.
Do you want a full life, rich in relationships and full of joy? Start Stopping Sooner.
What can you stop to be a better leader?
Editor’s Note: This Article orginally appeard on Lead Change Group and is featured here with Author permission.