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Three Poisons

…that will cause destruction in your life and business.

I know this title is intimidating, but this topic is so important. This may be somewhat of a “gut check” kind of a post, but I do want to be clear that everything I share here and on my podcast are things I personally struggle with or have struggled with in the past.

You see, there are three poisons everyone faces that can really cause destruction in your life and in your business. And in order to be successful, we have to move and grow towards success. Sometimes what that means is there may be certain things we do; certain behaviors; that we need to grow out of. 

If we want our emotions to be focused on the positive things in our lives, we must strive for a “glass half full” type of mentality. So when we’re evaluating things we need to change or things that we need to do to grow, that includes doing things that we don’t necessarily like to do; things like pruning, refining and modifying our own behaviors.

So here are the three poisons we must purge from our lives in order to truly be successful:
Excuse-making
Criticism
Gossip

I want to start with excuses. I really struggled with this in the beginning of growing my businesses. We can always find excuses not to do something correctly, on time, etc, and when something doesn’t go well it feels better to externalize responsibility in the matter. For me, my go-to excuse for not accomplishing things was, I’m tired. I deserve to sit down and watch TV for a bit. But what I learned is that excuses are your enemy. Excuses keep you mediocre and complacent. They will not help you reach your dreams. And excuses will keep you in a mode of blaming others and justifying your misaligned actions and choices. 

The other thing excuse-making does is put a speed limit on your goals. Because that’s basically what making excuses does: it slows you down and keeps you from reaching your goals as quickly as you want. Excuse-making is a habit that limits your ability to meet your full potential. A lot of times you have to put in work consistently for weeks, months, and years to make something work. I have heard people say many times something like, “If it doesn’t work by March, then I’m just going to walk away from this.” You guys! Why would we give our dreams a timeline? If you just keep doing what you know to do to be successful, it’s going to work; but you have to put in the time and you have to be consistent.  

A quote I love by George Washington Carver says, “99% of the failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” There are two only two options for each of us: making progress or making excuses. So if you don’t want to make progress, then continue to make excuses. If you want progress in your life, get rid of the excuses. Excuses are for people who don’t want it bad enough!  

Now here’s a list of things I don’t want you to say ever again:
-But I can always do it later. 
-It’s too hard. 
-I am too tired. 
-I don’t have enough money. 
-I’m not good enough.

Waiting until ______ happens doesn’t make your dream easier or cheaper. We are not promised tomorrow. So the best advice I can give you to help you reach your goals is to tell yourself:

 I’m going for my dream today.

I’m going to do it now. I’m not even going to think about it. I’m just going to do it. Now. I’m going to pick up that phone and make that call. I’m going to go out to that sales call. I’m going to go for my dream today. I’m not going to wait until my kids are grown or my husband doesn’t work as much. 

Now, like I said earlier, there are always excuses lurking. If you’re looking for one, push it away. I want you to remember that your future includes success. But you have to go for it and not wait for it to happen.

Now let’s now talk about criticism. This is a really difficult one because I’ve caught myself in the mindset of criticism where I focused on fault-finding, disapproval or passing judgement. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on the other side of that, where you feel like someone’s finding fault and disapproving or judging you, but I have; and it doesn’t feel very good. 

Over the years what I’ve realized is that my critical mind comes out when I am stressed. Because when we’re stressed, a lot of times we have a tendency to think of the glass as half-empty, and we can only see our stress in that particular situation. When we’re stuck in a cycle of criticism, we impress on others OUR way of doing things and evaluate their actions according to OUR standards. We criticize others for not doing things the way WE think they should be done. Eek! Writing that down really personifies how ridiculous this mindset is. And chances are, right now you’re either on the giving or receiving end of criticism in an area of your life. We must focus on getting rid of critical thinking, because not only does it harm your relationships but it also brings your own emotional energy down. And you cannot have negative energy pulling you down if you want to move in the direction of your goals and dreams.

I remember one time I felt the weight of critique from my mom. She walked into my house and she hadn’t even gotten through the door and she said, “Oh my goodness, Deanna! Do you have any window cleaner? I need to clean that picture window for you.” Critical. Right. Because if having the picture window spotless was important to me, I would’ve cleaned it. Obviously it wasn’t important to me, but clearly it was important to her, so she let me know. I remember when Mark and I were first married, I used to get so upset because he’d leave his socks or underwear on the floor. I would criticize him because clearly in my mind the right thing to do was pick your things up off the floor. I was putting my standards and the way I thought things should be done on my husband. But he didn’t necessarily agree that things should be that way.

In regards to critical thinking, we have to rewire our brain. So how do we do that? A place to start is actively focusing on finding the positives in someone. Start with a person you tend to be critical of, perhaps, ah hem, your spouse? Maybe it’s time to go on a criticism diet. Another way we can rewire our brain is by giving others praise. This two-part strategy then looks like this: intentionally notice the good in people, and then let them know when you see it. That goodness mindset will really help you get rid of judgments and the feeling that someone else isn’t doing something right, etc. 

The last poison is really important. And I think it’s kind of hard to believe we do this, but I want to address gossip. When you’re a business person, there are lots of things that gossip can destroy. It can destroy your reputation. It can harm your relationships. It can destroy your integrity. And it breeds stress.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear someone gossip about somebody, I always think: Well, if they’re gossiping about somebody else to me, surely they’re going to gossip about me behind my back. And that’s more than likely true. Gossip is something you simply can’t participate in, because it only breeds negative energy. One of the things I always think about is that I don’t want to share something that isn’t mine to share. So if somebody tells me something in confidence, and it’s a very personal thing, it’s not mine to share. That person obviously shared their circumstance with me because they 100% trusted that I would keep it private. 

The first step in changing behaviors is being aware of them. And that’s why I wanted to share about these three poisons here; so you can evaluate, Which one of these do I really need to work on? When you are aware of something that needs to change, you can begin to grow. These three poisons create negativity; glass half empty; low energy. If you’ve ever been around someone who is always critical or constantly negative, you can feel that energy, and it doesn’t feel good. You want to be a person who has high energy, is full of positivity, who’s glass is half full and who always sees the good in every situation. I want to remind you: this is a process. It’s not going to be something that will change overnight. And when you think you have your behaviors under wraps, a lot of times they will sneak back into your life in subtle ways.

Our journey of personal growth and development is a lifelong process. What we CAN do is consistently move towards positive change and grow from each new place. With our minds set on development, we WILL be successful and WILL reach our goals and dreams.