“If you’re not positive energy, you’re negative energy.” Mark Cuban
Every interaction with someone carries with it energy and that energy either makes you feel more alive or it makes you feel like running and jumping off a cliff. There have been a few interactions recently that leaned more toward cliff diving than I would like and it got me thinking.
I was sitting at dinner one night with 2 ladies and Marilyn began talking about some of her struggles with becoming an empty-nester. She was very close with her daughter and being able to share both her excitement and her trepidation about this next chapter of their lives was genuinely interesting to me and I was having a great time.
I love deep, soulful conversations with other women and I was highly engaged giving her my full attention and presence.
But then Jill began talking over Marilyn, monopolizing the conversation and telling Marilyn exactly what she should do (actually in 5 specific steps) to get over and through that transition. This went on for 45 minutes…non-stop…not kidding.
I left that dinner in a total funk and felt like Jill had just sucked the energy right out of me. So, I went to bed and forgot about it.
A few days later, I’m at a larger dinner with 6 people and the topic starts to take a sharp left towards alcoholism, drugs and family drama. That’s when I saw the woman sitting across from me close her eyes and take a deep breath – right there at the table. I was fascinated, so I kept watching her. She opened her eyes, looked right at me and said, “Sharon, let’s change the subject. Tell me something about yourself that I don’t know.” We went on to have a great meal with great conversation learning about one another, both of us uplifted and energized.
That woman taught me something that evening: my energy and my peace is my responsibility. When shit starts going to drama-filled, over-told stories or gossiping and judgment – I actually have the option to just opt-out. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic and I don’t have to hurt anybody’s feelings. I could just simply take a deep breath and change the subject. It can be giving myself permission to not spend time with the people that consistently drain the life from me. Even if it’s family or close friends, I can love them from afar and follow the rule of “small doses.”
It simply means being intentional about protecting my precious energy that keeps me peaceful and present for myself, my coaching clients and the most important people in my life.