When I first decided I wanted to leave my job and be a fulltime writer and entrepreneur, I set self-expectations and promised myself that these would be non-negotiable.
I knew they were the only way to hold myself accountable and keep me from getting distracted by shiny bells and whistles or the wolves in sheep's clothing. After two years of entrepreneurship, I'm proud to say the following has not only helped me, but my clients and students:
I stress this with my students that they must show up every day for results. Once I gained momentum, I fell in love with the feeling of being disciplined, living by my calendar and seeing projects get completed because I took the small steps every day that move the needle forward.
But you have to mentally show up too. I used to show up at work and go through the motions with half effort (and even at half the effort I could still be a high performer in those monotonous jobs and pointless meetings). Once I became an entrepreneur I realized that if I focused intensely for an hour at a time, I got more done than in a full 8 hour work day because I was mentally showing up with laser sharp focus.
Every week and every month, I do a different reflection process where I look at what went well and what was a lesson.
The first month I received a big payout, I thought I had it made and it would come in again like a paycheck. But I didn’t set up my business that way and I overspent my big month instead of re-investing back into my business and myself.
What I learned through previous successful people is to try to do better each month, that small monthly surplus that slowly grows is more powerful than the big payout. You learn to manage money better, see what mistakes you made and minimize losses.
The same is true for repairs in health and home. I try to clean a little every day than a monthly deep cleaning. I feel better working out every day than go on a 6 week intense diet that would later damage my kidneys and digestive system. If I had a surplus of energy, flexibility and strength, than the month was a win for me.
After getting rid of a bully on my team last year, I set an expectation for myself that I would never tolerate. These would be non-negotiables, meaning that under no circumstance was this behavior not to be corrected.
Passive Aggressive - that underhanded remark is even more disturbing when there is a “lol” or happy face emoji added to the sarcastic tone. Often indirectly accusing fault or placing blame to avoid confrontation or to have the upper hand. My rule is, if someone can't speak directly, how can I trust them to tell me the clear truth?
Manipulation - “I didn’t say that” or twisting words around, placing shame and guilt, all of which are manipulation tactics. When I spot someone weaseling their way out of getting caught instead of admitting fault or apologizing, then how can we solve problems and openly talk?
Bullying - after last year’s office bully tormented my teams, I decided that I would sever ties and remove a bully from my life the moment I saw the signs: cliques forming, gossip circulating, false promises to people who allied with the bully, and people being afraid to speak up in the fear of being removed or shot down. I can't take any risks with my teams by letting a selfish ego attempt to destroy it.
Threats - threats can be direct and indirect, curses and the weak come back, “I’ll call my lawyer.” Go ahead and call a lawyer, or tell me how “karma is a bitch”, or “that no one will believe me” because when I hear those words I know they are more scared then me.
Limited Mindset- if you want to hang with me, you have to want to grow and not gossip. While I take pride in being a good listener, I don’t allow the victim mentality in my circle of friends because I am interested in growth. I often find that when I am friends with victim minded people I often spend most of my time talking them out of their own minds than talking about ideas.
OCD Behaviors: the people who have OCD behaviors are not bad, it’s their inability to manage their behavior and allowing it to affect their mind. I used to be impressed how others kept their homes spotless, or had flawless hair and makeup at 6 am in the morning, until I realized their need to control things was going to affect our relationship.
Drama happens. We all get a taste of it. The level of someone being Fatal Attraction-Single White Female crazy, to the point of causing physical or permanent damage, by the numbers is very rare. So when you get a taste of crazy, there shouldn’t be another similar situation for a long time, right?
What I’ve learned is that storms happen, but how often they happen makes me think, am I attracting these storms? What signs am I not seeing and what behaviors do I need to change to keep them from happening?
If drama keeps happening with friends and relationships, it’s not karma, it’s what you’re choosing to accept and who you decide to allow into your life. Being afraid to speak up or falling for the false charm only to later undergo threats and manipulation is the pattern you need to let go of. Finding friendships and relationships that aren’t reciprocal or make you feel ashamed instead of finding joy are all signs of letting go.
Make it Non-Negotiable:
Choose how you will show up:
1)Choose the habits that will grow discipline - these are the factors that produce your results
2)reciprocal relationships and strong communication skills
Choose what you will not tolerate:
1)make your list of negative behaviors
2)face negative situations with optimism (your best counter attack plan)
Having Non-Negotiable Self Expectations is not the escape from confrontation, but when I've had to make tough decisions or difficult conversations that could result in backlash, I could sleep easy knowing I did the right thing by not compromising myself.
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