BE STILL — SHUT UP & LISTEN

“Whatever you do, good or bad, people will always have something negative to say.”
~W.H. Auden

It’s often said that people enter our lives for a reason, season, or lifetime.

Some of the people who’re in your life for a reason are those who only have bad things to say about you behind your back.

Two-faced. Backstabbers. Gossipers.

Whatever you want to call them.

They’re in your life to teach you three important lessons.

  • How to let certain comments and actions roll off your back. You learn to develop a thick skin.
  • How to be guarded about what you share with people. Everyone doesn’t need to know the nitty-gritty of what’s happening in your life
  • How to choose your tribe. You learn who to trust and let into your inner circle.

They’ll always be in your life, no matter what you do, because there’ll always be people who have something to say.

Gossipers have always been in my life.

Classmates would whisper about me when I was in school.

My ex-husband would openly have discussions about the problems we were having in our marriage with our mutual friends.

Industry colleagues have avoided talking to me because of how they perceive me.

A lot of these murmurs and ‘hidden’ discussions were the result of people not taking the time to get to know me.

I get it. I’m strong-willed, fun, outgoing, and confident. People either love me or they can’t stand me because they’re intimidated. There’s no in-between.

I’ve learned to accept that and not allow their perceptions to dampen my self-esteem.

But, I’ve also learned to be strategic and listen intently. I’ve learned to let those three lessons stick.

My Strategy

I love taking on the challenge of helping people get to know me, especially in my professional endeavors. I can walk into a room, know who isn’t comfortable with me, and then strategically influence them to see me differently.

A big part of the problem is misconception. So, I strategically tear down the barriers their misconceptions create. I genuinely love building relationships and taking on this challenge has helped me build bonds with amazing people.

I’m not suggesting that tearing down these barriers is easy. Trust me, I had to get out of my comfort zone and get rid of a lot of fear. But, beautiful things happened when I made that leap.

I’ve had some down-to-earth conversations with people who never would have talked to me before. We’ve learned from each other and expanded our networks. That doesn’t mean we’re friends though.

Knowing where to place people is a big part of relationship building. I realized I was putting people at the wrong level in my life, giving people friendship status when they really didn’t deserve to be in that space.

Friendship is very specific. People you call your friends should be:

  • Your ride or dies
  • Confidantes
  • Trustworthy

Instead of gossiping with you about others, they should be encouraging uplifting conversations. Your goals, values, and behaviors should align.

I don’t bring random people into my circle who haven’t earned the right to be there. No one steps into my house if their energy isn’t right. I don’t want that energy around my kids and I definitely don’t want it in my workspace.

The reality is that some people are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They appear to be people worthy of entering your space when they really shouldn’t be there. I’ve had to separate myself from people over the years because of this. It’s a tough decision to make sometimes but it’s important for my growth and overall well being.

I place people in categories: associates, colleagues, and friends. Colleagues are the people with whom I discuss work-related business. I don’t mix personal conversations with these conversations. I’m also very selective about what I share with my friends.

Let’s say you have a 9 to 5. You shouldn’t be discussing your business ventures and ideas with your work colleagues. They probably won’t provide the best advice on how to handle entrepreneurship because they’ve never experienced it. Some of them may even want to steal your ideas. Reserve your business conversations for people who’ve been there, done that and can feed your growth as an aspiring entrepreneur.

Listen

People reveal a lot about themselves if you really listen to what they’re saying. The quieter you become, the more you can hear the bullsh**t. I think long and hard about what I need to say and who I should share things with.

I ask specific questions to determine a person’s mindset. How they respond helps me determine the information I can trust them with. Anyone who gossips with you about other people isn’t someone you should trust with your personal business. Chances are that person is also gossiping about you.

Keeping my Life OFF Social Media

Influencers and celebrities have tricked us into believing it’s okay to share everything on social media. It isn’t. There have to be boundaries. Only give glimpses into your life that are relevant to either building your personal or professional brand.

Final Words

People will always gossip about you. But, you won’t be able to clearly identify who you can trust if you don’t learn to listen. Let other people talk while you pay attention to what they’re saying.

Sure, there’ll be people there who don’t like you. But, have you ever tried to change their misconceptions about you? Own your life and build mutually beneficial connections.

Written By: Carline Beaubrun Photo Credit: Jonsar Studios

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