How Not be Distracted by Drama, Negative People and Pettiness

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As a communication consultant and leadership coach, I see so many clients who are just not satisfied with the status quo and want to make a difference at work, as well as in their communities. These people tend to be optimistic and driven and want to bring more meaning and purpose into what they do. These are not just founders, philanthropists, CEOs and people working for non-profits, but also everyday individuals like all of us who simply want to make a difference.

Yet, the Number One challenge for most of them is making time for all the priorities in your life. With so many competing demands on your time, how are you supposed to deal with all of that, yet continue to make an impact? My advice to clients is to first step back and examine what’s taking up your time, energy and resources. Are you really focusing your efforts on what’s really important or are you wasting time on negativity and the petty stuff that will get you nowhere? The answer, not surprisingly, is that people let the unnecessary drama take up their mindspace.

The good news is you can do something about it. It is completely in your power to cut out the drama and negativity from your life and focus on what’s really important. Follow these do’s and don’ts to reclaim your focus on what’s really important.

Do: Protect Your Time

Your time is precious. Choose whom you spend it with and how you spend your time.

Don’t: Hand Your Power to Negative People

We may unknowingly give negative individuals influence over our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Whether you spend two hours complaining about someone you dislike or if you let a driver who cut you off ruin your day, it's important to regain your personal power and not waste any more time and energy to those who simply don’t matter.

Do: Learn To Say No

It’s OK to say “No” to things, activities and people who are not in line with your goals, passions and values. You can gently, but assertively, let the person know that you’re unavailable or unable to do something. Remember “No” is a complete sentence. You don’t need to justify everything to everyone.

Don’t: Create your own drama

Often, boredom, restlessness and our own egos are responsible for the drama we create in our lives. We start to obsess over little things and refuse to let go of feelings of hurt or guilt and let it fester, taking away quality time from things that will have impact.

Do: Offer and Seek Out Help

Remember, compassion and kindness go a long way. While it’s OK to offer help, It’s just as OK to ask for help and receive it graciously. These acts of giving and sharing help eliminate the stress and help you refocus on priorities with people who can help you get to your goals.

Don’t: Give Unsolicited Advice

No one really likes to be told what to do or how to live their life. Never give advice unless you’re asked for it. If it’s unclear, ask the person if they are looking for advice and offer it only if they say they want it.

Do: Focus on Yourself

If you’re focused on your work and achieving your goals, you won’t even notice or care about the drama or negativity. You’ll be so zoned in on your own future that all the pettiness just fades into the background.

Don’t: Try To Control Others

When we try to control what our spouse, child, friend or co-worker should think, say and do, we are headed for needless drama. Instead, focus on what really matters. Managing your own emotions, anxieties, and feelings of self-worth gives other people back their lives and helps you become drama-free.

Putting into practice these simple, yet powerful, Dos and Don’ts will give you more clarity and freedom to eliminate the stress and anxiety that often go hand-in-hand with drama, negativity and pettiness and allow you to focus on making a positive impact in everything you do.

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