I have a client who has been working very hard to grow her business and her income. You know what that’s like. It’s not easy. You get excited about buyers, who end up deciding not to buy, or suddenly announce they are working with another agent. Or you leave a listing feeling confident you’ll get it, only to see a competitor’s sign in the yard a few days later.
My client was in this frustrating stage of her business growth when she had a family gathering to go to. A well-meaning relative asked, the moment he saw her, “How’s it going? Do you have any new clients?”
To make matters worse, he asked her in front of a bunch of other people. She couldn’t ignore the question, but she didn’t want to answer it either. Finally, she said, “No new clients, but I’m working hard to prospect for some.”
His question stung.
She felt deflated. Embarrassed. Hurt.
No one likes to admit their business has gone stale, even if it’s temporary.
Here’s where a life coach comes in. Especially one that has been in the real estate business for over 25 years and understands her pain and frustration! Here’s what I told her:
“Don’t take it personally.”
Naturally, we get embarrassed or angry at certain questions or responses we get from others. It’s really easy to make their comments “mean” something about us. My client made the relative’s comments mean that he didn’t think she was working hard enough or doing a good enough job getting new clients and getting her business off the ground.
The truth is, her relative was responding because of what he was thinking and feeling. Not because of her situation.
In my client’s situation, her relative was genuinely concerned for how her business was doing. He’s genuinely concerned about her ability to support herself financially. That caused him to ask the question. That’s totally about him, what’s important to him and what makes him fearful. It doesn’t have anything to do with my client.
Every time you can self-coach your way through a hurtful or irritating comment from someone else, you free yourself from the negative interpretation you would otherwise associate with it.
I want you to try this. Right now:
- Think of something someone said to you recently that hurt your feelings or pissed you off.
- Notice all the ways you make what was said “mean something.” You may make it mean the person doesn’t like you or trust you. You may think they are criticizing you or think you don’t know what you’re doing. Whatever it is, take a moment to be aware of the meaning you’ve put on it.
- Replay the encounter in your mind. Hear the person say what he says, and think, “I’m not taking that personally. He is saying that because of something he is thinking or feeling.”
- Make an honest assessment of the situation. Is there something you need to do differently? Is there something you need to talk to him about or clarify?
- Notice how, when you’ve taken away all the negativity of being hurt or feeling criticized or being angry, you can think about the person and the situation and not feel criticized or diminished because you aren’t taking it personally. When you don’t take it personally, you aren’t defensive, and you are much more likely to solve the problem.
Try it out. I’m sure something will be said today that pisses you off or hurts your feelings. Go through the quick, but effective, five step process above and see how much freer and happier you feel! Notice how much easier it is to dismiss what was said or come up with a creative solution because you’re not wasting your energy being angry, hurt, justifying or defending yourself.
Let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear about your situation and your insights once you stopped taking it personally.