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Friday, September 25, 2015

The Workplace Bully's Game: How to Stop Playing


Conscience is the window of our spirit, evil is the curtain. Doug Horton
Putting Your Finger on the Unspoken Problem

The other night I had the most enlightening dream. A nice looking man exhibited bad behavior in plain view against my person. This man calmly walked out on 'the playing field', grabbed me, held me down and put his hand on my breast in plain view of all. His sole purpose was to do this publicly and get away with it while the people in the bleachers looking on did and said nothing. It was an unconscionable act--perpetrated by a man with no feeling about his actions whose only intent was to control me and show his domination.

....For him the thrill was knowing he could openly do this in plain sight and get away with it.

Occasionally I come across people in the workplace I'm hard pressed to understand how and why they do unconscionable things. They don't seem to feel bad about their actions--so I begin to look for the logical, rational reason behind their actions. And that is my downfall--for as Martha Stout, author of 'The Sociopath Next Door' says unlike most of us led by our conscience there are people living and working among us who literally have no conscience.

According to Martha Stout, PhD, author of 'The Sociopath Next Door' :
'1 in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty.'

I don't know that I've ever really contemplated the word UNCONSCIONABLE before now--yet I know I've witnessed unconscionable behavior and my dream captured the essence of the experience and fully expressed the game of the unconscionable bully.

THE WORKPLACE BULLY'S GAME

Controlling others and winning 

The ultimate thrill is domination over other people.


It's really hard to grasp the thought that another human being actually lives life without a conscience resulting in no feelings of guilt, shame, or remorse for what others would consider bad behavior and actions against other people.

Yet when you understand  'unconscionable people' exist it can explain how bad behavior can exist publicly un-protested--without a reasonable, rational explanation that makes sense to those of us with a conscience. It is simply unthinkable that people would act in unthinkable ways to purposefully destroy or denigrate others so we give them the benefit of the doubt.



Unconscionable Bullies: How To Recognize Them 

UNCONSCIONABLE  When I looked up the definition of unconscionable there it was: not guided or controlled by conscience; unscrupulous;  excessive, unreasonable—as in shockingly unfair or unjust practices; extremely bad, unfair, or wrong behavior.

Of course I just thought that meant a person had a momentary lapse of conscience rather than no conscience at all. Boy was I wrong.



On the surface, most people without conscience--or 'remorseless' bullies--look like the rest of us. They live and work among us and can appear quite ordinary--until we get caught up and targeted in their game.

It's easy for us to assume they're 'just like us', never realizing they have no conscience to guide them. They play by different rules and different games. They have no problem lying straight to your face and in front of other people, and it can be extremely difficult to hold them accountable. They are remorseless.

Harvard psychologist, Martha Stout, says you can recognize the 'remorseless' by one of their chief characteristics--'a kind of glow of charisma' that makes the sociopath more charming or interesting than other people around them.
They are more spontaneous, intense and perhaps sexier than everyone else making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally sociopaths are different because they can not love.

These charismatic bullies learn to show sham emotions from an early age, but underneath they are indifferent to your suffering and demise. They live to dominate you and to win over you.


Charismatic bullies are the every day, common variety sociopaths who are unscrupulous, unprincipled, and unconscionable liars.



Why Do They Target You?

If you are a person these bullies tend to target for their search and destroy missions, consider that a good mark on your character. What these sociopaths envy they seek to destroy.

According to Stout, there is usually something in your strong character structure that makes you a target for the bully's take down.



The remorseless bully can walk into a room, meet you for the first time, and immediately identify you as the one to target. The stronger or more powerful you are, or the more you are loved and respected by others the better target you make.

Make no mistake, they are intentionally trying to harm you and your ability to do your work. Theirs is a game of 'take down'  pure and simple--'a gratuitous sabotage or undermining of your work performance'.




Workplace Bullies Relentlessly Pick Away at Your Strengths

The workplace bullies are relentless at picking away at the very thing you are really good at and often use their seemingly charismatic ways to subtly and systematically turn others against you and your talents, abilities or strengths.

Are you a highly motivated, creative person? Bingo! The charismatic bully will systematically use his charm to turn other's perception of you into that of an unmotivated, stuck-in-your-ways person who needs to be bypassed to get anything done.




Are you a well loved and respected leader among your colleagues? The charismatic bully will sow the seeds of discontent among the group and work to cut off and limit your interactions with others.

It's nearly impossible to negotiate with narcissistic bullies. 'They're right and they haven't done anything wrong.' You are simply an impediment who needs to be pushed aside or run over.



Why Workplace Bullies Get Away with Bad Behavior

Unfortunately its difficult to get help dealing with workplace bullies and you're on your own to decide to stay or leave the situation.

Colleagues may fear getting splattered by the negativity, or fear upsetting the bullies so they retreat and fail to speak up. Still others are seduced by the charm and attention of the charismatic bully and simply look the other way.

Leaders of the organization may be focused on the high profile position the Bully often holds and be resistant to confronting her. Sometimes it is the leader in the organization that is the problem.

As the chart shows below, the most common employer response to abusive bully behavior at work is to deny, defend or discount it.

Until colleagues and leaders in an organization can openly share and talk about the nature of the bully's public actions he will get away with bad behavior every time.







The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

How to Stop Playing the Bully's Game

How do good people fight unconscionable bullies? 

You can only do it by grouping together to shine a light on their dark, destructive behavior.

You can not win by going into direct combat with these sociopaths. You can't win because this IS their game. If you confront the bully, be assertive, not aggressive. Talk facts, not feelings. And if you're a bystander, step in.

You must state the obvious IN PUBLIC--and not be bullied into keeping silent.

Once you openly acknowledge and name what's going on, you must continue to talk openly, keeping no secrets for the bully. Be willing to share information freely with others.




What is an organization's role in fighting workplace bullying?

The organization must take an active role in putting a stop to workplace bullying. If those in authority or a position of influence do nothing, not only is the individual person affected, but the whole of the organization will be harmed by the divisive, destructive behavior.

If the leadership does not directly stop the bullying behavior, morale goes down and turnover increases as good people leave the organization.















How to step out of the workplace bully's game if the organization does not support you...

If you do not have the direct, complicit on-going support of the organization, get out of the situation. Life is too short to stay in the bully's game.







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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.


If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Life's Too Mysterious, Don't Take it Serious

Thank you Mary Englebreit and George Gershwin--and Lee Bryant


How Do You Lift Your Spirits?

  • What do you see when you look out into the world?
  • What are you always listening for?
  • Do you seek positive or negative messages?
  • Does what you listen or look for open up or close down your world? Do you see the world as a good or bad place?



Me? I am a person who surrounds herself with uplifting messages and positive, fun-loving people--and this serves me well.

When I look out into the world I'm always scanning for funny or positive messages, and inspiring and uplifting people--and despite experiencing life difficulties along the way,  I'm constantly brought back to a positive place by the support and good-humor of the people around me and the lightarted perspective they bring with them.

I had the good fortune to spend the weekend with my Sister-in-law, Lee, driving together to my nephew's wedding. Somewhere along the journey she found my cloth grocery bag in my car with the 'Life's too mysterious, don't take it serious' art by  Mary Englebreit, snapped a photo of it and sent it back to me. When I saw the photo I smiled and recalled what a great 5 hours I spent in non-stop conversation with Lee.

After sitting with the message and pondering how it came back to me as a shared experience with Lee, I felt compelled to share the photo of my years-long traveling companion with you--my uplifting grocery bag--and to put the positive message back out into the world.

Positive, uplifting people and positive, uplifting messages are plentiful in the world. Chose to look for and listen for them.  Choose to surround yourself with people and messages that make your world a better place.

  • Who has made your life better this week?
  • Who has supported or uplifted your spirits this week?

Take a moment to thank them--or better yet--find a way to give the support and uplift back to them!


What is the origin of 'life's too mysterious, don't take it serious'?

I have always loved this saying but never thought about the origin. I was surprised to discover that it originates with composer, George Gershwin from the lyrics of 'Life is just a bowl of Cherries'. I did not know that!

Life is just a bowl of cherries. Don't take it serious; life's so mysterious. You work, you save, you worry so, But you can't take your dough when you go, go, go. So keep repeating it's the berries, The strongest oak must fall, The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned So how can you lose what you've never owned? Life is just a bowl of cherries, So live and laugh at it all.

What does it mean? "Like a bowl full of cherries, Life is a limited bowl of moments. You might as well enjoy as many as you can because the value of each is as great as the value of any moment. You can spend it serious and worrying, or realize and savor the sweetness of each moment and live life to its fullest." Kirsch


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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don't Let Anger Lead You




What Gets Your Goat?

What is it for you?
  • What drives you to the breaking point--leaving you feeling crazy, angry and frustrated?
  • What tips you over the top leaving you feeling mad at the whole world without knowing why?
  • What turns you from being a fully functioning adult into a seemingly helpless and frustrated child inside?

E-motion--Don't Leave Home without it

I hate to feel stuck or controlled--it makes me angry and frustrated. I am driven by the desire to move freely in my daily life, so seeking a way to quickly break free from encumbrances became important to me at a young age. Years ago I embraced a definition of emotion that allows me to view all emotion in a positive light and to use it in a more fluid, productive manner.

Instead of viewing emotion as good or bad, happy or sad--I've come to understand E-motion as energy in motion. Our e-motions give us the energy to act, the drive to 'right wrongs', and the desire to pursue our dreams.



Personal Values Define Our Internal 'Lines in the Sand'

The goal of anger management isn't to become a placid, 'Stepford Wife' devoid of emotion--especially anger. It's to learn how to use the energy created by e-motion to create positive outcomes.

Chances are the situations or people making you exceptionally angry violate one or more of your personal values. Our personal values define our invisible boundaries--our lines in the sand. When someone crosses one of those lines we feel violated, resulting in a wall of anger and frustration. And anger left unattended can quickly turn inward and lead to depression.

I get angry or frustrated at least once a day. But I've learned to use my anger--or energy-in-motion-- to help me identify what personal values have been violated. Being able to name the invisible boundaries crossed puts me back in control and provides the momentum for taking positive action.

By using my anger to help me identify what I value, I now have choices for taking action based on what I value rather than on what makes me angry.



Use Your Anger to Identify what You Value

Don't just sit in your anger, use the energy to identify what your personal values are and take positive action based on them.

Situational depression occurs when you feel hopeless or helpless in response to a situation that knocks the wind out of you. To avoid getting depressed in response to tough situations, get in the habit of always following up by taking action that has the potential of producing positive outcomes.

What to Do

Think of a situation or person that upset you in the last week.
  • What happened?
  • List what made you angry or frustrated in the situation.
  • List things you value that may have been violated in the situation.
  • When you're ready: Chose a positive response based on your personal values.
  • Take positive action--even if you don't feel like it.


Here are some of the things I've learned about myself by going through this process of converting anger into better understanding my personal values and choosing to take action based on those values.



What makes me Angry?
  • Injustice
  • Bullies
  • Narcissists
  • Untested Assumptions
  • Overly Critical Judgments
  • Controlling People
  • Uncaring People
  • Self-righteous People
  • Lack of Opportunity for People
  • Being Held Back


What Do I Value?
  • Opportunity to Achieve
  • Creativity
  • 'Flow' Experiences
  • Humane Treatment of People
  • Humane Treatment of Animals
  • Productive Work
  • Harmony
  • Freedom
  • Caring
  • Teamwork
  • Enthusiasm
  • Joyful Experiences
  • Fun
  • Achieving Personal Dreams
  • Helping Others Achieve their Dreams
  • Openness
  • Truth
  • Trust and Connection


How I want to act based on Anger
  • Lash out at offender.
  • Give them a dose of their own medicine.
  • Cut offender off.
  • Talk poorly about offender.
  • Turn others against offender.
  • Wish bad things on the offender.


How I choose to act based on my Values to Create a Better Outcome

  • Do nothing. Let my anger cool.
  • When I'm ready, Look for ways to open up communication and develop trust.
  • When I'm ready: Talk to, not about the person, to clarify facts and understanding.
  • Seek to create opportunities to work with others joyfully and enthusiastically.
  • Seek more positive environments.
  • Reach out to others to build trust and connection.




Don't let yourself be led by your anger. Choosing your actions based on your values puts you in the driver seat. Put your e-motions to work for you--giving you the energy to act, the drive to 'right wrongs', and the desire to pursue your dreams. You're worth it.

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.


'With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.' Wayne W Dyer

Man's Search for Meaning

Sometimes in the overwhelming challenge of trying to find work after being laid off in a devastating economy, or attempting to recover from a devastating break up of a relationship or loss of a loved one, you can be left feeling discouraged, hopeless and isolated. Looking through the lens of defeat and loss, life can begin to feel flat and meaningless.

The key to pulling out of the darkness is to change the filter you look through to gain a fresh perspective. Or as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams."

When you're dispirited and feeling low it may feel like an impossible task to change your perspective. You don't exactly feel perky and positive. Yet, changing your focus from your problems and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles you face to putting the focus back on creating a life based on your dreams and aspirations is the only way out.

I Know it Hurts--Just Push into the Pain

When I was in labor with my first child I failed to dilate fully so my doctor manually stretched me during the contractions that occurred one minute apart. This was the most painful and seemingly never ending process I've ever experienced. I could barely remain conscious the pain was so excruciating.

With contractions coming every minute, I would fall into a deep sleep for 45 seconds before the contractions would wake me up and the unbearable pain would start all over.  As the doctor stretched me (60 times an hour) he kept saying 'I know it hurts, just push into the pain'. It took all my resolve not to kick him in the groin and tell him 'YOU push into the pain!'

But even in my darkest moment somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I knew when I eventually got out of what turned out to be 24 hours of hard labor, that comment, 'I know it hurts, just push into the pain', would become a metaphor for my life.

If Pain is the Teacher, What's the Lesson?

Birthing a new life--literally or figuratively has it's painful moments--but when you push into the pain and stay focused on your dreams you move through it to gain a new life. It isn't always pleasant or easy but when you achieve a dream it's worth it in the end.

There is no way to avoid or go around the painful part of life on our way to achieving our dreams. No one 'has it easy'. But if we keep our eyes on the goal, instead of the obstacles, we allow ourselves to be led by our dreams instead of pushed by our problems, making it easier to endure the difficulties along the way.

Are You Ready to Turn it Around?
  • Where have you felt pushed by your problems?
  • If you were led by your dreams what would you do differently?
  • If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do with your life?




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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

If you're interested in learning more about closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, join the Lightarted Living mailing list. Sign up for free e-mail updates from this blog in the top right-hand corner of the page.