Are you unhappy? Do you get angry too often? Or are you apathetic? Do you feel you’re a victim and have no agency? Many people have no choice over the relationships in their lives that influence these perspectives. But most of us can have healthy, happy relationships if we make the choice to do so.
This means choosing to surround yourself with people who bring you up rather than bring you down. It can be difficult to sever relationships, but nothing will change if you don’t.
Perhaps as we return to the office and social gatherings where we can engage with colleagues and friends in the same room, it’s the perfect time to evaluate whether these people help us to thrive or not.
In both your personal life and professional life, you first need to decide whether you are closer or further from who you want to be when you are with these people. If you’re not who you want to be, you should evaluate the value of these relationships. My wife tells our teenagers that when they are with a new boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s important to determine whether they can be their best selves or not. If they can’t, then something is obviously wrong.
I think this is true in all aspects of our lives. The people who we surround ourselves with can dramatically influence our overall well-being. And we do have a choice in the matter.
In the workplace, this means ensuring that you help foster relationships that include trust and rapport. Treat others with the same respect you expect to receive from them. Choose positive intent when reading an email or text that could be taken otherwise. And until you’ve proved otherwise, believe that your boss and colleagues are doing the best they can.
Regarding the relationship you have with your boss, this can be tricky. But as I wrote in my last post, you should work hard to make it work as best you can because there is a huge opportunity in getting things right with this relationship. And, if you’ve really done all you can and still cannot make it work, you may need to severe this relationship and move on.
As I wrote in my book Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, being successful in your career does not mean bringing your whole self into the workplace, but your best self. This means being authentic while remaining professional. Remember that you are entitled to your feelings and responsible for your behavior.
If your social media feed leaves you feeling worse about politicians, celebrities, business leaders and “Facebook friends,” perhaps you should stop following them and take away their power to negatively influence your well-being. See if you can engage with important social media friends in the real world to foster deeper and more meaningful relationships. I don’t believe rewarding relationships can be built or sustained exclusively online.
Barring another last-minute change of heart, the mercurial Elon Musk appears to be acquiring Twitter. I’ve decided to drop this social media app because I do not want to support Musk’s brand of “absolutist freedom of speech.” Call me old fashioned, but I still believe shouting fire in a crowded theatre when there is no fire is not only wrong but dangerous and should be outlawed.
Take control of your health and happiness in both your personal and professional life by choosing to engage with people who bring out your best. Doing otherwise is detrimental to you and to your career.