Dream Snatcher

images dream snatcherI was terrified when I contemplated going back to school to complete my Masters degree. To be truthful, I wasn’t a terrific student, although I had always excelled in the workplace. My fears about school were so strong that every now and then, the subject turned up in my nightmares.  Usually, I was running to get to my class and would realize that I had not studied for the final. (Which, of course, was happening right at that moment.)  In the nightmare, I could feel the anxiety coursing through my body as I asked myself why I hadn’t attended the classes or prepared appropriately for the exam. This scenario played itself out over and over— whenever I was feeling anxious in my life.


Yes, I had fears about school and succeeding. So, when I made the decision to go back to school, you can imagine what an obstacle that represented to me. I began to tell people my plan, with the hope that every time I shared my news, I would become a little more self-confident about the path I had chosen.  This was my dream and the only thing that was stopping me from going after it was my fear.


As you know, every time you share your life plans with someone, you run the risk of receiving a negative reaction. I remember vividly sharing the news with a good friend who reacted in a way that I couldn’t have expected.  As I excitedly laid out my plans for the future, she questioned my decision.


“Why would you do that?  How can you possibly be successful when you still have two kids at home? That’s not going to work”.


This cut straight to my heart. I needed a friend that supported and encouraged me to move forward.  I didn’t need help with feeling any more vulnerable or unsure about my decision. I was more than capable of handling that one.


This person was a DREAM SNATCHER.


You know the type. They could be loving members of your family or long-time friends.  The bottom line is that they discourage you from wanting more and believing that you are entitled to receive more. They go out of their way to share all the reasons why your decision is a bad idea and it’s not going to work.


But why do they do this? There are many possible reasons but these two are the most common.


They don’t want you to get hurt.

It’s possible that they have lived their own life following the rules and doing what’s safe.  They love you and they can’t bear to see you get hurt, stumble or take the wrong path.  Therefore, they will convince you to keep things predictable.  They will encourage you to stay where you’re familiar and comfortable.  Their pain while watching you risk this fall is so great that they feel compelled to convince you to stay “status quo”. They just can’t take the risk of having to see you struggle.


Your plans make them feel vulnerable and insecure.

Nothing is more threatening to the Dream Snatcher than watching others move forward and go after their dreams.  The Dream Snatcher doesn’t have the courage to take this leap; therefore, they feel relieved if they can discourage you from taking it.  Your ability to move forward is uncomfortable for them— they might have to face some decisions in their own life.  When my friend asked me how I could go back to school, she really was talking about herself. This was really about her, not me.


There will always be plenty of people in life who want to give you reasons why your dream is NOT valid.  Dream snatchers are everywhere and they’re more than happy to go into detail as to why your dream will fail.  Be sure to surround yourself with individuals that encourage, empower and support your efforts to go after your dreams and live life to the fullest.



Finding Inner Sass in Your Career

Recently, I was having a conversation with a woman at a lunch event.  I introduced myself by saying my usual, “I help women find their inner sass”.  This woman responded like so many women do, by informing me that she already had her inner sass.  The thing is that I’m not so sure.  Having your inner sass in your career doesn’t mean you have an attitude or you let people have a piece of your mind.  It means that you have the courage and strength to make good decisions.  Often, I believe that many women misinterpret this very important distinction.


It means that you have a sense of when to talk and when to not.

It doesn’t mean that you don’t have your voice. A woman that truly has her inner sass has the ability to be patient and hold back her opinion when it’s appropriate. It’s an important skill to be able to discern when to speak up and when to keep quiet. Also, mastering this skill can make a world of difference in your future success. Women with their inner sass have the strength to stay quiet, assess the situation and think things through before taking any action. They don’t make impulsive decisions that come back to haunt them later in their career.


It means that you don’t stay in your job when it’s time to move on.

I’m sure there’s been a time in your life when you stayed past your job’s expiration date.  I’ve certainly done this. Frankly, I did it because it was easier than venturing outside and braving the elements. Why do we do this? It’s because in your present situation, at least you know what to expect.  Humans like routine and you’re no exception to the rule.  Considering leaving a job or career can encourage you to play the “what if” game.  What if the new workplace is worse, what if I hate my job, etc.  It requires sass to ignore the “what ifs”, take the chance and make that leap to find your happiness.


It means that you know how to take responsibility when you’ve been wrong.

It happens eventually to everyone. You make a mistake at work that will affect others. Having your sass doesn’t mean you can’t make colossal mistakes now and then. However, your sass is contingent on how you HANDLE the mistake. It takes courage and strength to take responsibility for your mess-up.  It’s easier to try to slide it under the radar or blame it on someone else.  However, taking full responsibility and being proactive in the way you handle the mistake shows integrity and character. It shows others that you are a true leader.


It means that you have the courage to say, “I don’t know”.

Your brain is telling you “I should know this and not knowing makes me look incompetent”. However, that can’t be further from the truth.  I’m sure you’ve witnessed a situation where someone tried to make others believe they had the answer when they really didn’t.  I bet you didn’t respect them too much after this charade.  Being honest and saying, “I don’t know but I’ll find out” shows integrity, confidence, and sass.


So how did you stack up? Do you have some areas that could use some improvement? Be honest with yourself and make the changes to own your sass!


Dealing With Difficult People

Have you ever had to deal with difficult people in your personal or professional life? I’m talking about someone that absolutely drives you wacky and brings out the worst in you! Maybe it’s that ONE individual that drives you so crazy at work that you’ve contemplated quitting your job. But here’s the problem with using that kind of exit strategy as a solution; difficult people are everywhere.


They’re part of our families, they live in our neighborhoods, and often share the cubicle beside us at work.  Because of this, learning to deal with these people is an important skill to master. Here are a couple tips to help you navigate the rough social terrain.


Try your best to keep the emotion out of your interactions. I know what you’re thinking; that’s easier said than done!  But the fact is, losing your temper will just escalate the situation and that’s the last thing you need! At work, a flaring temper can backfire on you and make it appear that you’re the “difficult one” in the relationship.


Try to understand what motivates this individual.  Attempt to understand the underlying reason for this individual’s behavior.  Once you’re aware of what truly motivates them to do what they do, you can develop some empathy for the individual. This, in turn, can help keep your emotions in check.  For example, maybe you have a co-worker that talks incessantly and it drives you bonkers. Looking beneath the surface, you might discover this is someone that’s lonely in his or her personal life and starved for human contact during the workday. This enables you to change your perspective on the situation.


Don’t waste time lamenting, talking and gossiping about this person. Talking about this person to others and how they’re driving you crazy is a natural reaction to this situation. However, if you’re spending every waking hour talking, thinking and stressing about this person, you need to reassess your priorities in life. Is this truly a valuable use of your time and energy? None of this behavior is going to change or improve the situation.


Reach out to someone you respect and trust to get their opinion. I once worked in a company where I clashed horrifically with a woman I’ll call Ann. I began to believe our relationship issues were my fault entirely, so I kept trying harder and harder to make it right. I reached out to a trusted individual that no longer worked in the company.  Before I said anything to her about the situation, she asked me if I worked with Ann. I asked her why and she went into a 10-minute tirade about how Ann drove her crazy until she finally left her job.  I immediately felt validated, which in turn made me feel energized to come up with strategies to deal with the situation. Talking with someone you respect helps you look at the situation objectively.


Assess what you CAN control in the situation, and what you can’t.  You can’t get control the fact that there are going to be certain times you’ll be forced to interact with this person. You CAN control whether you have boundaries with this individual.  For example, if you work with this person, you don’t HAVE to go out to lunch with her every day and you don’t HAVE to be friends with her outside of the workplace.  Limit the amount of time you interact with her during your day as much as possible.


Accept the fact that you’ll need to treat this person differently than the way you treat other people. You’re not going to be able to be “you” every time you’re in their presence. You’ll need to be aware of your boundaries, keep your guard up and careful about what you say in this person’s presence.


There will always be difficult people around us; it’s just a fact of life. However, learning how to interact with difficult people is an essential skill needed if you are striving to be happy, healthy and successful. I know you can do it, girlfriend!