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Life Health > Running Your Business

Drop Relationships That Don’t Serve You

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Everything we want to achieve in life involves relationships of some sort, but not all relationships are equally valuable when we are striving toward our goals. Here are some tips for navigating the relationship seas.

Drop the anchors. Achieving goals and greater levels of success requires energy, sometimes an enormous amount. Negative people are like psychic vampires: They drain us of the precious energy we need to grow and achieve. Until we reach the point in our self-development where we no longer allow negative people to affect us, it’s best to avoid these toxic people at all costs. They will hold us back with their victim mentality and mediocre standards.

To identify which relationships are draining you, make a list of all people you spend time with on a regular basis. Go through the list and put a minus sign (-) next to the people who are on the whole negative and toxic. Put a plus sign (+) next to the people who are positive and nurturing. Then simply stop spending time with the people on the negative list.

You may counter that it’s impossible to avoid negative people, for example, at work. In that case, spend only as much time as is absolutely necessary and avoid them when you can.

Identify your best investments. Another way relationships can drain our energy is when we feel overwhelmed by the number of relationships we have to maintain. The first thing to do is question the feeling of “have to.” Remember, we do not have to do anything; we choose to do it. And that includes determining which relationships we want to maintain. “Have to” indicates that our motivation to maintain the relationship is based on fear. But to create greater success, we want to make decisions that are motivated by joy and excitement.

Luckily, we are equipped with a handy inner guidance system that tells us when we are making decisions that are in alignment with our higher good and that is the feeling of joy. When we are not spending a lot of time feeling joyful, it is a clear sign that we are off course.

Review your list of relationships again, this time with a different set of criteria. Identify the people who bring you the greatest joy (as well as financial and professional success). Which people are you most excited to spend time with? Which people are most important for you to keep in touch with? Which relationships are critical to your bottom line? These are the relationships to cultivate.

Once you have identified your key relationships, prioritize their names on a chart. In the second column, add contact information so that it is readily available when you want to reach out to that person. In the third column, answer the question, “What result(s) do I want to achieve with this person in the next 90 days?” Do you want them to hire you? Attend your seminar? Buy your book? Send referrals to you? Use this chart to guide your actions over the next three months as you nurture these key relationships.

You get to choose. In business in particular, you may feel that you are required to stay connected with more people than you would normally choose. But remember that you do get to choose not only which relationships you want to nurture but also how close each relationship will be.

World-renowned marine artist Wyland once said, “There are two types of people: anchors and motors. You want to lose the anchors and get with the motors because the motors are going somewhere and they’re having more fun. The anchors will just drag you down.” Carefully choose the relationships in which you invest your precious time and rev up your own motor.

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Jack Canfield, America’s success coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and a leading authority on peak performance. Get your free success tips from Canfield at:


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