How to Deal with Workplace Toxicity, Part 3May 24, 2022
Hello! I’m Lori West, founder of Business Brilliance, and I show high performers like you how to harness the power of the mind to convert performance plateaus into performance peaks.
Let’s take out the trash today, shall we?
“Whose trash?” you might be asking.
Your trash! Yes, your trash.
Here’s the thing. You cannot be responsible for other people’s toxicity.
That’s their job, and not everyone is going to want to clean up their own messes.
I know that sucks, but that’s life.
What you can be 100% responsible for is your own toxicity. And let me reveal a little secret to you.
If you are a living, breathing human being who has had his or her share of ups and downs, you will, in all likelihood, be carrying toxicity.
Where this whole toxicity conversation stinks is in assuming that the toxicity is over there somewhere, like it doesn’t involve you.
No no no. That’s called projection.
So what is projection? It’s a psychological defence that has you attribute characteristics that you are unwilling to own in yourself to other people.
Like toxicity, right?
You see, when I work with clients 1-2-1 on particular challenges, one of the first tasks we undertake is a total clearing out of all the toxic thoughts and corresponding emotions around the particular topic that they’re struggling with.
If you’re going to create something really brilliant, you’ve got to prepare the surface as a clean slate.
Otherwise, you’re still trying to overcome the trash by not dealing with it and owning it.
It’s a bit like this. You can ice a mud cake all you like, dressing it up to make it look pretty.
The fact is — it’s still mud!
Possibly even poisonous!
So, I want to give you a little experience of what it’s like to be responsible for your own toxicity.
Let’s take a look at an issue that may seem harmless but in fact generates a lot of toxicity.
Let’s define what gossip is, just so we’re all on the same page.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines gossip as:
"Conversation or reports about other people’s private lives that might be unkind, disapproving or not true"
Let’s apply mindfulness to the issue of gossip. Ready?
Grab your pen and paper and remember to pause this video any time you need a little more time.
I want you to start by thinking back to a time when you engaged in gossip about a work colleague. It could be about someone you know or someone you don’t know.
It could be that you see it as ‘sharing’ with another colleague or maybe you’re listening to another colleague. But I want you to be really honest with yourself.
Were your words or the words of another person unkind, disapproving or not true or not verifiable in any way?
At this point I want you to pause the video, see if you can recall what exactly was said, and write it down.
As you read the words, notice what other thoughts arise.
Make sure you pause the video and write what you notice down.
As you read what you’ve written down, notice what emotions accompany these thoughts.
Take the time to pause the video and write them down.
Notice where you feel the emotions in your body.
Notice the sensations that accompany the emotions.
Notice anything else that arises as you connect with these sensations.
Do you have an impulse to behave in a certain way, for example?
Pause the video, and write down what you notice.
There's one thing I want you to really notice here.
This toxicity belongs to no one else but you, and we’re going to deal with it, OK?
So when you’re ready, take three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth
in through the nose and out through the mouth
in through the nose and out through the mouth
And then take your attention to the part of your body that is experiencing the sensation.
Breathe into this part of your body, imagining the breath bathing this part of your body as you breathe in.
As you breathe out, feel the physical and emotional energy being loosened and released from your body.
Pause the video and do this breathing exercise until you feel the experience has shifted to a place of calmness and peace.
Just sit with that for a moment, and as you do, notice what arises.
And remember to pause the video after each of the questions I’m about to ask you to record what you notice.
- What thoughts are you present to?
- What emotions and sensations do those thoughts provoke?
- What new perspectives do you recognise?
- What impulses or actions are you inclined to take?
- When will you take them?
- What results can you expect to accomplish by taking these actions?
- What will those results provide for you?
And as I bring the exercise to a close, just notice what the overall experience is for you now around the topic of gossip.
Apply mindfulness to your participation in gossip over the next week, when we’ll conclude this video coaching series with further thoughts on toxicity in the workplace.
Pop what you’re discovering it in the comments or DM me.
And make sure you register above to receive my handy template for creating mental space in your working day, called A Boost of Brilliance.
It’s a workplace self-assessment tool designed to bring mindfulness, space and peace to your life.
You can use it as a daily toxicity transformer. Very useful I hope you’re starting to gather, right?
You’ll also receive my newsletter, in which I’ll be sharing tips on a weekly basis for ways you can improve workplace performance in a mindful, fulfilling, empowered way.
I look forward to seeing you for the final segment of this video series next week.
Until then… be brilliant!
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