Printer Friendly


The energy vampires at work might be sucking the vitality away from your company culture. Don't let them.

We've all experienced it: a boss, a coworker, a friend, a family member, or some other person who grinds you down. They use their negative energy to thwart, hurt, offend, or stand in the way of your peace and progress. In extreme cases, you may even struggle to pick up the pieces and stand your ground.

I'm fond of a saying coined by Silicon Valley marketing expert and author Guy Kawasaki. Writing to entrepreneurs he coined the phrase, "Don't let the bozos grind you down." Mr. Kawasaki's message was directed towards business start-ups, but I like to apply the phrase to everyday life. Too often we let people who don't have our best interests at heart bring us down. I call these people "bozos."


Note the use of the verb "grind" in the phrase "don't let the bozos grind you down." The people I'm talking about wear you down inch-by-inch and moment-by-moment. It's not a one and done deal, but rather a long, milling process. You feel yourself being ground through a millstone, often not realizing what's happening or how best to stop. By the time you reach the other end, you are nothing like the way you started. Now, you are worn, used, and compromised. Your aspirations have not been reached, despite your best efforts and you're left asking "why?" with a nagging feeling that something went wrong. Life should be different.

I know what you're thinking: so what's the business connection? I can think of several. We know culture makes a huge difference in the health and success of organizations. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella feels so strongly about this point that he wrote about it in his recent book Hit Refresh. He said the "C" in CEO should stand for culture. It's difficult to create a great culture with a bunch of bozos running around.

We also know our experiences with friends and family can impact our business and work success. It's difficult to be at our best in sales, customer service, a strategy session, or leadership position when we feel anger, abuse, or heartache in our personal life. Bozos can wreak havoc with our professional productivity and effectiveness.


So what do we do? Bad people exist and we aren't going to change that. What we can change is how we deal with them. I'd like to offer two suggestions for coping with the bozos in our lives.

First, practice the wisdom of bless and release. The "bless" part of this couplet comes from your goodness; the release part comes from your intelligence. Bless all people with the ability to change, become better, and find peace and happiness in life. But don't feel like you have to invite these people into your inner circle. Put your intelligence to work and release them. Let them go.

The second suggestion involves perspective, a word and concept I treasure. In this usage, perspective means taking a more comprehensive view of the world and human life. Perspective requires two things when dealing with difficult personalities.

People who grate on you, target you, torment you, or otherwise make your life difficult, have problems of their own. Give them that space. It would be wonderful if all people were caring, compassionate, empathetic, and filled with integrity. They are not. Manage your expectations.

Next, be gentle with yourself, but remember the benefit of trials. Every single challenge I have had in life has made me a better person. Every single one. While you can't know it while suffering, it is true. Hard things can make great people. Don't experience the pain without reaping the benefit. Use this experience to improve.

When a bozo stands in the way of your business, personal happiness or progress as a human being, bless and release them, rekindle perspective about how people are complex and imperfect, and remember: you are better for your trials. The saying, "no mud, no lotus" is as true as it's ever been.

Natalie Gochnour is an associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber.
COPYRIGHT 2018 Utah Business Publishers LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2018 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Gochnour, Natalie
Publication:Utah Business
Date:Oct 1, 2018
Next Article:HOW TO PROTECT YOUR COMPANY FROM CYBER ATTACKS: In the aftermath of the Equifax breach, here's what we've learned.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters