Avoiding Negative Influences


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Welcome to Episode 9 of Grow For It! This is a podcast for small business owners, managers and other professionals. I’m Jim, and my goal is to work in the space between your ears – you know, on your mindset – to help you move closer toward your Vision.

Today’s episode focuses on Avoiding Negative Influences. These are the things with the power not only to limit your progress, but to potentially derail your ability to reach your full potential. Stick with me as I’m about to give you some insight in to a very personal part of my life. I hope you’ll be able to feel empowered, afterwards.

By the way, I want you to know I recently launched a radio show focused on small business and entrepreneurship. It’s called, “Let’s Get It Started!” You can listen to it Wednesdays at 7pmEST in the Louisville area, stream it live via the iHeartRadio app, or find the recorded broadcasts also available on my website.

If you’re an iTunes fan, go to the podcast section and type Jim Ray Consulting Services into the search bar. You’ll find this podcast along with my radio show broadcasts.

Before we begin our discussion about avoiding negative influences, let’s review where we’ve been. In Episode 8, we discussed the need to work ON your business, instead of IN your business. We unpacked the constant temptation to focus on the Tactics, when you really need to be working on the Strategy.

Today, we’re going to get a little personal, in an effort to reinforce your mindset and amp-up your performance. If you’re ready, LET’S GROW FOR IT!

As a business leader, manager or entrepreneur, there’s a ton of responsibility on our shoulders. While we try to work ON our businesses, there’s also a need to work ON ourselves.

People are motivated to achieve for a variety of reasons. It’s a driving force high-achievers feel every day. That drive has the ability to stoke a fire inside that pushes us to go further and work longer in pursuit of our goals and those things that come along with it.

As positive as it sounds, that same fire has the potential to consume us and everything we’ve worked for.

I try to be very transparent with my clients and my audience, regardless of whether you’re attending one of my seminars or business workshops, listening to this podcast or even my radio show.

The reason people connect has to do, in part, with the fact that I’m willing to be a little vulnerable, if it means my clients can feel more comfortable. It usually allows us to get to the root of their motivations and dreams.

Again, in Episode 8, we focused on working ON our business. To become max-effective, for some of us, it also requires we begin to work ON ourselves.

My Personal Story

Many of you know I spent over 20 years in sales and sales management. There were plenty of customer events and business meetings, often over dinner. I always had opportunities to join clients or colleagues for cocktails or parties. But what most of you don’t know is that alcoholism runs deep on both sides of my family.

To be honest, I did pretty well in college. I made strong grades but I also had a very active social life. Those experiences and habits carried over into my young career, as it does for many people.

Life was off to a great start. I got married, we started a family and then I began working more and longer. Often, it involved client outings.

Was I becoming an alcoholic? No, I truly don’t think so, but I knew there were days I wasn’t on my A-game. Actually, I really didn’t think it was an issue. However, given my family history, I knew even then that it was a road with the potential to have a hugely negative impact.

In 2004, the train derailed. My wife filed for divorce and everything in my world changed. That’s when I made the commitment to stop drinking, cold turkey. It’s been more than 13 years. I’m happy to say I’ve kept that commitment.

Friends, the reason I shared that personal story is because I want you to know I understand the temptation of negative influences, but more importantly, I was able to experience the positive power in Avoiding Negative Influences.

Oh, to wrap up the story, I can tell you that success in my professional life began to pick up speed. I achieved some personal goals I could barely imagine, much less aim for in my younger years.

I know a lot of friends, colleagues and clients who are facing their own challenges. It’s quite possible some of you listening to this episode are fighting the same, or similar, temptations.

Remember what I say at the beginning of each GROW FOR IT! podcast, “My goal is to work in the space between your ears, you know, on your mindset, to help you move closer toward your Vision.”

Practical Exercise:

Battling and avoiding negative influences is about having the proper mindset. In fact, to do it successfully over the long-term it’ll REQUIRE a strong mindset. How can I help you? Let’s begin by taking out a sheet of paper.

If you’ve listened to previous episodes, you know I’m a visual guy. I like my squares, circles and arrows. We’re going to use them, again today.

Remember friends, this is about you and your ability to move closer toward your Vision. I’m encouraging you to be honest with yourself. It’s the only way this works.

In the center of the sheet, write down the negative influence (or influences) impacting your life. Be completely transparent with yourself. Is there something currently either holding you back, or causing you to risk way too much?

Is it:

  • Alcohol?
  • Drugs?
  • Anger Issues?
  • Sports?
  • An Affair?
  • Unresolved Childhood Trauma
  • Maybe even Social Media?

Here’s a quick example, I was standing in line at the grocery this week when I overheard a lady commenting that she recently removed the Facebook app from her phone, because it had become such a distraction at work. What a great example of taking action to avoid a negative influence!

Let’s return to the exercise. Now, draw a box around each influence you listed. Sit back for a second and take a deep breath. You just took 3 significant steps.

What do I mean by “3 significant steps?” Let’s break them down.

The First Step: You actually admitted to yourself that the issue exists. It means you’re no longer in denial.

The Second Step: You wrote it down. Just like a goal, there’s a switch that goes off in our minds whenever we commit to putting it on paper. Think back to Episode 2, Setting Vision-Based Goals. We went through a series of boxes and circles in an effort to define specific “happenings” which would have to occur if we were to reach our goals.

Do the same now to help you define and commit to specific actions you need to take to effectively deal with and avoid the negative influence you listed in the box.

If you need to listen to Episode 2 again, visit JimRayConsultingServices.com/Podcasts. You can also find it on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify and other platforms.

And Finally, The Third Step: There’s a reason I asked you to put a box around it. That simple act, alone, proves YOU remain in control of that negative influence. It’s not the other way around. Whatever it is, or eventually was, your goals and Vision are too important to let this potentially derail you. There’s simply too much at stake for you, your family and the legacy you’re in the process of building.

Want to be Successful?

There are a few more steps I hope you’ll risk taking, if you really want to be successful in this.

Go back and draw a circle on the page for each negative influence box. Use an arrow to connect each circle to its related box.

Here’s the next important step. I want you to write the name of someone whom you can ask to help keep you accountable in avoiding this negative influence. It must be someone you trust. More importantly, make sure it’s someone who’s not afraid to tell you when you’re wrong and then stand by you as you try to do better.

Friends, negative influences can be very tough to battle on your own. From time to time, even when you think you’ve resolved the issue, it can pop up when you least expect. It’s good to have someone who’s willing to pull you back into the boat.

Symbolism matters. That’s why I asked you to use a circle. If you think about it, a circle resembles a life preserver. See what I did there?

Well, that wraps it up for now. I know this episode was a little different from previous versions, but I hope you found it insightful. Remember, you can listen to each episode at JimRayConsultingServices.com/Podcasts.

I invite you to give my radio show a listen and consider going to iTunes to leave a 5-Star rating and a review. Your comments will help others to find it.

Until next time, I’m Jim Ray and I wish you luck in putting together your plan to help in Avoiding Negative Influences. When you’re ready, Let’s Grow For It!

10 episodes available. A new episode about every 19 days averaging 9 mins duration .