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How to Empower Yourself and Develop Better Relationships With Difficult People



how to build better relationships
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Your colleague calls you to complain about the new sales quotas. Your teenage daughter refuses to clean her room. Your CEO explodes because your team didn’t make their numbers this quarter. Your neighbor lectures you on the need for organic weed removal.

Difficult people trigger an emotional response in everyone. From your child to your CEO, people you perceive as difficult can affect your energy, ability to communicate, and reasoning skills. The dictionary definition of difficult, pertaining to a person, is “not easy to please or satisfy.”

Others define difficult people as people with certain personality traits or emotional characteristics that make it difficult for you to communicate with them. When you encounter a difficult person it is uncomfortable. They think, act, and behave differently than you. You perceive them as demanding, unmanageable, exasperating, and tiresome.

Coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult people have ranged from ignoring, blaming, or trying to transform them. Other people find it more manageable to place these difficult people into a box by labeling them as a narcissist, bully, gossip, whiner, or psychopath.

Avoiding, blaming or labeling is not an effective way to deal with difficult people. It creates a victim mindset where growth and possibilities are limited and even impossible. Therefore, it is essential and crucial for you to take another way.

Below are 4 empowered approaches you can take to develop better relationships with difficult people:

1. Have Compassion

People, even difficult people, generally want to do the right thing but often go about it the wrong way. This can be frustrating and lead to significant disconnection. Perceptions of difficult people are based on personal beliefs and reality.

Therefore, when you encounter a difficult person it’s important to access compassion by stepping out of your critical ego and observe the person from a place of understanding. When you have compassion for a difficult person you can understand them and their behavior from a different perspective.

“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” – Dalai Lama

2. Listen to Connect

Listening to connect is listening without judgment, bias, assumptions or rejection. This creates a space for connection and collaboration by focusing on the other person, and not you.

A chemical shift occurs in the brain when people show sincere concern for another. Therefore, when you listen to connect with a difficult person, they become calmer, regain composure, and begin to communicate in a constructive way. Listening to connect is more powerful than listening to understand because it creates a space for trust, mutual success, and discovery.

3. Reframe by Challenging Assumptions

Reframing is an amazing tool for dealing with difficult people, and difficult situations by putting a different spin on what is being said, turning it into an opportunity, and for finding trust and common ground.

Assumptions are part of our belief system and ingrained in our neural circuitry. Because of this, when you reframe situations with difficult people you are helping them, not only connect, but to get to the next level of greatness.

For example, if your co-worker complains about not making her quota challenge the perceived limitations by asking, “What are your assumptions about your territory, the organization, or your ability to make quota.”

“I believe that you can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

4. Align

Difficult people can be the best teachers. They are put into our life on purpose; to teach us about ourselves, if we are willing to listen. Look to align with difficult people by shifting the dynamics from opposition to aligned partner.

Reposition yourself mentally by asking the following questions:

  • What do we have in common?
  • What is their intent?
  • Who is this person outside of work/school?
  • What do they do well?
  • How do they contribute?

Relationships with difficult people can be challenging, frustrating, and draining, but they can also be empowering, inspiring, and life-changing.

How you navigate difficult people will determine your success in life. You can choose to blame them, ignore, or label them and remain a victim of their behaviors. On the other hand, you can empower yourself and create opportunities for both you and the difficult people in your life.

Which one of the above tips to develop better relationships with others resonated with you most? Share your thoughts below!

Tracy Martino is the founder of Executive Return, where she is a Wellness, Personal Development, and Leadership Consultant based in Boulder, CO. Tracy helps people increase their performance and resilience so they can decrease stress, increase communication, and make better decisions. She is a certified Conversational Intelligence® and HeartMath® consultant. Tracy is a Best-Selling Author of the book, “Cracking The Code To Success” with Brian Tracy. Her work also has appeared in Forbes, Huffington Post, Medium, Thrive, Positively Positive, The Master Shift, and Elephant Journal. Find Tracy on LinkedIn

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Success Advice

Mastering Self-Management for Success: Lessons From Peter F. Drucker

With careers no longer following a straight, predictable path, self-awareness and adaptability are essential for success.



Peter f drucker lessons
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In today’s dynamic professional world, self-management has become increasingly important. With careers no longer following a straight, predictable path, self-awareness and adaptability are essential for success. (more…)

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How Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success

Your life is dictated by beliefs and biases that drive your thinking, behaviors, and decisions



Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success (1)
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Success Advice

How to Break the Cycles of Mediocrity and Manifest Your Greatness

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity



Image Credit: Midjourney

In just a few weeks, we will be wrapping up 2023. Can you believe it? This year has been absolutely incredible for me.

I have seen amazing doors opened, new relationships formed and I am seeing dreams realized in my life. While this seems like the hallmarks of a great year, this has also been the most challenging year of my life. With all of the change happening in my life, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and challenged to grow in every area of my life.

I can truly say that I have made the most of my moments this year and I have used everything as a catalyst for maximizing my greatest potential.

As a revolutionary leader, I have the pleasure of consulting and advising leaders around the world to fulfill purpose, realize their greatest potential and make an impact.

I want to share some insights with you that will help you to break cycles of mediocrity and manifest your greatness

Everything legal must come through the matrix

I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am using the term matrix. However, what you have to understand is that I am trying to make a highly complex spiritual principle practical to understand.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, every life has an origin and I believe that origin is divine and begins with eternity. You are birthed from eternity and into time to fulfill a unique purpose and assignment in your lifetime and generation.

The matrix is simply the portal or vehicle that brings something out of the invisible realm and into tangible form. The problem with much of the teaching today is that it excludes the matrix. We are told to believe that success is instantaneous and overnight.

Nobody talks about how a dream progresses through stages beginning with visualization and ultimately culminating in manifestation. Without a matrix or portal then everything that you attempt to birth and build will be illegal.

The matrix not only makes you legal but it gives you the authority and power to function as the greatest expression of who you were created to be. 

Every matrix has an incubation process

While many people admire and respect me today, I remember a time when nobody knew who I was or the significance of my message. How did I get to where I am today? I got here through an incubation process.

In other words, everything that has been destined for your life is incubating and awaiting a set time of manifestation. The problem is that most people live their entire lives idle and never initiate the incubation process.

What do I meany by that? Most people are living reckless and very few people are living intentionally. I am amazed at the number of people I have conversations with that have no vision, goals or strategies for their lives. They show great promise and they have undeniable potential.

However, without development they will die with their dreams still in them.

Everything that has been destined for your life must be incubated and converted to become realities born to time. 

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

You must give expression to that which is not yet born to time

When you think about a matrix or a prophetic incubation process, you have to understand that potential is often unrealized and untapped. In other words, your potential is in raw form and your potential cannot serve you as long as it is untapped.

The thing that makes me valuable is that I have the ability to convert potential into power. I have done it in my own life and I have empowered leaders around the world to do the same. How do you convert potential into power?

First, it is important to note that you have to perceive potential. If you cannot perceive your potential then you can never cultivate your potential. In addition, you must take the time to cultivate your potential. We often get excited about our capabilities; however, we never expand our capacity in order to realize our greatest potential.

In other words, the strength of your potential is only discovered through your willingness to stretch. The more we are challenged the more we are empowered to expand our capacity for greatness. Most of all, you must begin to express your potential. The expression of potential is different for every person.

For example, the expression of my potential is best demonstrated through the thoughts, ideas, products, services, books, etc.

For another person the expression of potential may look like a screenplay, artwork, sports, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, etc.

Regardless of the form of expression, I know that you will live empty and unfulfilled until you make the decision to express your potential. The expression of your potential gives voice to your dreams, life to your vision, significance to your moments and activates your true power.

You must manifest your greatness

As a revolutionary thinker and leader, my work has impacted people around the world. I am grateful that my life is a source of empowerment to so many people. However, before anyone could ever benefit from my life, I had to make a non-negotiable decision to become who I was born to be.

I wish I could tell you that this journey is easy and that you will get there overnight. However, in a world that celebrates us for doing we are often criticized for being. As a result, I wasted a lot of time trying to be who other people wanted me to be instead of being who I was born to be.

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity. It is through our bravery to be vulnerable that we ultimately manifest our greatness. We do not bless the world by being a duplicate. We bless the world when we honor our difference. When you honor your difference you honor your potential.

Ultimately, your difference is how you manifest your greatness.

When you present anything but your authentic self to the world, you are playing small and you are robbing the world of your significance. Manifesting your greatness requires you to master your gifts.

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