4 monumental challenges affecting children of working mothers

working mothers

Maintaining a full-time career while raising children is no easy task for parents. It is especially difficult for working mothers who have to endure judgement from society and hostility at the office.

This is the third article in a series on working mums. Here are the other articles in the series:
1. Is it possible for working mums to have work-life balance?
2. Top 5 challenges working mums face and how to overcome them.

While more men are becoming increasingly supportive in the home, women are still expected to be the main caregivers. So when a mother chooses to raise her kids along a full-time career, a lot is put in question.

For instance, when a child falls ill, is abused or a similar problem arises, the mum is blamed for not being home for the child. Rarely is the father blamed.

“If only she had been home looking after her child, this would not have happened.”  You will hear some say in hushed tones. Some stay-at-home mums will be quick to comment and say things like: “Why do mothers leave their babies alone with nannies? I could never be that mean to my little angel.”

A study conducted in 25 countries shows that working mothers raise more successful daughters than stay-at-home mothers. Daughters of working mothers are better educated, higher paid and more likely to be employed in supervisory roles.

In contrast, it’s worth noting that a woman choosing to stop working to raise her children doesn’t necessarily guarantee better child development.

But, even as the advantages of having a working mother increase with every generation, disadvantages are not exempt.

In this article, we share 4 challenges that children of working mothers face. We also share what can be done to avert or recover from these challenges.

Challenges affecting children of working mothers

1. Poor early childhood development

The first years of a child are the most crucial. Brain development is usually at its peak during this time. Throughout these years, high-quality support is highly recommended and lack of it could mean harmful effects on a child.

For this reason, working mothers need to hire nannies who are up to the challenge. The same is true for day-care centres. Unfortunately, what we sometimes perceive to be of high quality is not always the case.

You may hire someone you think is the perfect nanny only to regret later. For instance, working mums who have hired very quiet nannies notice a change in their bubbly kids. They tend to become more withdrawn and start talking later than their age-mates.

Solution

To counter this, working mothers can keep a daily record of their child’s progress to notice any changes as soon as they occur.

2. Higher chances of kids associating with bad company

If you are a working mum who travels a lot and is absent from your children’s lives, chances of your kids falling into the bad company are very high.

Every day of a child’s life is a story to tell. Children want to talk to their parents about that bully in class, the boy being inappropriate, the stranger who is always offering them candy, and the cute boy or girl they like. When they get older, the list of things to talk about is endless.

So when they can’t speak to you about these life changing moments, they turn to the next best person. Unfortunately, the next person can be anyone, increasing the chances of your child making friends with the wrong crowd.

Solution

To avoid this, you can assure your child that you’re always there to listen. While it might be draining to listen to your child go on about their day when you are extremely tired, this effort will pay off in the end. Even when on a trip, allow them to talk to you over the phone or have a video chat about their day.

3. Disconnect between mother and child

This is a disadvantage linked to number 2 above. As one of the working mothers in Kenya, you probably try very hard to make it to your kid’s events. But sometimes, there are circumstances that may lead you into a series of absences.

While your absence may have been unplanned, a child may feel like their working mum does not care. This situation gets worse when their friends’ mums are always showing up and you’re not.

Solution

To avoid disconnect, you can always reassure your kids by taking time from your busy schedule to surprise them with family time. You don’t always have to wait for the next sports day, home project, or Sunday lunches to connect with your children.

4. High risk of falling into depression

The constant absence of a mum in their children’s lives can lead to depression. This is especially so when the child believes that their mum would rather work than spend time with them.

Through the celebrations of World Health Day earlier this year, we learnt that Kenya is the 6th most depressed country in Africa. It also emerged that depression affects more children between ages 5 and 15 years today than it did a decade ago.

With such statistics, we cannot afford to assume that a child who is sad, angry, irritable, withdrawn or sleeping too much is normal.

Also, we can’t ignore the constant stories we see in the media about children who have harmed others or committed suicide.

Solution

If you pick up these signs in your children for a prolonged period, say more than two weeks, it could be they are depressed. Talk to them and convince them to open up.

When they do open up, avoid downplaying their feelings. It could make the situation worse, leading to suicidal thoughts or other equally destructive actions.

Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional counsellor or therapist if you feel that your child is depressed or having challenges coping with life.

Conclusion

If you are a working mother, feel confident about your decision to be a career mum. Love what you do and do it to the best of your ability. But even so, remember to mind the effect your significant absence will have on your children.

Whatever a child believes in their early stages of life will mostly become part of their life as they move into adulthood. Keep this in mind as a mother and help your children build positive character traits.

Your turn…

Is there a crucial disadvantage we’ve left out? Let us know in the Comments.

Selipha Kihagi is a content writer, freelance writer and digital marketer living in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her days creating blog posts and articles for the purpose of informing, entertaining, educating and inspiring action. She believes that the written word is an important tool towards effecting change in the world. If you share this belief, find her on LinkedIn for a personal interaction.
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Top 5 challenges working mums face and how to overcome them

working mums

In the previous article, we explored whether you can have it all as a working mum. In this article, we’ll be looking at common challenges working mums face and the solutions to each.

This is the second article in a series on working mums. Here are the other articles in the series:
Is it possible for working mums to have work-life balance?

As the fight for equal rights for women in the workplace continues around the world, working mums remain the most affected lot. You face the daily pressure of raising children, taking care of the home, and becoming a high performer at work.

Due to these responsibilities, working mums end up being discriminated during promotions, awarding tenders, higher salaries and new career opportunities. Basically, being a mother becomes an unnecessary professional risk.

And according to a recent international study on working mothers, only 12% of people believe that mothers should work full-time. The rest think that mothers should work part-time or not work at all.

This issue of public opinion and judgement is just one among the many challenges working mums have to deal with.

Related Article: How to Create Time for Yourself 

5 challenges working mums face and what to do

1. Work-life balance

One of the biggest challenges among people in the workforce today is achieving a balance between work and life. You want to be your best at work and still have time for yourself and your family.

As you are one person, being at work and showing up for your family becomes impossible. You have to pick a side now and then, a decision that will always disappoint one party.

Because you love your job and don’t want to lose it, the family tends to take more hits. You miss your child’s sports day for a work trip. A birthday is forgotten due to a demanding project. Family time is reduced to a few hours spread throughout the week.

Solutions

  • While 100% work-life balance is not possible to achieve, you can have some control when you focus on the most important aspects of your life. For example, you can consider quality over quantity when deciding which event to attend or miss.
  • If your absence will cause a negative ripple effect in your family, make it a must to attend the event or spend time with your family. And please don’t try to follow other people’s rules when making choices. What is important will always vary from one person to another.
  • When you do evaluate your priorities, you’ll be surprised to find that not all work-related meetings or projects need you. Sometimes all you need is to delegate some tasks or roles. Other times, you may find that you’ve taken up other people’s slack at the expense of your family.

Related Article: 5 Steps to Get Unstuck and Live Your Dream Life

2. Going back to work after having a baby

This is another nightmare for many working mums. With only 3 months of maternity leave provided for by the government, you have to rely on the goodness of your boss for an extended leave. And, if you love your job and are not used to being away, you’ll constantly be stressing over work.

No matter your greatest worry – whether work or baby – the reality is the same: going back to work after having a baby will not be the same.

You will be judged for leaving your baby with the nanny. You’ll be overlooked for big projects. Many people will expect you to fail at doing your job. Others will expect you to fail at being a mum. Sadly, the pressure to excel will be twice as much in many cases.

Solutions

  • To get through this period unscathed, focus more on your mental health now than ever before. Understand that it’s natural to worry about your baby. Learn to ignore judgemental looks and comments in the office and be OK with the frustration that comes with having to express milk when you go back to work.
  • At all times, allow yourself to go through the emotions that go with being a new mum who is not with her baby full-time. Don’t let people’s negative comments or ideas get the best of you.
  • Get support within and outside the workplace. Talk to other working mothers about their experience, join groups that allow you to vent, and read every material you can about surviving the getting back to work period.

Related Article: How to Handle Difficult People and Reduce Stress

3. High expectations to be superwoman

As a working mum, some people will expect you to be superwoman. Because you are already judged for choosing work over raising your kids full-time, tending to your child is no longer an excuse. And yet, sometimes you can’t avoid it.

After some time, your boss will expect you to take random business trips like you did before getting your baby. Your lunch hours will shift back to normal like everyone else, even though you need to breastfeed, express milk and run to your child’s school. Some of your clients will not understand that a child’s emergency or event takes precedence over the client’s work.

If you have a partner who expects you to take care of him, the family, and your job the same way that you did before, then you’re in trouble.

Solutions

  • See high expectations for what they are – high expectations (or demands) and not reality. Don’t beat yourself up for needing time to manage these expectations or demands. And, if you need more time with your child, consider negotiating flexible working hours.
  • You can also ask for telecommuting if this option works for your type of work. Other mothers in your workplace will thank you for this! This is also a good option if your child is sick and needs your attention for a longer period. You can negotiate a better working arrangement or find a better employment opportunity that provides flexibility for mums.
  • Your personal relationship has a huge effect on your personal and career performance. Negotiate with your partner so that he takes up some roles or relaxes his expectations.

Related Article: How to Get What You Want in Your Relationship

4. Feeling guilty and constant overwhelm

Guilt is a constant for working mums. You feel that you are not giving your best at work, that you are not being a good mum, or that your child will grow to love the nanny more than you. This guilt becomes worse when your extended family parents or in-laws think you work too much or neglect your child(ren).

There is also the constant overwhelm and tiredness. This comes about when you try to do everything yourself. You drop your kids at school, work all day, cook dinner, iron yours and your spouse’s clothes, help your children with homework, and clean your bedroom and bathroom on weekends.

Remember that you’re not superwoman and being a supermama will not get you any accolades and rewards. It’s time to slow down, delegate, or drop some tasks.

Solutions

  • To overcome this, understand that you are not perfect and that your children will love you no matter what. It’s OK if you miss a few events or come home late a few times.
  • It’s also okay to ask for help with house chores so you can create more time for family bonding. Hire someone to take care of housework. Also, consider adding an extra househelp if you can afford it so that your regular one doesn’t burn out.
  • Take time for your own self-care. This is a must and not an option, even if it means 10 minutes of ‘me-time’ when you at lunch time or when you get home.

Related Article: 5 Reasons Why You are Overworked and Overwhelmed

5. Constant reminders of your duties as a mum

You will be in your office and a colleague or client will start a conversation about your kids. If you recently had a baby, this is likely to affect you and you may get tempted to brush over it.

Also, if you missed an event in your child’s life to complete a strenuous project, this innocent (or not so innocent) inquiry about your kids may hurt you.

Other times, you may be the one that slacked off on work because of family related demands or crises. It’s not easy knowing that you are the one holding back your team, even though you’re trying hard to catch up with everyone.

It’s also not easy if you work in a high-stress or male-dominated profession or office. In some cases, your colleagues may end up sidelining you when they think that you can’t handle the work.

Working mums deal with this constant reminder every single day. Learn to be okay with all your decisions and choices and make no apologies about this.

Solutions

  • When people talk about your children directly, acknowledge it and say something nice in return. Remember that this is not the time to pull out photos of your baby and manipulate the conversation!
  • You may feel guilty when you aren’t able to keep up with your colleagues. Acknowledge it if you are the one holding back a project and ask your colleagues for help. If you’ve made a habit of helping others when you’re able to, you will find them wanting to help you back.
  • Being a mum is no reason to stop your career growth. Work on your professional goals within the time you have. If this is not possible, then get back on track when your children are older and you have more time for work.
  • BONUS TIP: If you’re planning to have a baby in the near future, start helping out other mums in your organization without taking on too much of their work. These mums will be of great help when it’s your turn.

Related Article: How to Achieve Your Goals Effectively With 90-Day Goal Setting

Conclusion

As a working mum, you will face a lot of barriers in your life and career. You will be judged by both men and women. Men will not understand your struggles. Some women, especially single and older women who sacrificed family time for their careers will hold a different opinion to yours. You must be stronger than your challenges if you want to succeed.

What have been your biggest challenges as a working mum and how did you overcome them? Share your experience and tips in the Comments.

Selipha Kihagi is a content writer, freelance writer and digital marketer living in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her days creating blog posts and articles for the purpose of informing, entertaining, educating and inspiring action. She believes that the written word is an important tool towards effecting change in the world. If you share this belief, find her on LinkedIn for a personal interaction.
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How to use affirmations to accomplish your life goals

Do you use affirmations in your day-to-day life? Do you believe that affirmations can help you achieve your goals? Or that affirmations contribute largely to your personal development?

If you do, you already know the power that affirmations can wield in your life journey. You also know how effective affirmations can be in accomplishing goals.

And if not, we hope this article will convince you to use affirmations in your daily life.

Why use affirmations?

Affirmations are positive statements or phrases that you say out loud repetitively and believe to be true.

They help to restructure your thought process by weeding out any negativity or lack of belief in oneself. The more you verbalise affirmations, the more you believe in them and consecutively achieve your desired goal.

Use of affirmations is a self-improvement technique that’s backed by science and has been proven to work on confidence, self-control, and problem-solving abilities. 

Use of affirmations has been proven to work on confidence, self-control, and problem-solving abilities. Click To Tweet

According to a study on chronically insecure people, when people who strongly fear rejection use affirmations for 15 minutes, they become more confident up to 8 weeks later.

In another research on self-affirmation and self-control, it emerged that the use of affirmations shapes the way humans interpret the world around them, thereby improving their self-control.

According to the study, affirmations work by helping you to interpret changes in your life, approach difficult situations and tackle barriers in your life journey.

So, if you want to achieve a certain goal but your weaknesses are holding you back, a daily dose of self-affirmations should do the trick.

For instance, let’s say you want to start a business. You have the idea, a well-laid out plan, and resources. However, you’re afraid of getting started. You also fear that you’re not cut out for business, that your idea is not good enough, or that people will reject it.

You can use affirmations to get rid of your fears and take the step towards realising your dreams.

How do you do that? Below is a short guide on how to use affirmations.

Related Article: Do You Have to Quit Your Job to Start a Business?

How to use affirmations to accomplish your life goals

Whether your goal is to start a business, get a promotion at work, improve your self-confidence, reduce social anxiety, or develop a personal relationship with God, affirmations work for everyone.

But before we talk about how to use affirmations, there are three rules you need to adhere to for the technique to work. Without these three rules, you can’t make progress.

First, you must verbalise each affirmation repetitively.

Second, you must believe every affirmation you say out loud. 

Finally, your affirmations must be stated positively and talk of what you want.

Without further ado, here is how to effectively use affirmations.

1. Identify what you want to achieve

To get started, think about your goals and write them down in terms of priority. This will make your affirmations more practical. You want a scenario where your affirmations actually work, not overwhelm you.

Once you have your goals in writing, prioritised and ready to go, make sure you have broken down each goal into something readily achievable.

For instance, let’s say your goal is “to achieve a positive lifestyle”. If you are constantly negative, this could take a lot of time to fully attain. 

You could then break down the goal into something you can achieve in the next four days or a week’s time, e.g. “I have a peaceful, joyful and more positive week.”

When repeated week after week, such a goal becomes a habit and leads you to a negativity-free life, accomplishing your major goal.

To easily identify what you want to achieve, focus on your negative attributes and weaknesses. Are you confident enough? Is there a trait you’d like to get rid of? What negative feedback have you gotten from your friends?

Conduct a self-evaluation test on yourself and write down all negative traits that keep you from succeeding. And then create goals that address these traits.

Related Article: How to Achieve Your Goals Effectively with 90 Day Goal Setting

2. Write down your affirmations

Using the goals you came up with in step one above, formulate your affirmations for each goal and write them down.

Putting down your affirmations on paper makes it easy for you to visualise what you are committing to do. It also helps you when you are feeling down and need to reaffirm yourself that all will be well.

Everything you write should be positive and in present tense, as if you have already achieved it. Use words such as “I am” and “I have” to begin your statements.  

For instance, let’s say your goal is “to achieve a personal relationship with God.” Some affirmations you can come up with include:

  • “I have a personal relationship with God.”
  • “God is my friend and companion.”
  • “I talk to God for one hour every day.
  • “I commit 10 minutes in the morning, lunch hour and at night to read the Bible.”

Avoid using statements like “I can” or “I willwhen creating affirmations because they don’t commit you to a specific thing or action.

Here’s another example. If, for instance you’re bad at saving money, you can set a goal to become better at saving and use an affirmation such as “I save XXXX/- every month and love seeing my savings accumulate” can help.

At first glance, affirmations may sound weird and untrue, but the more you say them out loud and believe, the better you will be at actualizing them.

The list of affirmations is endless as they are unique to each individual. An affirmation that works for another person will not necessarily work for you. Ensure that your affirmations are true to you and address your needs.

Related Article: 3 Personal Development Skills that Will Make You Unstoppable

3. Start using the affirmations

Once your affirmations feel right, it’s time to implement them.

To start with, make sure the affirmations are readily available. You don’t want a situation where you need a confidence boost and can’t find them.

Write the affirmations in your diary, on sticky notes at your desk, fridge, computer or car and on cards that you carry with you everywhere. If you are outdoors a lot, they should be in your wallet, purse, handbag,or pocket.

Use affirmations when you wake up, several times during the day, and just before you go to sleep. You can also incorporate them into your meditation practice. 

Keep in mind that, affirmations are more powerful when spoken out loud. This means that saying them to yourself internally is not as effective as speaking them out.

Do this every day and you will begin to see changes in your thoughts, feelings, attitude and behaviour.

Use affirmations when you wake up, several times during the day, and just before you go to sleep Click To Tweet

4. Enjoy the fruits of your labour

At first, you may not notice any progress. In fact, you’ll probably feel like fake, discouraged and even weird when you write and say your affirmations.

But when you complete the three steps above successfully, you should be able to see results over time.

You’ll become a more positive person, react to difficulties differently, and feel constantly motivated to achieve your goals.

Also, you will become more aware of negative traits you may not have known you had. When this happens, use your affirmations to reverse the negativity. 

Useful Resource: The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to
Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
 

Conclusion

Affirmations are great tools when you want to become a better person and achieve your life goals. When you write your affirmations by hand and repeat them daily, you’ll be able to accomplish any goal you’re working on.

Challenge yourself to use affirmations each month. Identify one weakness or negative trait you’d like to get rid of and create affirmations around it. Let this month become an experiment for you.

What affirmations have worked for you? Share your experience in the Comments and motivate others.

 (Image Credit: markamoment on Flickr)

Selipha Kihagi is a content writer, freelance writer and digital marketer living in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her days creating blog posts and articles for the purpose of informing, entertaining, educating and inspiring action. She believes that the written word is an important tool towards effecting change in the world. If you share this belief, find her on LinkedIn for a personal interaction.

 

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How to handle difficult people and reduce stress

difficult people

You cannot avoid difficult people. At the workplace, in your business and even at home, there is that person or people who you wish didn’t exist in your life. Difficult people take away your peace, bring negativity into your life, and interfere with your daily performance.

You hold a barbecue on a Sunday afternoon, and your mother-in-law or sister is criticizing your salad. You’re trying really hard to make a point in a work meeting and one of your managers is shooting it down like he or she always does.

Or maybe you are in the middle of a meeting with a well-paying client, and he’s inappropriately touchy. It makes you want to storm out!

Handling difficult people is not easy. But if you want to get promoted at work, succeed in your business or maintain a happy family, you need to know how to get past them. The first step towards achieving this is singling them out of your life.

Related Article: Personal Development Skill #3: Take Control of Your Life

Common Characteristics of Difficult People

It’s very easy to form judgement about someone in a crowd. When someone approaches you and sparks a conversation, it’s easy to tell if you are likely to get along with them or not. Science has proven that it takes most humans a tenth of a second to make judgement on someone based on their facial expressions.

Unfortunately, this first judgement can be true or false. The way people seem at first impression is not necessarily true of their real characters. Here are characteristics to look out for in order to identify potentially difficult people.

They tend to be know-it-alls

If you have experienced someone who tends to know everything and anything about life, you have met a know-it-all.

This person believes they’re better than everyone else. They behave as if they’re sorry for the people around them and try to make everyone around them become like them. They are unbearable.

It’s hard for you to have an honest conversation around such people. Getting honest feedback is also a nightmare. According to them, they are the best in the game and no one can match up, even when they are plain wrong.

They’re quick to judge, criticize and complain

Another characteristic of difficult people is that they tend to complain, judge and criticize others. They find fault in everything you do, criticize your opinions when handling delicate matters, and challenge every move you make.

According to them, nothing you plan to do is sensible. Worst of all is that they don’t propose alternatives. Their work is to shoot down your opinions, views, ideas, and suggestions.

Related Article: Is Your Relationship Holding You Back from Success?

They’re bossy

You’ve probably experienced this difficult person more at least once in your life. You give your suggestions in detail, and then they say “No”. When you ask them why they said no, they say “I just don’t think it’s a good idea. Come up with something else and let’s see how it goes.”

The problem with this type of person is that they don’t care whether your idea is right or wrong. They shoot everything down in order to feel powerful every time they say NO.

Bossy people also like their ideas more than anyone else’s and they don’t care how fruitful or harmful their ideas are.

They can be pushovers

Some difficult people don’t have to be negative at all. Some are simply pushovers.

They agree with you, tell you how good your idea is it is and that you should go ahead to implement it. However, they disappear when reality hits. They can also turn around and take a popular opinion that’s opposite of what they had agreed with you.

Due to their need to be liked, they will agree with everything you say and never tell you what they really feel or think.

Pushovers will ruin your life in unexpected ways. They will ruin your new business, slow down efforts to complete a project at work, or destroy your plans to mend fences with other people.

They’re hostile for no reason

This is the most common characteristic of difficult people. They are hostile all the time and you can’t tell why they are that way or what you did to make them hostile towards you. According to them, frustrating you with insults, getting violent and succumbing to anger is the greatest motivator in their lives.

These are a few of the characteristics that difficult people at work, at home and in business possess. There are more others, but these seem common among most scenarios. Difficult people can cause increased stress in your life, depression in your marriage and lack of progress in your career.

Related Article: 10 Habits that Keep You Frustrated, Overwhelmed and Unfulfilled

How to Handle Difficult People and Reduce Stress

Unlike negative people, you cannot decide to avoid difficult people permanently. They are available at your workplace in form of co-workers and bosses.

They are in your home as children, spouses, in-laws, siblings or parents. You also find them in your business disguised as employees, suppliers or high-paying clients.

Luckily, you can learn how to handle them and avoid increased stress in your life. Here are 5 ways you can reduce stress that’s brought about by difficult people.

1. Examine yourself

Sometimes, it pays to evaluate who the difficult person is. This is because you may find that the difficult person has been you all along. This is not strange and neither is it something new you have to get accustomed to.

So, ask yourself, “Who is the difficult person in my life?” Is it you, your co-workers, boss, family member, friend or your business connections?

By figuring out the difficult party in your life, you can effectively learn how to deal with future difficulties in your life. If you are the difficult person, then invest in your personal development so that you become more positive.

2. Don’t join them

Assuming you are not the difficult person in your life, it’s time to focus on the people around you. Unfortunately, just like negativity is contagious, so are difficult people.

If you hang around a difficult person for a long time, you too can start picking up their negative character traits. It is for this reason that you must keep your guard up when it comes to dealing with difficult people.

If your parent(s), sibling(s), in-laws, husband, your boss, co-worker or favourite client is the difficult person in your life, make sure you do not absorb their traits.

Understand them as they are, keep your distance, and don’t allow yourself to take up their bad characteristics. This is not easy when the person is your spouse, but you have to find a way to reduce their toxicity.

Related Article: 8 Toxic Relationships that You Need to Detox From

3. Refrain from agreeing with them

When dealing with a difficult or negative person, it can be easy to agree with their sentiments.

For instance, let’s say you are in a new workplace and the colleague you’ve been assigned to work with is always negative about the boss.

Because you are new and don’t want to rub a new colleague the wrong way, you find yourself agreeing with what is being said. You also find yourself siding with them in times of conflict with other colleagues, despite your better judgement.

This is also true when you join a new family and the grapevine is to warn to you stay away from a member of that family for one reason or another.

In business you see the same scenario when you are looking for potential clients, and other “trustworthy” people in your industry already have an opinion towards one particular prospect or connection.

While it’s acceptable to borrow other’s opinions or to conduct your research on people before actually getting into a business deal, you need to be careful who you choose to follow. You may take advice blindly from a difficult person whose job is to cause chaos.

To avoid this, examine the characteristics of the people you meet, decide if they are the difficult kind and refrain from agreeing with their statements. By demonstrating that you don’t blindly agree with what is said, you can establish a strong boundary that’s not easily broken. This boundary will give you peace of mind.

Unfortunately, just like negativity is contagious, so are difficult people. Click To Tweet

4. Offer solutions to their problems

Based on the characteristics of difficult people we mentioned above, you will find that most difficult people are plagued by two major things: being highly critical and knowing everything. They hardly offer solutions but are quick to point out the problems and negative outcomes of an idea.

When dealing with a difficult person, learn how to shut them down. For instance, a know-it-all will either be genuinely smart about a topic or pretend to know what the outcome will be.

To counter any negativity or verbal attack during a work meeting, family gathering or business meeting, make sure you have done your research and have all the facts.

This will give you an upper hand whenever someone tries to put down your idea or undermines your suggestion.

5. If all else fails, ignore them or play dumb

Sometimes, playing dumb can be all the solution that you need to deal with difficult people. Because you cannot win in a verbal exchange with a hostile person, or in an argument with one (e.g. in-laws who get dramatic and drag your spouse into the argument), ignoring them can be a big win.

O.A. Battista’s quote, “There are times when silence is the best way to yell at the top of your voice” is especially true when trying to deal with difficult people. Instead of engaging these people in a brawl (they would love this) give them the silent treatment and pretend whatever they say or do doesn’t get to you.

If their actions are really hurtful, you can talk to someone later who will help you escape the frustration and pain of it all. This works well if you execute it immediately after a difficult situation.

Related Article: In-laws or Outlaws?

Conclusion

Difficult people are a normal part of our lives. They are with us every day and in all major events of our lives.

You can try to avoid them like you would negative people, but in the journey towards success, it is inevitable that you’ll have to deal with them. They factor in during decision-making and when you’re working on getting what you want in your life, career or business.

For these reasons, it is important that you master how to deal with difficult people. By doing so, you don’t have to worry about them stressing your life or causing you pain in your daily activities.

“There are times when silence is the best way to yell at the top of your voice.” O.A. Battista Click To Tweet

Are you stressing over the difficult people in your life?

As you may have discovered already, difficult people are here to stay. You can choose to let them continue stressing your life or decide to learn how to handle them. If you decide to learn how to deal with them, the simple tips highlighted above can help.

Also, you can enrol in a program that guarantees you a stress-free life by learning how to cope with various difficulties in your life.

Over to you…

Do you have other strategies for handling difficult people? Please share what has worked for you in the Comments below.

(Image Credit: Sira Anamwong at Free Digital Photos)

Selipha Kihagi is a content writer, freelance writer and digital marketer living in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her days creating blog posts and articles for the purpose of informing, entertaining, educating and inspiring action. She believes that the written word is an important tool towards effecting change in the world. If you share this belief, find her on LinkedIn for a personal interaction.

 

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Is your relationship holding you back from success?

your relationship

Let’s face it; success is not an overnight occurrence.

You don’t go to bed hoping you’ll succeed and wake up the next day having achieved it. Certain factors are required to work together over a period of time to achieve success.

Factors required include having the right mindset, goal setting capabilities, hard work, resilience, and dedication, among others.

Additionally, you have to surround yourself with the right people. These are people who are quick to offer support, motivation and push you to do better.

This is where your relationship comes in. Your husband, boyfriend or that friend you’ve been spending most of your time with plays a big role in your success journey.

In fact, research has shown that your spouse’s personality influences your daily motivation, output, decisions and the extent to which you can dream.

Today, let’s take a deeper look at your relationship. Using fresh eyes, evaluate whether your relationship is holding you back from success. And then plan to take action.

Here are 4 signs to look out for during the self-evaluation.

Signs that Your Relationship is Holding You Back from Success

1. You don’t get congratulated as often as you should

You know that wonderful feeling when someone you love congratulates you for good work done? Or when you overcome a barrier that could have cost you your new business? Or that feeling when you get home, share the news about your promotion and your husband says, “Congratulations! Let’s go out and celebrate”?

Being congratulated is a powerful feeling. It means much more to you when your spouse or romantic partner congratulates you than when your boss, business partner or clients do it.

You feel appreciated, loved and empowered to keep going until you reach your dreams. Nothing can stop you when your relationship offers you this kind of support.

The opposite is true when your partner does not appreciate your efforts, celebrate your wins or encourage you to become the best version of yourself.

You tend to feel lost, drained and constantly frustrated. Your mind is filled with thoughts of why they don’t appreciate you. This has the potential to bring down your motivation and hold you back from succeeding.

Related Article: 10 Nasty Habits that Keep You Frustrated, Overwhelmed and Unfulfilled

2. You hardly ever discuss your goals

When was the last time you shared your business goals, work goals or life goals with your spouse or partner? When was a time you sat down and discussed your career or business goals in depth? And when you did, what reception did you get?

For many of you, I believe your answers lead towards “I can’t remember the last time”, or “Almost never”.

Many women around the world, and especially in Africa, are afraid to discuss their goals with their husbands and boyfriends because they are afraid of how it will be received. You do this, not because you do not know your spouse, but because you already expect a negative outcome.

This is not entirely your fault. From birth, women are generally conditioned to believe that a man’s career is more important than the woman’s. The kitchen and taking care of kids is a woman’s job and men are supposed to work and provide.

Not many people talk to you about being a career woman or successful business woman. These are things you discover for yourself as you acquire knowledge and meet like-minded people.

It is for this reason that, as a woman, you find it hard to discuss goals in your relationship. You worry that your husband might ask questions like:

  • “Who will take care of the children when you take on more responsibilities at work?”
  • “Who will make dinner when you are out late for a business or work meeting?”
  • Or the classic, “Why do you need to earn more money when I provide enough for you and the kids?”

And yet, you are capable of succeeding to greater heights when your partner is supportive of your goals.

If you’re afraid of sharing your goals, start today and see how it all pans out. If you have discussed your goals with your partner and he did not support your vision, know you are a victim of your relationship holding you back and learn how to break free and succeed anyway.

3. Your ideas and suggestions are constantly met by negativity

Similar to discussing goals with your partner, negative reception to your ideas can be a great barrier for your success at work, in business or even as a partner. It’s hard to reach your maximum potential when your relationship is a ball of negativity.

This is because, whether you realize it or not, constant rejection of your ideas and suggestions affects your confidence, mental well-being, self-esteem and general outlook on life.

You might not notice it at first. However, if you look closely, you’ll find that you tend to lack confidence in your ideas and make a lot of decisions based on what other people say. These two habits directly affect your chances of success.

For instance, let’s say you work as a Key Accounts Manager and had an idea on how to close your next big client. Because you know this would be a big milestone for you (probably meaning more commissions or a promotion), the first thing you do is talk about it with your partner.

Unfortunately, your partner is not as enthusiastic of your idea as you are. He smirks at your idea and outlines all the possible ways the idea could go wrong. You don’t get a single positive thought.

Nor does he encourage you to mention it to your boss, or propose a different angle. He just hates it or thinks it’s stupid and doesn’t shy away from telling you exactly that.

The result is that you probably also end up hating your idea and don’t mention it at your next meeting. You also slowly start losing trust in your future suggestions, and never going after your BIG goals and dreams.

And just like that, success becomes something you see in other people and constantly dream about.

Related Article: How to Get What You Want in Your Relationship

4. You find it more peaceful to keep your achievements a secret

Achieving optimal success is difficult if you are that woman who keeps her achievements a secret from your partner. The secret could be a land you purchased, an investment you made, a business idea you’re working on, or a recent promotion.

Some women do this as a way of life. But there’s a large number who do it because life is better (and more peaceful) that way. If this is you, there will always be something holding you back.

Think about it…for how long can you keep your achievements or investments a secret from your partner?

You’ll probably attend a friend’s birthday party with your partner and someone will congratulate you on that promotion at work.

Or…imagine running into the property lawyer you worked with when purchasing land and she or he asks, “How is that land taking you? Did you already start building on it?” In that moment, nothing will save you from having to explain to your partner what’s going on.

This leads to a more strained relationship. More achievements kept a secret. This adds more barriers in your journey towards success because you cannot freely follow your dreams.

Achievements are meant to be celebrated, not kept a secret. If your relationship makes you want to keep them a secret, that’s a sign that it’s holding you back from achieving true success.

Achievements are meant to be celebrated, not kept a secret. Click To Tweet

Conclusion

I’m sure these signs are not new to you. You’ve probably lived through one or all of them at one time in your life. Or maybe you’re currently living them and have accepted this as a normal way of living.

According to you, “Ni kawaida” and “There is nothing I can do”. Well, you are wrong about these two things.

First, you can be in a relationship where your partner shares in your goals, supports what you do and is your number one motivator. So no, it is not “kawaida”. Your relationship should push you towards success, not hold you back from it.

Second, it is not true that there is nothing you can do about your relationship holding you back from success. In today’s world, there is always something that can be done to achieve fulfillment. You only need to want it and go for it.

For instance, you and your partner can participate in programs that can help your spouse become more supportive. As an individual, you can gain confidence by enrolling in a personal development program.

It all begins with a decision to try to use tactics that have been proven to work.

Are you tired of living your life on other people’s terms?

Turning your life around is possible using the information in this article. But did you know that you can make it easier with our personal development programs? Attending a professional program will not only help you change your current life, it will also make you execute decisions that you’ve avoided and act on your BIG goals.

Sign up for the next Live Your Life coaching program.

Selipha Kihagi is a content writer, freelance writer and digital marketer living in Nairobi, Kenya. She spends her days creating blog posts and articles for the purpose of informing, entertaining, educating and inspiring action. She believes that the written word is an important tool towards effecting change in the world. If you share this belief, find her on LinkedIn for a personal interaction.

 

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