In late 2015, I decided to do some consulting work as a side gig. A few weeks after deciding to go back into consulting, I immediately nabbed my first client, a serial entrepreneur, who needed help with promoting his company.
Well, it turned out that he was the client from hell. Rude, brash, condescending, racist and sexist, this guy could give our current administration’s president a run for his money.
As bad as it was, I stayed. I don’t know why I stayed, but I did. Seven painful months, I stayed.
Then, in January of 2016, I attended a dream board workshop with a friend. As we sat around creating our dream boards for the year, we started to talk about our lives, and some of the obstacles that we felt were holding us back from “achieving our greatness”.
In a moment of desperation, everything that I had about this one particular client began to spill out of me. I told them about how I had locked myself in the bathroom in tears over his sexual harassment, how he told me that there were certain ethnicities of people whom he would never work with, his troll-like behavior, his little evil smile – how the sight of him made me want to vomit….Eveerything just came pouring out. And, that was the easy part.
The hard part was their response.
I was reaching out to them for help, but they turned the tables on me. The women who were there, most of them, older (and wiser), gently informed me that if I wanted things to change, I would have to speak up to him about how I felt, and do so without emotion. They told me to state the facts, and then either resign, or allow him to react accordingly, and to be prepared for whatever his reaction would be.
Well, I would love to say that I did speak up. I gave him a piece of my mind. I sat him down and told him what the deal was.
Instead, I walked away.
Now, I am in a similar situation, but this one is happening at home. Armed with the knowledge of the women at the dream board party, I am prepared, this time, to speak my mind.
Because, I have realized that if you don’t directly address your problems, they may go away, temporarily, but they will ALWAYS come back. Sometimes, they’ll come through different people or different situations. And, other times, it’ll be with the same people. However, one thing is for sure.
They WILL come back.
Why? Because your problems are there to teach you something. You are supposed to learn from them. Some of us have the same problems over and over, especially when it comes to speaking up for ourselves, or, speaking our truths.
Understand that everyone in your life is an actor in your movie. They are playing a role. Remember the old saying, “life’s a test?”. No, Life is a MOVIE. It’s only going to play one time, and there is one thing that is for certain – if you DO NOT use your voice and speak up and out about the situations that affect you, you can only hurt yourself.
You don’t get to advance. You don’t get to move forward. You don’t get to grow in that area of your life. You get to keep getting the same lessons over and over again until your “a-ha!” moment comes. OR, until you’ve just had enough and blow your top.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The easiest way to get rid of your people problems is to get vocal – to the person who is causing the problem. But, first, ask, “What am I supposed to learn from this situation?”
Remember, everything that happens in our lives provides a chance for us to learn and to grow. We get stronger every day, but we are the ones that have to exercise that muscle.