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10 Toxic Behaviors Found In Your Daily Life

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A leader of a prominent company reached out to us recently. He had been struggling at work and at home by not completing tasks on time, snapping at people for little things, and getting irritated even in situations he normally enjoyed. People were noticing and definitely letting him know there’s a change in his attitude. He made sure to exercise, eat well, get enough sleep, and even tried some guided meditation to help center himself. Nothing really seemed to be having an impact. After months of tolerating his behavior, his wife finally insisted he see his doctor. It took several weeks to rule out anything physical going on and to reach a final conclusion: stress. “Can’t be stress,” our client told us he responded. “I eat well, exercise everyday, make sure to get enough sleep. I don’t feel stressed. It’s gotta be something else.” His doctor made a deal with him, spend 30 days actively reducing his stress load and then come back for a follow up. And that’s when he met us.

After being an avid reader of our blogs, joining the SMaRT Club+ and devouring the information there, he decided a coaching session was in order. It was time to see what was truly underneath his stress. This is what was underneath driving his stress response. These 10 toxic behaviors are commonly unfolded during coaching sessions, especially  in those people who say they don’t feel stressed and believe they are actively warding it off with external coping methods (exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc).

  1. Victim attitude

A victim attitude keeps you stuck, believing there’s no choice, and seeing your life trajectory as irrevocable.  You see others as better than you and your power or influence to make change is limited.  This “I can’t” attitude limits out-of-the-box thinking to find creative solutions so your situation doesn’t change, even though you’ve “tried”.

  1. Black or white decisions

A black or white filter is created when your versatility to tap into other ways of thinking is low.  It taints your world view, the lens by which you interpret what you see, hear, and take in from every situation.   Often a single detail is focused on and all other elements, regardless of their validity and truth, are dismissed because they don’t fit through your lens and support your world view.  You become a prisoner in your life by your own way of thinking.

  1. Perfect or not at all

Perfectionism and stress seem to go hand-in-hand. Since people have been trained to do perfect work, they transfer that mentality into thinking they must be perfect people.  Chasing the idea of perfect, whether you measure it in margins, pounds, dollars, cars, or offices, is the permanent act of self-defeatism.

  1. Compare yourself to others

Comparing yourself to others is an easy way to feed your fear.  Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of being found out are all validated by looking at someone else that has more, done more, achieved more, or brags more. You measure what you have and what you don’t to that of others’ materialistic possessions. You make declarations of what you can do and what you can’t based on what they have and you don’t.  You stay safely in your comfort zone not having to take risks.

  1. Play the blame game

When you point the finger at external people and things as reasons for your lack of achievement or success, that’s playing the blame game.  The three common areas blamed are:  1) Environment: not enough equipment, old technology, living in a small town or a large city, it’s too hot/cold, too crowded; 2) People: Team members, patients, clients, spouse, in-laws, Republicans, Democrats, vendors, family, or colleagues; 3) Process/Systems: Front office doesn’t talk to back office, no consistency in tracking numbers, lack of job descriptions.  By playing this blame game you sabotage your solution choices by removing yourself out of each equation and focus on resolutions that take the responsibility off of your shoulders.

  1. Take things personally

Defending yourself to others is a reflection of your level of acceptance in who you are and how you do things.  It goes as a way to measure your level of self-confidence and esteem.  Taking things personally shows others your resistance to growth, change, and openness to new things.  Becoming defensive and shutting down the opportunity to hear how you show up in the world opens a door so others can witness your internal, running dialogue around what you tell yourself.

  1. Lack of self-control

The difference between reacting and responding is directly proportionate to your ability to have self-control.  Reacting is having the impulsivity and quick emotional burst to move through a situation without forethought, curiosity, or strategy.  Responding is the act of moving forward with intention, thoughtfulness, and knowledge while engaging others for productive resolutions.  Your outcomes, creativity, and problem solving are all impacted by how/when/if you react or respond.  Without self-control, there is only one way to be, reactionary.

  1. Being judgmental

Being judgmental is the act of going through your day categorizing people, things, and situations into boxes labeled good/bad, right/wrong, worthy/not worthy.  Using judgmental qualifiers limits the way you interpret and view the world around you.  It also keeps you thinking small and living smaller because of the series of litmus tests you instinctively put everything through.  The more you close off the less you experience and ultimately the more insignificant you live.

  1. Believing others’ truth

It’s easier to believe others’ truths than your own.  You avoid having to be curious, ask questions, or come to your own conclusions when you accept what other people say as truth.  Gossip, misunderstandings, miscommunication, bullying, and confrontation are all direct results of accepting others’ truth without the use of discernment.  This behavior is clearly  identifiable in youth; “Sally told me that Roger told her that McKenna said she doesn’t like me anymore!”  As adults the behavior is cloaked with maturity so there is more of a tendency to believe without question.

Tip: Remember the difference between Truth and truth? Refresh your memory!

  1. Going it alone

Avoiding collaboration with colleagues, team members, coaches, consultants, CPAs and other professional partners keeps you thinking small, so it keeps your work and life small and stress high. In reality, the journey of life is way too big to think you can do it all on your own and do it stress-free.

What toxic behaviors do you participate in that keep you stressed? Find out by scheduling a coaching session with us.

Key Takeaways

External, coping methods for stress management are great and highly effective if your stressors are external. When you have internal stressors also pressing on that fight-flight-freeze response cycle, they don’t work. You can be just as or more stressed with internal triggers because they are often overlooked and avoided.

The 10 toxic behaviors that commonly come out for our clients are:
1. Victim Attitude
2. Black and White Decision-Making
3. Perfect or Not at All
4. Compare Yourself to Others
5. Play the Blame Game
6. Take Things Personally
7. Lack of Self-Control
8. Being Judgmental
9. Believing Others truths
10. Going It Alone

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