Harnessing Negative Energy
4 Strategies To Turn nay-sayers into fuel tanks.
By Leah Goldstein with Lori Friend Moger, M.Sc.
No matter your arena of competition, whether business or sport, chances are you’ll eventually run up against a powerfully negative person. And it seems the grander your ideas, the more shaking heads you encounter. We’ve all seen it before – the dreamers get eye-rolls and raised eyebrows when they share their ambitious plans, even before they’ve gotten started. Why? I’ve never understood these people – it baffles me. Perhaps they’re jealous. Maybe it’s just a habit. Or maybe their comfort zone has gotten so comfy, that anyone playing outside the box seems reckless.
Regardless of their motives, I’ve adapted several strategies over the years on how to combat the nay-sayers:
- Store it. I’ve had many people lob their “impossible” “ridiculous” “crazy” mantras toward me, but instead of absorbing their words into my consciousness – I save them. At a professional bike race in Pennsylvania, I overheard a director telling his team, “Don’t worry about Goldstein for this stage; she can’t climb worth a crap.” His words stung, especially because they were true. But I kept his voice in my head for the next few years as I transformed myself into one of the best climbers on the continent.
- Ignore it. No one’s voice should be louder than your own. I survived a horrific crash in 2005, only to have doctors, teammates and coaches pat my head and say, “There are other things besides bike racing. Maybe you could swim?” I still go red in the face thinking about my struggle to fight past all the pity. I understood people were genuinely afraid for my health, but I knew I wasn’t finished competing. I rehabbed myself, got back on my bike and completed the most successful year of my career.
- Deny it. My first day in the Israeli Police, I entered the office of my new commander and stood at attention. He said, “Before we get started, why don’t you go make me a cup of coffee?” I was stunned. Being one of the few female officers in the base, I expected some issues to arise, but not on my first day. My commander could make my life very difficult, even delaying possible promotions, so appeasing him would’ve been the safe choice. But I just couldn’t. If I made him coffee, what then? Dry cleaning? Neck massage? No way. So I answered the only way I could. “No.”
- Fight it. Leading up to my World Championship Kickboxing bout, I was scheduled to fight an American in an unsanctioned fight in Vancouver. The morning of the fight, I showed up for weigh-in and being a Bantamweight, came in at an even 125. A giant strolled in right behind me – a 5’10”, 160-pounder. Her coach noticed my wide eyes and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll put her in the sauna for awhile,” to which I replied, “Is she going to sweat off a leg?” Mis-matches are notorious in boxing, and I had every right to refuse the fight. But after a quick conference with my coach, I decided I didn’t want to give the promoter the satisfaction. I fought her anyway, forced the negative energy into my gloves, and won by technical knockout in the 6th.
Avoiding confrontations with these energy-suckers is unrealistic, but I would seriously recommend avoiding long-term relationships with them. But when you must face them, rise to the challenge and implement the best strategy for the situation. Store it, ignore it, deny it or fight it. Then pat yourself on the back for not getting pulled into their self-created doomsday, and run away. Keep your feet in the light and your own (louder) positive-thoughts will continue to pedal toward your dreams.
Leah Goldstein is an internationally sought-after speaker. She is a World Champion Kickboxer, Israeli Undercover Police Officer, National Cycling Champion, record holder of multiple ultra-distance cycling races and all-around crazy person. Leah’s memoir, “No Limits” is available now at www.leahgoldstein.com/book/ and all online retailers.
Lori Friend Moger, M.Sc. is a writer, speaker and Kinesiologist. She is co-founder (with Leah) of No Finish Line Living, a wellness company providing keynotes, seminars and retreats with the sole purpose of pushing people into their best lives possible. For more information, visit us at www.facebook.com/leahgoldstein1