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My heart was pounding. I was gasping for breath. I could see the sweat beading off my hands and feel it dripping down my back. It was hellish.

But, hey, that’s how endurance spin class feels when you’re really giving it your all. And based on the numbers on my heart monitor, that’s what I was doing.

“It’s right… about now,” she said, “that… you won’t …have any tolerance… for negativity of any kind…in your mind …or coming from anyone… around you.”

“She” is Allison, the endurance spin class instructor who leads us through Hell and Back on Tuesday nights.  It’s always interesting, motivating, and educational to be in her class because she shares her knowledge and experiences of what it’s really like to train hard and compete with dedication and passion. She knows firsthand how hard it is to get really good   ̶  and then get even better. Better than you ever thought you could be.

Extreme sports.Mountain bicycle and man.Life style outdoor extreme sport

“Champions know it’s really hard to get through the tough training and limit-pushing that being a good athlete requires,” she says.  “You give so much and work so hard that you eventually discover you just can’t be around anyone who isn’t positive and encouraging. It will drain you and make what’s hard even harder.”

The voices in our own heads, for example, can be our worst enemies:

This is hard.

Yikes, that hill is really high!

“I don’t know if I can do this…”

“I’m not good enough.”

“I’m not strong enough.”

“That person is faster / better / more fit than me. I must really suck.”

“Oh my god, I’m so tired.”

“I think I’m going to puke…”


And then, as I gasped for another breath, I had this adrenaline-induced epiphany: Who has the time or energy or desire to do anything semi-daunting or worthwhile if you’ve got negativity in your own mind – or it’s coming from anyone around you who is negative or not supportive?

There’s just no room anytime for that baloney.

So here are a few questions for you:

  • What are you trying to achieve? Even if it’s simply trying to be and do your very best each day.  (But of course, I’d prefer that you think really big here and come up with something you’ve always wanted to do or achieve – your Big Hairy Ass Goal —  even if you’re certain it will be scary or challenging.)
  • What do you need to do or be in order to do it and be it?
  • What do you absolutely need from yourself. From others?
  • What negative thoughts are you allowing into your own head that are draining your confidence, courage, drive, determination, and energy?
  • Who or what might be draining your energy or dissuading you, even if it’s not intentional?
  • How might you be negatively impacting those around you?
  • What positive and encouraging thoughts could you say to yourself and to others that could help everyone do better and more?
  • How is negativity of any kind impacting you, your staff, your team, your organization  ̶  and its performance and productivity?
  • Who or what needs to shift in your life to give it a more positive slant?
  • Who or what might you need to simply back away from energetically?
  • What other changes do you need to make to really up your game, your performance, your ability to achieve and reach higher?

The changes may be tiny. Or they may be earth-shifting.  Tiny and tweaking. Or massive and life-shattering.

Up to you.

I’d love to read your comments and opinions on this.

Oh boy! If this blog resonated with you, you will LOVE  Chapter 5 in my award-winning book The Intentional Networker.  It’s all about setting the boundaries and policies that will allow you to have a more positive attitude, focus on what’s working in your life (and network), decrease what’s not, get more done, do better work, and do so with greater grace, ease and efficiency.