116: Managing Big Personalities

Leadership


Welcome friends to Episode #116 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. We will often come across people with personalities that seem larger-than-life. They seem to take over conversations and situations, leaving you wondering, “what happened?” How do we work and live with people who seem to not only have big personalities, but also opinions and ways of working that differ from our own? Today’s podcast will reveal where we are giving away our power, and how to stand firm without aggression.

Bigger than life

We are often attracted to those different from us. They inspire us to think differently and see things from a different perspective. The differences, however, that were challenging in the best possible way in the beginning start to give way to being challenging in the least desirable way. Why can’t they just agree with you? Why does everything always feel so hard? These are the thoughts we start to have as we struggle with big personalities.

What happens when we start to resent these differences? We try to avoid working or interacting with these people. We don’t talk about the topics that are important to us because they are challenging to work through. While these are good strategies for the short-term diffusion of high emotions like anger or frustration – they are not strategies for a sustainable, long-term relationship.

If you cannot talk or be honest about what’s most important to you with those who play a critical role in our lives (family, boss/manager, team members, peers), we often feel a sense of inauthenticity and resentment. We feel that they are to blame for us not bringing our whole selves to the relationship. We think that we cannot be the best version of ourselves because they are the ones stopping us from doing what it is we want to do.

Your Power

We wouldn’t be so angry, resentful or scared of these people, however, if we didn’t think they would impact our lives negatively.

Your power lies in your ability to see that they don’t have an impact on our life. How can this be true, if they are a family member or someone you work with? Your career could be at stake or your intimate relationships. It feels impossible to think that these people wouldn’t have a negative impact. Especially if we feel that our behavior and way of thinking is correct and that their behavior and ways of thinking are wrong.

If you, your loved ones and your co-workers are truly in harm’s way, then go seek immediate help. Call 911, leave the situation and find a way to remove yourself and others from the harm. It is important to note that when we are talking about big personalities, I’m not talking about abuse, which is treating others with cruelty or violence. Abuse needs to be handled immediately with a level of directness that allows for your safety.

Big personalities are about outward displays of opinions that may be different than your own, but they are not cruel or violent. They can impact you negatively if you do one or two things.

  1. Try to change people and then get mad, angry, frustrated when it doesn’t work
  2. Have ill-will or feelings of mal-intent towards another person

In order for them to not have an impact on your life negatively, you have to remove the power for them to impact you. Can you let your feeling of anger, worry or frustration move through you? Can you just allow the emotions to exist and be present? If you can acknowledge the emotions, even the hard ones, and just let them continue to pass through – you will let their power over you subside. Power comes from the ability to let energy affect and stay with you. The task is going to be to let the energy move through and be let go. Things like replaying the interaction over and over will keep the energy within you – the one thing you don’t need or want – so let it go.

They may be asking you to do something you don’t desire to do. Objectively, you have two choices: yes or no. You always have free will. Perhaps not doing the thing will jeopardize your relationship or your job, but it is still a choice. This is a hard thing to hear sometimes but the victim role only exists if you see yourself with no options. I urge you to see, even when it seems impossible, what options exist. Keep asking that question if you feel like you are stuck. It is often when we ask “what else” over and over again before we realize that there are options. Maybe we don’t like the options, but they exist and if we want to truly move forward we have to see that our original limited thinking may not be the best path forward.

Do you want to be right or happy?

Ultimately, we have to decide if we want to be right or be happy. You may think that the way this other person does things is objectively terrible, sad or wrong. You are allowed to have those thoughts and feelings. Yet, if we try to change people to be who we want them to be, seeing them as entirely wrong, terrible or sad isn’t useful. What is more useful is understanding them. What if you were wrong? What if what they think or how they are acting makes complete sense? Could you accept that they have a worldview that is different from your own and based on their worldview, what they are saying and doing is not just acceptable but the “right” thing to do? Who is really right here?

We often lose sight of perspective and forget that in 20 years, we want to have better and different memories than what we have today of the situation. What would we want to see about the way we handled this 20 years from now? How would our best or spiritual self – the one who knows and has all your wisdom – handle this? 

Often, they would give up the need to be right. They would try to see it from someone’s point of view and from there utilize influence or stand firm. This is how you maintain connection with your own self while also being firm about your own boundaries. Your energy has to be firm and grounded. This means you know why what you believe is good for not just yourself but for them and others. This also means that you are flexible enough to know that they don’t control you or have ultimate power over you. Why? Because you always have free will. If you can stand strong in your own energy, then other people’s noise will drown out and you will have more room for others. Instead of feeling like you have to block big personalities out or counter them aggressively, you stay calm, collected and in certainty of what you know to be true, how the world works for you and why everything they are saying and doing is for your own growth.

To finish up, I want to remind you that if you keep experiencing big personalities again and again, this is not a bad thing. Check in to see if you are giving away your power by trying to change them through aggression or feeling resentful of their “bigness”. Let yourself take up some space, not from a reaction to them but as a normal practice. You have to come back to yourself and your higher perspective if you want to live a life where you feel more connected to more people instead of constantly resentful of certain people.

That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.


If you want to learn how to navigate your career and life with more confidence in your decisions, reach out at https://mayempson.com/contact to schedule a consultation. It is the next step to learning more about whether or not coaching is right for you. In our coaching together, you will simplify your life, create more freedom of choice and learn how to live in the present moment.

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