Part of being a leader is having a lot of people around you.
So how do you protect your energy and maintain boundaries between what's "yours" and what's "theirs", while at the same time staying open and compassionate?
When I first stepped into my leadership shoes as the founder of Daring Divas, this was really (REALLY) hard for me.
I wasn't solid on who I was or what I stood for. Anything someone threw my direction landed in my heart and became integrated into my soul. At least that's how it felt.
- You think I'm running my business just so I can fill my personal bank account? Well then, maybe I really am selfish and money hungry.
- You feel like I'm not supporting you? Maybe I should spend 2 hours a day talking with you on the phone so you can feel supported, even if that's not what you're paying for, because otherwise I'm a bad coach.
- You think I should change how I run my events? Ok, I'll rearrange my entire business model because maybe you're right.
I was so sensitive to anything my tribe members and clients did or said that sometimes I would spin on a comment, criticism or accusation for weeks. Truly considering their point, and sometimes turning into a belief about myself.
I didn't realize that 99% of the time, it wasn't about me.
I didn't realize that as the leader of my tribe, I was the person most vulnerable to receive other people's "shit".
It makes sense right? Because as leaders we are constantly putting ourselves out there. We are the most seen and the most heard and also the easiest target for someone's projection.
As a highly-sensitive empath, it took me a long time to learn how to protect my energy and separate my emotions from the emotions of the people around me.
It took me a long time to realize that someone might make an accusation of me, not because they are correct, but because I triggered something inside of them that really has nothing to do with me.
Thankfully over the years, I have learned how to protect my energy and maintain boundaries between what's "mine" and what's "theirs", while at the same time staying open and compassionate.
It's not always easy, and sometimes I still get "sucked in", but now instead of taking it on and being impacted for weeks, I can shake what's not mine much faster.Below are 7 lessons I've learned about how to protect my energy:Let go and let flow
I don't want to be a hard, closed-hearted robot, so instead, I try to "let go and let flow". This means that I stay present with what someone is expressing to me, but if their energy is heavy or invasive, I visualize flowing water. Flowing water helps me remember not to let someone's energy get trapped inside, but rather, I receive it and let it flow out.Meditate
I spend a lot of my time surrounded by other people, and if I don't stay centered in who I am and what I stand for - I will suck up outside energy like a sponge. Meditation is my secret weapon when it comes to staying centered. My relationship with mediation has shifted over the year to being something "I don't have time for" to something "I can't lead my tribe without."Remember to breathe
Breath is the flow of energy in and out of the body. Sometimes when we're triggered, overwhelmed or emotional, we forget to breathe which causes outside energies to get locked inside. Remember to breathe so you don't trap energy that's not yours.Stay curious
We simply don't know what other people are "bringing" with them when they show up for an event or participate in our group. They could have just been turned down for their dream job, broken up with their partner or lost their beloved dog the day before. We just don't know. So instead of jumping to conclusions and making someone's negative energy about you, stay curious about what's really going on for them.Get grounded
Literally. Put your feet on the ground and go for a walk, hike or run in nature. Connecting with the earth through physical activity is my all-time favorite energy shifting activity. On days when I have events where I'm surrounded by lots of people, I like to go on a hike afterward to clear my energy.Use smokey quartz
I LOVE smokey quartz! Not just because it aligns perfectly with my "edgy, elegant and nature-inspired" brand. But also because it is grounding, centering and protects against negative energy. If you tend to soak up other people's energies, try wearing a smokey quartz necklace to your next talk or networking event!Move your body
Animals do it all the time - they shake to release experiences that they don't want to hold onto. We can do it too. Through dance or other types of movement you can "shake out" unwanted energies that get trapped inside.
These are some of the practices that I use regularly to protect my energy from other people's "shit".
And as a leader, you will undoubtedly have other people's shit thrown your way. You will be projected upon, judged, given unwarranted advice, criticised, and accused.
It comes with the territory of leading a tribe, because the more people you reach, the more people's energy will come your way.
It's your job to learn how to protect yourself from this energy so you can continue to be the strong, compassionate and open-hearted leader that your fans need and love.*And to be clear: I am NOT advocating that you make everything about other people and never take responsibility for what you need to look at that's yours. That is a different article.