Are Your Passengers Healthy or Toxic?
OK, here is the analogy:
You are a bus driver in life and you have an empty bus. When you are born, certain people take a seat on your bus immediately when you pop out (mom, dad, family, etc.).
Throughout life, you pick people up on your bus and you drop people off along the way.
People are constantly getting on and off of your bus.
Some are invited, while others are just along for the ride by virtue of your decisions about life and work.
You have people on your bus who are always on your bus, but who may move from the front to the back and then from the back to the front throughout the journey.
You have people you pick up and drop off more than once; people who truly do go out of your life at some point and truly come back into your life at another point.
Some of these passengers are healthy and some are toxic.
The passengers on your bus play a vital role in your success (or lack there of).
However, without clarity about who you are and where your bus is going, it is difficult to know whether your passengers are there to help you or hurt you.
In my book, Get Off My Bus!, I talked a lot about boundaries; boundaries when it comes to situations, boundaries when it comes to other people, and boundaries when it comes to our own obnoxiously self-defeating self-talk.
The main concept is that it is important to realize that you are in control of stopping and letting anybody who compromises those boundaries off of your bus or stopping and letting someone climb aboard.
How do you know who to let off and who to let on?
Here are five questions to ask yourself anytime you are looking for clarity and feeling that your boundaries are being tested.
Who is driving my bus? Did you get up and let someone else sit down in the drivers’s seat? If anyone else’s hands are on your steering wheel, there is a control issue. Become aware of it, define it, and take action to start regaining control.
Where am I heading? If you look at the front of any city bus, what is across the top? The destination. If you are not clear on where you want to go or what you are trying to accomplish, you will wander around aimlessly and get stuck at every stop sign.
Who needs to get off my bus? I am 100% positive that, when you read those words, a name or face came to mind. We all have these people in our lives and we know exactly who they are. They are the nay-sayers, the complainers, the negative-nellies, the narcissists,the people you send directly to voicemail when you see their name on called-id because you don’t have the energy to deal with them (again).
Those people. Identify them. Make a plan to distance yourself from them.
They are toxic.
Start with 1 person. You need to realize that you are in control of stopping, opening the door, and saying, “get off my bus!”
We hold on to things so much longer than we should sometimes. It is hard to let go whenever you feel you have made an investment in something, whether it be an education or a relationship or an industry. That makes it really hard to just walk away, even when that is the correct action.
If it is creating stress and it does not have to be that way, you need to make a change.
Who needs to get on my bus? When you get clarity on WHAT it is you want to do and WHY you want to do it, the team players become quite evident. Go pick them up! You also need to realize that you are in control of stopping, opening the door, and saying, “come along for the ride!”
Whose bus do I need to get off of? (I apologize for the grammatical incorrectness!)
Stop saying yes to things when you really want to say no!
What do you dread seeing every time it pops up on your calendar? What group did you get involved with 5 years ago that made sense at the time but no longer fits in your life? Who is the “needy” person who drags you through their minutia just because you are the one who doesn’t hang up on them (trust me, they will find someone else to burden).
It is important to understand that everyone who takes a ride on your bus is there for a reason. It might be to inspire you. It might be to hurt you. It may be to motivate you. It may be to hold a mirror up to you.
Good and bad, painful and exhilarating, they all serve a purpose. Do not ever lose sight of that.
Choose your passengers wisely.