In a coaching session with Sue, she shared deeply about how her biggest client (45 hours/month) was treating her poorly (with examples that were gruesome) and that as a result, she wasn’t sleeping, her health had taken a serious hit, along with her self-esteem, and she was terrified of making even the smallest mistake. She had tried discussing things with her client (let’s call her Mary), who didn’t want to hear it, and said that Sue’s problems with the relationship weren’t hers, and that she hired Sue to make life easy for her, not so that she’d have to spend any time worrying about how Sue was doing.
Sue asked (pleaded, really) for me to tell her what to do to make things better in her relationship with Mary.
After listening, I asked her why she wanted to try to do that, rather than finding a new client and moving on.
Her answer: “Mary is a really big deal in her profession. She wouldn’t hesitate to tell everyone how horrible I am and I would probably never again get another client. I can’t leave her, you know?”
My reply: “Not only can you leave her,” I said, “but it’s imperative that you do.”
If you’ve been in Sue’s position and wonder how I can say that, here are the top five things I shared with her, and for you to consider if you find yourself in this type of relationship
- No one, ever, has the right to treat you badly. Those who do deserve to be left behind.
- We humans make mistakes, act foolishly, and leave positions all the time, and none of it is really as big a deal for others as we think it’s going to be.
- You may well find that the person you think is going to freak out feels immense relief that you brought it up.
- Mean girls in high school try to ruin others. Grown women and men, not so much; they tend to have bigger fish to fry. PLUS, if one does try it, it’s far more likely that anyone who hears the trash talk won’t pay a lick of attention to it. People can be “really big deals” while not fooling anyone that they have integrity. And there are few better ways to lose the good will one has in the world than to be known as someone who throws shade.
- Your truth trumps anyone else’s for your life. You always, always, always need to live your truth. You can never stay where you know you don’t belong without it damaging your health, crushing your spirit and ruining your self-respect and self-confidence. Nothing is worth martyring yourself for.
The bottom line is, when you know you need to go, go, and go as quickly as you can.
Everything better for you is waiting on the other side of your “goodbye.”