We so often hear we need to shun negativity and invite positivity. The idea never gets old, so this week, Joan discusses another way to keep our lives positive.

Joan: I recently made a presentation in which I talked about the importance of eliminating negative voices – our own and those from external sources. I explained that there are many people, for whatever reason, consciously or unconsciously, who will say things that can have a detrimental impact on one’s self-esteem and ability to move forward.

Anyone that puts him/herself ‘out there’ and takes a risk knows what I’m talking about. There are the well-meaning people who offer ‘friendly’ advice designed to ‘help’ you out. Then there are those who give you direct words of condemnation that tell you exactly why you will never succeed at what you are attempting to do.

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Q. Have you run up against this often?

Joan: That’s just it. It wasn’t too long ago that negative comments would have crippled me, as they do so many others. I would have allowed that negativity to infiltrate my thoughts and stop me from taking action on many fronts.

But, no more!

Q. What changed for you?

Joan: I have come to learn that negative statements from others have less to do with me than they do with the person making them. Once I removed myself from the equation, I have been able to push the comments aside, maintain more positive thoughts, and keep moving forward.

Q. Easier said than done, no?

Joan: There are people who can do this naturally. In a conversation with television’s “Whose Line is It Anyway” star and comedian, Greg Proops, I asked him how he could continually get on stage and face an audience after a joke falls flat or after being heckled. He quipped, “Because I no longer care what they think and I’m right and they’re wrong!” He added, “Seriously, I know I’m good. They either get it or they don’t. I can’t control what they say or do, I can’t control their motivation, so I release the expectation and keep doing my part.”

Imagine that … release the expectation of approval and just keep doing your part!