I shared in my last post that my #1 rule for dealing with difficult people is DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

And almost immediately, I heard real life war stories from many of you wonderful readers about your own struggles with difficult people.  It is a touchy and subjective topic for sure.

In my experience, there are very few truly ‘difficult people,’ and there are countless behaviors that one could label difficult. Those behaviors, obviously based on what I’m considering to be difficult, are all that it takes to get my blood pressure up a notch or two or twenty.

When you find yourself in blood pressure escalating moments, it’s always good to remember the word ‘Boundaries’ – yours and others.

‘Not taking it personally’ and ‘knowing your boundaries,’ once again, became very clear as I was putting down my pen from the last post.

Unexpectedly, an email arrives from an acquaintance asking for feedback.

The acquaintance doesn’t fall into the category of ‘I know you well enough to know when you really want feedback, or you are just seeking validation.’  And when you don’t know, it’s best to ‘guess and test.’

So, I decided to share one thought as it’s fun for me to be part of a spirited discussion about the topics that fascinate me and I have spent considerable time studying.

Guess what…? I guessed wrong.

I unknowingly tripped an ego landmine with my two-line comment based on the reply I received back.


Oh well, sometimes people are just seeking validation.  That’s okay, I’ve been there too.

After a deep breath, I resolved to enact my #1 rule for responding to challenging behavior, not to take it personally, by remembering that one of the roles of ego is to protect our projection of ourselves to the world.

I know, I’m making it sound easy not to ‘pounce’ back — trust me, it’s rarely easy AND always worth the effort when you pick your battles.

So, try this trick, next time you ‘step on’ an ego landmine; take a quiet moment and a deep breath while asking yourself with my ‘borrowed’ mantra ~ ‘Do I have a monkey in this circus?’

If any part of you is telling you “No!” then drop it, breathe to let it go AND repeat after me

“Not my circus – not my monkeys.”

To Success! To Life!