Archive for bullying

Soul Sucking Jobs

Have you ever had one of those jobs that feels like it is sucking the life out of you? Do you have a job that you want to love and commit to, like your other relationships, but it makes you sick to your stomach when you think about it?

A friend of mine calls this a “soul sucking job.” For many people, having a soul sucking job is the result of workplace bullying, or at least the perception of it. Workplace bullying, just like other forms of bullying isn’t always easy to recognize. Sometimes what feels like bullying really isn’t and sometimes what feels like simply being treated unfairly really is bullying. Sometimes what starts as bullying becomes harassment and can even lead to abuse. One thing is clear, bullying hurts everyone it touches. What causes the pain isn’t the words or actions of others but the way they are received.

“Whether it comes from your church members, family, partners, peers, co-workers, leaders or stranger’s, one thing is clear, coercion, bullying and belittlement  hurts, sometimes leaving scars can last a lifetime. The only way to end the pain is to heal the cycle!” 

Bullying has become a catch-all label for various forms of physical and emotional trauma. Humans have always had to deal with issues of drama and trauma, the real difference is that we are no longer willing to tolerate it as normal and acceptable behavior. “Boys will be boys” and “that’s life” doesn’t cut it anymore. As the collective heart of humanity opens we are no longer willing to tolerate abuse, however it is justified.

Mary’s Story: I never worked for men again after that

Depressed-Woman“I was an executive assistant to a high profile executive who brought in a lot of money for the company.  I had a beautiful office in a high rise building tons of natural light in a meticulously decorated space. They even had fresh flowers delivered to my office every day. At the beginning the job seemed like a dream come true and could hopefully lead to advancement in the company. It was a company with a strong reputation in commercial real estate. It didn’t take long to realize that my new boss didn’t see as anything but a lowly assistant. Actually I was more like his personal servant. Every morning I got to the office before he did. All of his employees get to the office before he wandered in. It became pretty obvious that his mood was determined by the success of his date the night before and he seem to have any qualms talking about the most recent lady in his life. Sometimes he had temper tantrums like a two-year old and I suspected he forgot his meds. Of course I wasn’t surprised one day when he asked me to go to the pharmacy for him while I was out picking his dry-cleaning. The men in the office laughed at his crude jokes but they never respected him. He had them on eggshells too. I took the job thinking I was getting a high profile position in a company that could move her into management, but I started having my doubts.  He obviously had no respect for me because he had no respect for women in general. He made that pretty clear I was very good at my work and was making great money for the position, so I didn’t want to complain. But inside, I started feeling more and more depressed. I started dreaded going to work but I needed the paycheck, and I still hoped I could maneuver my way into a better position eventually. Click here for the rest of the story…

Jose’s Story: I was fired 12 days before Christmas

“I use to like people but a bully shot me down! Bosses should lead employees not bully them! People talk about teenage bullies but what aworkplace-bullyingbout work place bullies? Remember bullies come in all shapes and sizes. I was bullied by an adult, my manager at a high level financial institution. After he successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up. He fired me via UPS 12 days before Christmas while I was out on a workers comp pending case. My family will never forget the pain he caused us! I haven’t worked since due to all of this. He once told me that I couldn’t wear the hats I’d been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was companypolicy yet there was nothing in writing. I called HR and they said there was nothing in the codes about hats. About six weeks later he decided to tell me that I could wear hats again but only a couple days a week. I asked him what about the policy and he replied, “I’m in control.” It was his way of throwing his weight around, what a bully! Click here for the rest of the story…

Amy’s story: I was in my forties and crying like one of my kids. I felt so ashamed.

woman_crying“I started a new company a couple of year ago. It was a business I had been dreaming about for years and thought for sure it was the business that would make my mark in the world and make a difference in other people’s lives. I consider myself a heart-centered entrepreneur. Coming up with the money to start my new concept was a challenge but she found a willing investor who also became my partner. I was to run the day-to-day operations of the business and the investor was a silent equal partner.  Almost as soon as the doors opened my partner began hovering. Nothing I did felt good enough. Everyone knows it takes 2-3 years to become profitable, but when the company still hadn’t broken even after three months, my so-called silent partner made it clear that I wasn’t performing my job. I was pounding the pavement every day doing marketing and managing employees at the same time. I thought I was doing great but it wasn’t enough according to her. My partner began showing up at the facility without notice, telling employees what to do and telling me how to do my job. I had to make this business work, my name, reputation and family depended on it. My partner seemed relentless on telling me everything I was doing wrong and confused employees didn’t know who to report to. Employees became disgruntled and started blaming me for everything that was wrong and the good ones got so frustrated they just left.  The business that I had always dreamed of having become a nightmare.” Click here for the rest of the story.

Where are they now? The three individuals in this article have moved on. Mary used her experience to leave the corporate world behind. She used her experience as the impetus to start her own company and is happily self-employed. Jose’ is still unsure what his next step is with his career and he is using his experience to become an anti-bullying activist. Amy has started another company, this time venturing out own her own, free from the encumbrance of a partner.

In the end, all three of them came to see the value in their experience as an opportunity for personal growth. 

Until next time, Grow Bold, Get Fearless and Be Free!

Victoria_Reynolds

 

Bodacious to Bullied and Back Again

Okay, so maybe I’m dating myself, like I have anything to hide, but the word “bodacious” still rocks in my world. Remember the 80s? Valley girls, righteous dudes and bodacious babes? I finally figured out what it takes to be a bodacious babe and it’s not what I though!

Bold + Audacious = Bodacious

bold

  1. not hesitating or fearful in the face of actual or possible danger or rebuff; courageous and daring
  2. not hesitating to break the rules of propriety; forward; impudent
  3. necessitating courage and daring; challenging
  4. beyond the usual limits of conventional thought or action; imaginative
  5. striking or conspicuous to the eye; flashy; showy

au.da.cious

  1. extremely bold or daring; recklessly brave; fearless
  2. extremely original; without restriction to prior ideas; highly inventive
  3. recklessly bold in defiance of convention, propriety, law, or the like
  4. lively; unrestrained; uninhibited

Based on the above description I can definitely say I’m a bodacious babe. Funny thing is, I always was one. I just didn’t know it.

As a child I was punished for being strong-willed, independent, daring and free-spirited. I was a precocious child who could see and think outside of the carefully crafted box my parents put me in.  My defiance against the system that used terror to control me made my father punish me all the more. Now, before I sound like a whiner, my well-meaning parents were simply over-protective and did the best they could with what they knew. They believed in a God that bullied them and unleashed His punishments if they failed to control me.

The continual pounding on my body, mind and heart finally broke my spirit and my will, just the way parents believed I needed to be.

I grew up with the archaic belief that, “a child’s will needs to be broken” and “you must come to God with a broken spirit.” By the time I reached my teens I was sufficiently broken. What I didn’t know then that I know now, is that the extent of trauma I experienced at the hands of my peers, occurred because I had already been traumatized as a child. Kids with no self-esteem make easy targets for relentless bullies.

It took a very long time for me to put the pieces of myself back together, re-build my will and heal my broken spirit. It turns out they never really broke me, just damaged my ability to recognize myself. It turns out that the spirit, just like the body, can be healed and restored. Now I’m back to my strong-willed, free-spirited, bold and audacious self.

Wow, it’s great to be myself again! How about you?

What I’ve discovered over years working with clients and meeting people at events, is that those who are drawn to me were strong-headed children too. There is nothing that compares to the flurry of excitement that comes with being given permission to be yourself, not only have permission, but being applauded for not fitting in the box. The reason bullying hurts so much isn’t the words and actions of others, but the lack of acceptance for being ourselves. Once you get to the place of self-acceptance it no longer matters what anyone else thinks!

Are you ready to be Bodacious?

Victoria_Reynolds

Resilience In The Face of Adversity

Resilience is the power or ability to return to original form after being bent or stretched. It is elasticity. It is the ability to recover from any adversity; mental, physical or otherwise.

The word resilience came to me in response to red-ribbon week at my children’s school and the subject of bullying. For me, the subject and sensitivity to bullying has gone too far. Bullying is certainly nothing new; we’ve simply given it a new name and focused our attention on it.  There have always been individuals who cause pain and suffering on the minds, hearts and bodies of others because they themselves are suffering. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is our awareness and nonacceptance of it, and our sensitivity to it. That sensitivity and lack of resilience has created the assumption by many that if anyone has an opinion that differs from ours, they are bullies. Over-sensitivity has caused far too many of our people to take their own lives and take others with them. This sensitivity and lack of resiliency is fueling more and more anger in our societies. The result is the inability to understand each other without judgement, which, in turn, stunts our own growth.

Resilience is the ability to not take the perceptions, choices and actions of others personally.

Resilience comes from knowing that you don’t need to take personal ownership of other people’s issues. What others say, think, feel and do is always about them and not about you. There will always be people who don’t agree with you, who don’t like you and don’t think the way you do. There will always be people who are better looking, more talented and more popular. There will always be parties that you don’t get invited to because you don’t fit their agenda. There will always be people who don’t resonate with you or have chemistry with you. There will always be people who hurt others because they themselves are hurting. That is simply a part of life and always has been. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you happy.

Do you remember the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?” 

Yes, names do hurt. Not getting invited to the party hurts. Having someone tell lies about you hurts, and yes, hearing an opinion that is the opposite of your own hurts. But it doesn’t need to break you. Unfortunately, people have become so overly sensitive that they now break like china dolls, lashing back in anger and resentment at what feels like the slightest insult against their own beliefs without any real attempt to understand. We have become so sensitive that we have forgotten what bullying really is.  Until you have had your head pushed in a toilet, been beaten up in a bathroom, had your faced smashed into a locker, and been thrown into a dumpster, like I was, don’t whine to me about how someone hurt your politically correct and overly sensitive feelings.

Until you have been shot in the head by the Taliban like Malala was, you don’t really understand the full scope of what bullying, and resilience, can be!

Let us continue to teach kindness, compassion and understanding, and also teach resilience. Let us teach our children how to create an environment where we are all free to speak and embrace conversations where we can agree to disagree. Let us teach open-mindedness where conversations can lead to breakthroughs in understanding. Let us create an environment where freedom of speech really is free. Let us use the many voices and perceptions to create a new world that is win/win, where there is no right vs. wrong; instead, there is only understanding. And while there are those whose words and actions are intended to be hurtful because the purveyors themselves are dealing with their own suffering, let us include them with compassion into the conversation, work with them to heal their own wounds and create resilience within themselves.

Every advancement of the human species has come through new understanding, courage to speak even in the face of the greatest adversity and resilience to overcome.

Nothing great was ever accomplished in this world by keeping thoughts and opinions small out of fear of other people’s perceptions. Resilience is using all of that which hurts us to make ourselves stronger and less likely to break. It gives us the flexibility to see other people’s perspectives with a more open mind. It gives us the resolve to be more of what we have the capacity to be. It stretches us and causes us to grow. It gives us the ability to bounce back in the face of failure and adversity.

All great things in this world have stemmed from resilience.

Victoria_Reynolds


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