When You Should Breakup With Your Mother

Last Updated Jun 2, 2011 3:33 PM EDT

There are only two types of people in this world, and the sooner you discover this the happier, more fulfilled, and successful you'll become -- even if it means dumping your best friend, neighbor, or yes, even your mother.

The first type I call Energizers. These are people that lift you up, give you energy, make you want to be a better person, inspire you, make you feel good about yourself and your life, encourage you to take risks, and motivate you to achieve your goals and dreams.

The second type I call Leeches. These are people who suck the energy from you, that make you feel bad about yourself and your life, complain, are negative, gossip, talk you into doing nothing, and bring you down.

Anyone and everyone from your father and brother to your neighbor and boss to the checkout person at your grocery store can be classified into one or the other camp. The more time you are around downers, the more miserable you'll become. But how can you tell who's an Energizer and who's a Leech?

Here's what you need to do:

  • Step 1. Make a list of all of your friends, colleagues, associates, family members, and people with whom you regularly come into contact.
  • Step 2. Now put an "E" for Energizer or an "L" for Leech next to each (one friend uses happy faces and sad faces while another uses up arrows and down arrows instead of Es and Ls). For 95 percent of your list it will be quite easy to identify those who give energy and those that take. The other 5 percent might be more challenging -- sometimes they might make you feel good and other times they might not. How should you classify them? Close your eyes and picture them. What's your gut telling you? Energizer or Leech?
Now that you've categorized everyone in your life as either uplifting or draining, it's time to pluck the leeches from your life. Think of these people as having a nasty and contagious disease. Your goal is to avoid these people at all costs, but what if you can't? What if you work with these people? Since you can't avoid them completely, do whatever you can to spend as little time with them as possible. When do they lunch? Choose a different time. Don't volunteer for projects in which they are involved.

Is there an annoying parent at your kid's school that does nothing but complain when you run into them? Drop your kids off earlier or later. Get creative. Come up with a list of automatic responses you can tell them for why you don't have time to talk to them. Here are a few examples:

I have a call in five minutes.
I've got to get back to a client.
I'd love to talk but I have to read this report.
I have a meeting I have to get to.
I wish we could talk, but I can't right now, so feel free to shoot me an email.
You can't eliminate all the Leeches in your life, but you can decrease the time you spend with them and the damage they do. But what if your spouse, adult child, father, sister, grandma, girlfriend, cousin, neighbor, priest, best friend, or mother is a Leech? Eliminate them from your life! If they are bringing you down, sucking the life from you, and making you feel like crap, dump them. Sound extreme? It's not. Life is too short to be around people that suck. You might be forced to work with Leeches, but your other 8 hours are yours. You can choose who to spend those precious hours with. Don't feel guilty or obligated to talk to or friend anyone who doesn't encourage you. Demand more from the people you let in your life.

Your challenge is to spend at least one hour this week with an Energizer and to dump one Leech from your life. Cut the cord.

So, who are you going to dump?

(Sad Face image by helgasms!, CC 2.0)
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  • Robert Pagliarini On Twitter»

    Robert Pagliarini is obsessed with inspiring others to create and empowering them to live life to the fullest by radically changing the way they invest their time and energy. He is the founder of Richer Life, a community of passionate people who want to learn and achieve more in life and at work. He is a Certified Financial Planner and the president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm serving sudden wealth recipients and affluent individuals. He has appeared as a financial expert on 20/20, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew's Lifechangers and many others.