Remove the weeds

Today, I read this article, provided by Propel Women, a fantastic resource geared at equipping female leaders. 

I want to drill down on one key point:

3) Remove the WeedsIn life there will be people who most frequently criticize you. They rarely like your ideas. They nit pick at petty things. They don’t support your dreams. Keep people close who you know love and support you and also tell you the hard truth about yourself. But, if there’s someone who is perpetually tearing you down, don’t buy the lie that as a Christian you must befriend them and keep inviting them into your circle.

I think this point is critical to navigating life both personally and professionally. Weeds are stubborn and tenacious, but, with a direct and concentrated effort, can be removed. 

I married my boss. Let's just get that out in the air. And when others at work found out we were dating, nearly eight years ago, I definitely faced some significant hardships. No longer was I smart and capable on my own; now, I was "receiving perks and benefits" because of my personal relationships. It was way more drama for others than for the two of us involved, but somehow it was everyone's business. (Get a life. I digress.) There was one individual who no longer would take my ideas seriously. He would say they were terrible and immediately shoot them down. I learned if I funneled my ideas through others, they were deemed excellent by this key decision maker. (Off-topic, an important lesson I learned was to care little about who gets the credit as long as a good thing is accomplished. This has been so critical to my development as a leader.)

After a period of time I realized the most important thing I could do was to stop inviting him into my circle. Office lunch date? I'll stay behind and answer the phone. Drinks after work? You all go ahead. Brainstorming session for new solicitation ideas? I'll pass my notes to someone else and just hunker down to do what is asked of me the best I can. I no longer could emotionally afford to continue to rebuild myself after each unnecessary and unfair critique or harsh word. 

I don't always fit in where I go nor do I always connect with people. I'm a strong personality and that isn't easy to accept. I'm done apologizing for who I am and committing to simply remove the weeds. This can mean a years-old friendship or brand-new acquaintences; this can be true of unhealthy habits or time-wasting activities. These things are all weeds that need to pruned--continually pruned--from my life.

What weeds do you need to kill? I challenge you to have the difficult conversation, send the direct email and make the tough phone call. The simple action of pruning can produce much fruit.