I’ve been in business and on the planet long enough to know not to burn bridges. The same people you are snarky to and unfair with in your youth will come back in positions to help you decades down the road, and they’ll end up halfway around the world to do it, if that’s what it takes. So you save yourself a lot of personality conflict karma by giving that stuff up early on. When I use the word karma, I mean karma as in cause and effect. You do this, it sets that in motion. It’s like a fanbelt, a boomerang, it’s a cycle going around and around, you know it’s coming back again. You don’t know in what form it will return, but if you’re smart, you stay tuned for clues so you can nip it in the bud.
I never set out to do a magazine (see When Horizons Magazine Began) and had grown up working for law offices. The personality conflicts were easy to spot; these were large Miami firms of 40+ attorneys and twice as many support staff (other employees). It could make it hard to work if I had to deal with a secretary who didn’t like me or my boss, and I had to go through her when scheduling. One who particularly pulled my chain left for another firm, and my relief was shortlived when her boss became a judge and she went with him. Surprisingly, it worked out for both of us since she was suddenly nice to me. I suppose in her new position she could afford to be. She was clearly in charge of the calendar now, wasn’t she? I was just grateful it was easy to work together from then on.
That story could have had a much bleaker ending. Had I been snarky with the secretary and pulled rank on her earlier in our careers, as I could have, that would not have endeared her to me. Then when she began working for the judge, she could have made my life hell, giving me back just what I gave her. And I would have deserved it.
So when I began doing Horizons Magazine, I left behind all my law office/courthouse coworkers and got to know the faces and voices in a new genre: self help and publishing. I got to know the authors, the publicists and the publishers, I got to know the speakers and teachers on the conference circuit. I would connect in person at conference with many of the presenters, often at after hour events. This was always fun and could be pretty eye-opening.
Some people, after a few drinks, will unknowingly blurt out information that gives you a glimpse behind the press release, and it’s not always a flattering one. Some will outright blow their own cover story and reveal it as the work of their agent, meant to create mystique to increase product sales. This is when it’s my lesson to learn to separate the message from the messenger.
I’ve been reading books in the genres of self help, personal development and spirituality since 1970. Most are compilations adapted from other texts; a rehash of an original hash. That’s fine. It helps us come at an idea from different viewpoints, to get a broader understanding. People create fake backgrounds for themselves all the time, like my friend Domino, thinking he will never run into cousin June Mae from Nebraska, much less at a psychic fair in Fort Lauderdale. I don’t care about that either. What I care about is: do people find his work of value? Is it helpful to them?
I lay my personal feelings about the author aside when the work stands for itself. Sometimes I’m asked to get involved in a project that promotes the work of some popular someone I’ve experienced to be without personal integrity. Who I know is playing a role, like Domino, who makes no bones about it, albeit off the record. The oh-so-humble-self-help-psychic-guru gig is working for him now and his website heralds him as if he’s the messiah we’ve all been waiting for. He aligns himself with as many big names as he can and hunts them down for photos with, which he keeps prominently displayed at all times. He’s a name dropper and celebrity seeker and blah, blah, blah. We all know many Dominoes. don’t we?
But if I am who I say I am, I’m not here to judge. I’m here to take what is in front of me and discover what is useful in it, and leave the rest behind. I may not trust him personally, but if what he writes in his books and what he says during his guided presentations is helpful information, it’s not for me to judge. At these times I have to remind myself what I am doing here. Who am I serving?
And friends may wonder why I am not jumping up and down to work with their project, since he’s such a big name. And it’s to no one’s advantage for me to go into the story. Once I tell what I know, I have to be prepared for what I set in motion. I’d be going against the grain and sending false idols crashing. That’s never popular and there’s no such thing as a secret. I would just be creating conflict.
As a gardener I’ve learned if there’s something beginning to grow in my garden that I don’t want to be there, I need to nip it in the bud before it can take hold. In 1984, I planted a wedelia cutting a neighbor had given me and I still deal with a big tangle every summer and am always pulling it out by the handfuls. Had I not planted it in the first place, I would not have this situation now.
And personality conflicts aren’t just annoying, they can hurt your business. Separate the message from the messenger. If you get tangled up the drama of he said/she said and taking sides and the whole undercurrent of hidden agenda, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Sure it feels exciting to be part of something, in on something behind the scenes, but I tell you right now, doing all this will impact your income, period.
As you spend time talking to other people about what this one is doing or what that one is doing, you’re just attracting a big tangled mess that will choke out the fun intentional life I guarantee you’d rather be having. If you’ve got any kind of financial lull going on, staying away from controversy will give you a big leg up to more financial freedom.
The bottom line? Judge someone on their works, not on their words or their personal life. If you don’t agree with someone’s work, yet a friend finds it valuable, don’t bad mouth what they find helpful.
This is what Abraham-Hicks calls the art of allowing. It’s the key to releasing resistance. Don’t judge what others find helpful. Not everyone has the same interests you do. Soul searching takes us each on our own path and it can be lonely. The people who parade before us are there mirroring something back for self reflection. Not for us to judge and gossip about, although that’s a popular fun social outlet: let’s hold a spiritual meeting and talk about everyone who’s not here.
Stop laughing, you know who they are. You know who you are.
Everyone has their own way of talking and behaving as kundalini rises and their personality reconciles itself with the soul. And personality reconciliation is a lifelong process. If you’re serious about soul searching, you take everything that shows up in front of you as spiritual fuel, as food for thought. You take it in and you keep it inside until you get the lesson from it.
That’s alchemy. That’ll turn all your brass to gold.
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