I’ll never forgot the time I called my father from the restaurant I owned to tell him that I found my calling and was going to pursue a career as an author and speaker. His response was less than enthusiastic. “What the he_ _ are you going to do that for,” he said. “That will never amount to anything. It’s a load of junk. Just focus on your restaurant.” I hung up the phone and thought two simple words “Thanks Dad.”

Believe it or not, I didn’t get angry at him for saying this. I knew he was just one of many negative people; I call Energy Vampires, that I would have to face on my journey through life. Unfortunately energy vampires don’t just exist in our families but they also lurk in our businesses, social organizations, churches and neighborhoods. They are real. They are everywhere. And they will suck the life out of our goals, dreams and plans for success if we let them.

If you're like most people, it has happened to you. You were talking to someone and before you knew it, they drained the life right out of you. You looked for fang marks on your neck but they were nowhere to be found. Then you realized Energy Vampires don't have fangs. They have other means to suck your energy. Here are a few:

Negative comments -"Did I tell you how much I hate my life and work? Did I tell you what so and so did to me? Did I tell you why nothing goes right?"

Dream snatching - "You can't do that. You’ll never succeed at that. Are you living in fantasyland? You should do this instead."

Shrinking devices - "What is wrong with you? Can you do anything right? Why did we hire you anyway?”

Team Destruction – “We’ll never make it. It’s Joe’s fault. Everyone is clueless.”

In other situations the words may be less harsh but the result ends up being the same. Once an Energy Vampire starts sucking the air out of your tires it’s difficult to move. Don't let this happen. Realize that life is like an energy bus and the people you surround yourself with on your ride through life have a huge impact on how far you will go. Create a positive and successful ride by following these simple rules for the road that will take you to the places you want to go.

Post a sign that says, NO ENERGY VAMPIRES ALLOWED. Pete Carroll, football coach of USC says he doesn’t allow negative energy in his locker room and you shouldn’t allow negative people on your bus.

Realize that some people are going to get on your bus and some people won't. That's ok. The people that get on were supposed to get on. The people that don't were probably meant to get on another bus or perhaps they would have ruined your ride. Don't take it personal. Just keep on driving with your vision focused on the road ahead. If you waste your energy thinking about the people who didn't get on your bus that means you'll have less fuel to pick up the people who want to get on.

As you drive just keep picking up people along the way who want to get on your bus. Eventually you'll have a filled -standing room only- bus with great energy.

Drive at your own speed and don't compare your success to other buses.

During your ride, you will have many people get on and many get off. Don't take it personal. The people who get off may have to get on another bus. Or perhaps they will make room for someone special who is supposed to get on.

Have fun and enjoy the Ride. You only have one ride through life so you might as well enjoy it. The goal in life is to live young, have fun and arrive at your final destination as late as possible with a smile on your face.

A few years later after that “not so positive” discussion with my Dad he called me up on my cell phone. I had just finished my first appearance on the NBC Today Show and he excitedly said, “Your mother and I just watched you and your book really made a difference in those people’s lives. We’re so proud of you. We always knew you could do it.” When we hung up I just laughed. He didn’t even remember being an energy vampire. What changed I wondered. What made the difference? And then it hit me. We’re all driving our bus. We have the best seat and the best vision for the road ahead. Not everyone will see what we see. They are limited by their own vision, doubts and fears. They think that dreams were meant for others but not for people like you and me. But we know better and in our knowing we understand that every driver will be tested on their journey. Every driver will encounter negativity, naysayers, roadblocks, flat tires, fear and self doubt. No one goes through life untested but the answer to these tests is positive energy. And the ultimate rule for the road is that our vision, positive energy and certainty must be greater than anyone’s negativity, fear and doubt. Positive energy consisting of vision, optimism, trust, enthusiasm, purpose and spirit makes the difference. When we fuel our life, work and team with positive energy we will surely enjoy the ride of our lives….and keep the Energy Vampires off the bus or even better convert them to positive passengers!

Author's Bio: 

Jon Gordon is a leading authority on developing positive, engaged people, leaders, businesses, schools and teams and the author of the international best seller The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy. Jon’s proven solutions are being put to use by thousands of executives and organizations including the PGA Tour and he has been featured in hundreds of television shows, magazines and newspapers around the world including CNN’s American Morning, NBC’s Today Show, Men’s Health, Forbes, and Positive Thinking.

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