Have you ever walked away from a conversation with a co-worker that left you feeling anxious or upset?

Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with co-workers where everyone is complaining, but you don’t know how to exit the conversation or how to turn it into a positive one?

Do you find yourself replaying negative conversations in your mind and then find yourself acting negatively the rest of the day?

These scenarios happen daily in the work place. A person can go to work in a positive mindset and within hours become negative if they buy into the negativity of their co-workers. It is important to assert yourself and steer clear of “water cooler” conversations that do not promote individual or companywide success. The office is one place where you have the ability to choose who you associate with during your breaks or at lunch. One of your assertive rights is, “you have the right to surround yourself with healthy people.” This decision is up to you and if you want to succeed in life you have to be willing to make this decision.

It is important to understand there will always be people in the office who are negative and who are on a mission to bring other people into their toxic environment. These people pollute the atmosphere of the office and ultimately destroy relationships between co-workers. Oftentimes these people have a “chip on their shoulder” and are angry at the world but they don’t know why. Their anger or frustration could come from a number of sources but until they are willing to address it, there is nothing you can do for them, except steer clear.

A person with a success mindset is someone who makes the decision to be so focused on advancing their career they ignore the inter-office turmoil. I say turmoil instead of conflict because conflict cannot be completely avoided but being a part of turmoil can. Another word for turmoil is chaos and the toxic environment a negative employee creates is chaotic. One reality I remind my clients of constantly is the fact that only one person is going with them when they get promoted or when they move to another company and that person is them. If you want to be successful your mindset has to stay positive and you have to choose relationships that will enhance your opportunity for advancement. Don’t let negative people sabotage your success!

If you find yourself in one of the scenarios I described earlier here are some ways to be assertive.

Have you ever walked away from a conversation with a co-worker that left you feeling anxious or upset?

If a co-worker begins to speak negatively about another employee, you boss, or the company, it is best to look them in the eyes and say, “It sounds like you are frustrated right now. I can empathize with your frustration because I have been frustrated at times, but I really do not have the time to help you work through this right now. Maybe you should go to the person and talk to them about it.”

This answer eliminates you feeling the need to fix the problem and it gives them the best advice, which is the reality that they need to deal with the situation in a healthy manner.

Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with co-workers where everyone is complaining, but you don’t know how to exit the conversation or how turn it into a positive one?

If you find yourself in this situation you can respond to it in a similar way as you did with just one employee. You can excuse yourself and tell them you have to get back to a project you are working on. Once again you must realize that people who are complaining are people who have not learned how to be assertive. My dad used to say, “Holly, if you are on a ladder and someone is below you, it is easier for them to pull you down than it is for you to pull them up.” This was one of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me.

It empowered me to pick my battles wisely. The chances of you turning the conversation in a positive direction with people who are already engaged in a negative one, is almost impossible. The best thing to do is walk away.

Do you find yourself replaying negative conversations in your mind and then find yourself acting negatively the rest of the day?

If you find yourself in this situation it is important to understand the function of the brain. When someone speaks negative words, those words are processed in the brain and put into a file very similar to a file on your computer. At that point those words are only an option for your brain to accept as truth. The minute you repeat those words they begin to give your brain a directive to accept those words as truth.

In order to undo the affects of the negative words, you need to speak positively. This may take a few seconds or it could take several minutes. The length of time doesn’t matter. What matters is that you choose to replace them. You will begin to feel your body loosening up, your mind will begin to clear, and you will feel more relaxed. The brain has an incredible ability to rewire itself but it takes a concentrated effort on your part to make that happen.

Conversations That Promote Success!

When choosing which conversations to engage in, it is important to know which co-workers are healthy and which ones are unhealthy. It is fairly simple to identify both types of people if you listen to them talk. An unhealthy co-worker continuously focuses on the negative aspects of the company or job and a healthy co-worker focuses on the positive aspects. It doesn’t mean that a healthy person won’t get frustrated at times but overall their conversations will be positive.

A simple way to keep track is to get a piece of paper and draw a small letter "t" on it. On the right arm of the "t" write the word healthy and on the left arm of the "t" write the word unhealthy. Begin to write down names on both sides. Keep this list in your desk and when a new employee comes on board you can add them to the list after you have engaged in a couple of conversations with them.

Following these guidelines of assertiveness will empower you to succeed in the work place!

Author's Bio: 

Holly is a sought- after speaker, life coach, and teen mentor, who has an incredible ability of teaching people how to achieve their personal and professional goals. Her inspirational and life changing messages provide people with the tools they need to live above life’s challenges. For years she has been teaching people how to overcome the obstacles that keep them from moving forward in life.

Over the years she has worked for Bethany Home Ranch, a center for developmentally disabled adults, Devereux Foundation, and Catholic Family Social Services, where she discovered she had a gift for reaching people with physical and mental disabilities. She was also a Special Olympics coach. This has been one of the most fulfilling things she has ever done in life. She has a unique ability of connecting with them on a personal level and providing an environment where they thrive and grow as individuals.

This realization led her to pursue a career in sociology and psychology so she attended Walla Walla College in Washington State. By the end of the first year her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and she decided that conventional education was not the vehicle that would get her to her desired destination in life.

Holly changed directions and began mentoring and coaching people one on one. She began studying communication, because she realized that one of the main reasons people were not succeeding in life was their inability to communicate effectively. After several years of working with individuals she had a core desire to reach a broader audience. She began speaking for women’s organizations, church groups, and doing corporate presentations. Presently Holly volunteers her time as a featured workshop presenter for Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center in Phoenix, Az., and she speaks for corporations, churches, high schools, and teen organizations.