4 Steps to Charitably Deal With People Who Cost You Time and Money
I was recently in a situation where I had been confronted with the reality that an organization that is very important to me and my life purpose had serious problems. Basically, the root of many of these problems had to do with a person who was entrusted to lead this group, but was not the best steward of that responsibility.
As the data kept coming in of how much this group and what it stands for had deteriorated, I began to get a pounding headache. I rarely get headaches, but when I do there usually is an identifying stressor like this one.
I had to face the fact that getting this group back to health would take a significant amount of my time and energy, which I did not feel that I had. But because I feel so strongly that this group is critical to my vocation and primary responsibilities, I also could not see walking away and letting it completely fall apart.
As my head started pounding, I could feel my energy drain from my body. I wanted to take an extended nap and have everything go away until I woke up. I visualized the old familiar time vampire walking towards me ready to suck more time, energy, and money that I earn when I put the right focus on my business.
My worry turned at first to feeling angry that this person was not a better leader. But fortunately this morphed into compassion.
What I’ve discovered is that when people aren’t actively working on themselves, they don’t function properly. This can show up by being unreliable. Sometimes these people are in denial about their issues and the impact of their behavior onto others. This can lead to them projecting their issues onto others, where they attempt to make their shortcomings about you, not them.
The bottom line is that not having good self awareness and living mindfully lead to chaos in the person’s life. And if you are collaborating with them in anyway, this can lead to disorder and stress for you as well.
But the first step in charitably dealing with these people and situations is to recognize that everyone is trying their best. Everyone has a different receptivity to finding and addressing their core issues.
And you can’t control that. To be charitable, it is best to have compassion and empathy. But here’s what you can do. A big part of it involves exploring the situation to see how God might be speaking directly to you and calling you to action.
- Start by being skilled at recognizing these people and avoid relying on them or working with them closely. Start to spot language, patterns and evidence that indicate the person is not dealing with things in their own life, so you can stay out of their drama. Hearing the person talk ambivalently about their role can signal problems. Tune into victim words, like “I didn’t have a choice,” or “there is nothing I can or could do,” or “this is just how things are”. This language shows the person doesn’t feel like they have control over their life, doesn’t make firm and clear decisions, and will likely not take the kind of action that will lead to positive outcomes in whatever they are trying to do.
- If it is too late to stay out, cut your losses early. Create your exit plan. Decide what you’re going to do now that you know this person is not reliable, is an energy drain, or has a pattern of not directly confronting key issues in their own lives. Figure out the most authentic and kindest way to get out of being entangled with them in ways that leave you vulnerable.
- Pray how much you need to overtly speak your truth, primarily considering that person’s well-being as well as your own. Act on those promptings of the Holy Spirit. Often the person has limited awareness of the patterns they are engaged in because their loved ones lacked the courage to be open and honest to them in a loving way.
- Have closure. Learn from the experience and create a clear resolution that will allow you to avoid future similar entanglements.
Often it is through those delicate situations that God brings the greatest growth, healing, and positive connection if we rely on him for specific guidance on what to do next.
The Christian Biz Owners on Fire Biz and Life Tip for Entrepreneurs: Uncomfortable situations are not something to dread. Handling them well helps you be an evolved person and business owner who can serve your tribe in better and more effective ways.