By Debbie Peterson, Professional Speaker, Trainer and Mindset Expert for Today’s Professional Woman

I am a huge proponent of the Tribe, the Posse, or the Sisterhood, whatever you choose to call it. The people in your life that get you, that have your back, and who support you.

What do you do though, when you’ve got some “pruning” to do in that inner circle?

Realize not everyone is meant to be in your life. There are going to be people who don’t deserve a place in your life, or at least a place in your Tribe or Inner Circle. As a successful woman in business, you need to be surrounded by the A Squad and there are 2 basic types of people to avoid if professional success is your goal.

The first is the drama queen who creates chaos, They also generate the energy vortex you get sucked into whenever you’re around them. They thrive on the drama because it’s all about them and the more people attracted to that drama the more important they feel. I used to say that “I was really good in chaos” until I realized that was exactly the kind of people I was attracting. Lesson learned!

The second is the energy vampire and they just suck the life out of you! These are the negative Nellie’s (forgive me if anyone is named Nellie reading this…) who couldn’t say a positive thing if it smacked them in the forehead. They rain on everyone’s parade. Their negativity is distracting and toxic.

What you don’t realize about these kinds of people is that it takes up YOUR valuable energy, effort, time and resources just to be near them.  You constantly have to shore yourself up because they are constantly pulling you down.

What can you do? Well, a few things and some easier than others.

  1. You have to realize that is your choice to allow them to be in your inner circle. Even if you are doing nothing about them, that is still a choice. Once you understand this you have become self-aware. That’s the first step to making any change.
  2. Address it assertively. To be a confident, professional woman in today’s work environment you have to be able to draw the line in a respectful yet firm way. It may not be an easy conversation, but you have to let them know how their negativity impacts you. For you to be effective it’s important for you to be around people that are positive and supportive. They may or may not change as a result, but that’s not your responsibility.
  3. Make a conscious decision for your own well-being that you can’t spend time around that person anymore. And then don’t. But what do you do when it’s your boss or family and you can’t just cut them out? You may have to have the assertive conversation above and create as much distance as you can, limiting your time with them to the best of your ability.
  4. Know what you need and who you want to be surrounded by and then go find them! Not everyone that you encounter will be “for you” even if they appear to be at first. This requires a certain level of trust to determine and you’ll want to be careful what you share until then. The more clarity you have about who needs to be in YOUR Tribe the easier it will be to find them.

This is definitely quality over quantity. Be selective about who you let in. Women love to help other women and there is no better feeling in the world than having that circle surround you when you need it most. Notice the people you resonate with, who makes you feel better, who encourages you to stretch. They’ll show up when you ready for them.

Now you’ll be surrounded and supported by people who can help you keep your eye on the prize!

Until next time, here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve!