Scum sticks

I was watching my little girl drink her bottle tonight and something hit me.

When she’s having a bottle of milk, if she drinks it all quickly, the milk slips right out of the bottle and into her mouth leaving the bottle almost completely clean when she’s done.

If, however, she dawdles, takes her time, plays with the bottle, or doesn’t finish it and it goes back into the fridge – the milk has time to settle. A scum builds up around the bottle. It’s harder to clean, harder to remove and if it’s not cleaned off completely of course it would only grow bigger and, for want of a better word, more scummy next time.

Now while you clearly wouldn’t leave milk residue in a child’s bottle, it reminded me of the way I’m left feeling when I hang around some people. Negative people specifically. I feel scummy.

The longer I’m around them, the more scummy I feel, the more residue builds up.

The longer I allow myself to be surrounded by people who make me feel scummy, the harder it is to release and cleanse myself of the situation.

A colleague lamented to me this week about a difficult client. I gave her a way to politely and respectfully resolve the situation and told her to “release” the client. “I can’t!” she replied “she’s at me all of the time!”

You know why this client was at her all of the time? Because she’d let the milk settle. She’d gotten scummy and hadn’t cleansed herself of the situation. I was clear that she wasn’t going to be able to please this client the first time we met her and at that point in time I removed myself from the situation. My colleague wanting to please everyone (a comment she made herself) had allowed the relationship to continue too long unchecked and the residue was now too difficult to clean.

We’ve all been there – maybe a friend who brings you down, a colleague who works in the bleakest pit of despair right next to you or a client you simply cannot please.

Who do you need to release yourself from?

Kirsty Dunphey is the youngest ever Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, author of two books (her latest release is Retired at 27, If I Can do it Anyone Can) and a passionate entrepreneur who started her first business at age 15 and opened her own real estate agency at 21. Now Kirsty does lots of fun things which you can read about here. Her favourite current projects are Elephant Property, a boutique property management agency, Baby Teresa, a baby clothing line that donates an outfit to a baby in need for each one they sell and ReallySold, which helps real estate agents stop writing boring, uninteresting ads.


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