Don't Let This Relationship Undermine Your Success

“The opposite of love is not hate– it’s indifference.”
– Steven Pressfield

Megan approached me as soon as I left the stage.

“Karin, I’m so with you on this not losing your soul thing… I resonated with everything you said… but for me it was the reverse.

I wasn’t losing my soul at work, I was finding it.

You see my boyfriend was always tearing me down. Or worse, acting like everything I was accomplishing was no big deal.

I would come home from work so excited, but the minute I started sharing my day, he made me feel like crap… like I was stupid to care that much.

I really love my job and I’m good at it. I know I’m making a difference.

My manager started really paying attention to what I was doing. Seeing my potential. Investing in me. Encouraging me. Giving me opportunities.

My confidence was growing.

And that felt good.

When I tried to explain all that to my boyfriend  he would roll his eyes.

I tried to talk to my mom, but she said maybe I was a workaholic.

She cares about me and wanted my relationship to work, so she took his side.

But one day it hit me.

He was scared of my success and my new-found confidence.

I tried to help him understand for a long, long time. I encouraged him in his career too.

I finally had to leave.

I feel like I’ve regained my soul.

I’m so much happier.

Been there. Amen sister.

Don’t Let a Naysayer Undermine Your Confidence

God knows I’m no relationship expert.

What I do know is that I am asked almost every day to help high-potential women show up with more confidence.

There are many factors at play.

The unspoken challenge some of the women I work with face is that they’re dealing with a naysayer:  at home, or in the next cube, or in the form of a childhood friend threatened by their success, or even lingering words of someone who’s no longer around.

There’s someone in their lives with their own confidence challenges questioning their next move.

If this story sounds familiar you are not alone.

How to Outwit the Naysayers

If you have a ground swell (or even a spark) of confidence building up in you… don’t let anyone talk you out of it.

  • Surround yourself with people who claim their own confidence– do everything you can to encourage one another
  • Limit your exposure to the naysayers
  • Create boundaries with the people you love to limit confidence-crushing conversations
  • Take time to acknowledge your own success and growth– write down your personal and professional accomplishments, even the small ones
  • Identify the situations where you feel more confident, notice the behaviors that are working for you in those scenes and try them in other environments
  • Do something that scares you every day. Nothing builds confidence faster than succeeding at something that scared you

Remember, an important part of confident humility is to know that other people’s behavior is almost always more about them than you. If you’ve got a naysayer trying to undermine your confidence, throw some compassion their way– but don’t let their negativity impact your growth.

For more discussion and tools on the power of confident humility in getting results that last, read or listen to or book, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul.

Also, our Winning Well online course is now live! Contact me  for a demo, or to talk about getting a discount for your team.

Posted in confident humility, Winning Well and tagged , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. Love your insights Karin! I have had friends in my life who tried putting me down for my ambition or successes while trying to raise themselves up. Your point about their behavior is more about them than us is so true. We really need to honor who we are and connect with people who see our value and potential. I have attempted to dump the toxic people who live to destroy others. Also, we need to commit to being mentors to those around us who yearn for our support and guidance.
    Thanks Karin!

    • Terri, Thanks so much for sharing your journey! Love your point about being mentors to those around us who need support in this arena.

  2. Great points here, Karin. I was particularly struck by: “Create boundaries with the people you love to limit confidence-crushing conversations.” Because these are the people we love, we often fail to put the same boundaries around them that we would with other people. We’re trained from a young age to “listen” because they are the ones who care for us. Ironically, these people can be the most toxic when it comes to giving advise because they lack the same filters we expect from our friends and colleagues. Great point!

  3. Great post indeed & well done … Karin.
    Goodwill and confidence can be earn by many acts but it can (may) be lost by only one.Actions speaks louder than words and finally you can see a lot of things around simply by observing and keeping yourself “Alert”.
    Zafarmanzoor, Sr. Executive, FFC, Pakistan.

    • Zafarmanzaar, I love your point about staying alert! That’s clearly half the battle, noticing what is really happening.Thank you!

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