Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

How To Know If Someone Is Negatively Limiting Your Leadership Success

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The people that you are surrounded by are either going to influence you in a positive or negative direction.

They are going to encourage you to rise & live your bigger life, or shrink internally & live a limited existence.

People bring an energy into relationships, that is either empowering or disempowering. 

The Harvard brain scientist Jill Botle Taylor tells her personal story of learning this, when she had a stroke that completely paralysed the left side of her brain (related to logic, language & rational thinking).

She was left only with the right hemisphere of her brain operating – essentially only allowing her to remain in the present moment.

She shares of her experience lying in the hospital room, not being able to understand what others were saying, but becoming acutely aware of their energy.

Some would approach her with empathy and kindness, while others would be cold, talking about her but not connecting with her.

She learned the incredible power of other peoples energy.

I personally had the same experience when I was going through cancer treatment.

The surgery and radiation cause intense fatigue. Many days I could not hold proper conversations.

People would visit, bringing over meals & flowers.

Some of them came in an energy of encouragement & positivity, while others were in fear & negative energy.

I became acutely aware of the energy others were bringing into my space.

The same is happening in your leadership.

In today’s episode, we’re talking about – how to know if someone is limiting your leadership success.

The truth is, the energy that other people bring into your world, is your responsibility.

They are either going to influence you in a positive or negative direction.

It’s important that you take a regularly inventory of the people that you’re spending most of your time with, to consider the affect they may be having on you.


Write down the top 5 individuals you spend the most time with.

Then ask yourself the following questions:

1 How do you feel around them?

How do you feel after you’ve spent time with this individual?

Do you feel encouraged, ready to take risks; even if you fail there’s emotional security within the relationship?

Or do you feel deflated, discouraged about life, unsure about your ability to overcome the challenges in front of you?

2 What is the quality of conversation you have with them?

Do you talk about topics that leave you feeling negative, drained & stuck?

Or do you find that the conversation is inspiring, encouraging & solutions based?

Is there room within the current relationship to change the quality of conversation or do they refuse?

3 How do they respond when something positive happens to you?

Are they genuinely happy for you?

Or are they negative & saying things like “I wish something like that could happen to me”.

Or even just silence with no response?


These three questions are a quick easy way to take an inventory of how you are influenced by the people around you.

As you’re doing the inventory, it’s important to be specific about how the individual makes YOU feel;

NOT how they make others feel or what others think of them.

An individual can behave differently depending on who they are around.

Many times leaders can be one person to their oversight & a completely different person to their team.


A healthy leadership culture teaches people to take responsibility for the energy & attitude they’re bringing to the team.

If you are in a position of influence over this individual, help them take responsibility for the energy they are bringing to the team.

But if you are not in a position of influence over this individual, or they have refused to take responsibility, then you now have to take responsibility for how much influence you allow them to have over you & how much time you spend with them. 

You will never become all you desire while your life is overwhelmed by people who are negatively draining your energy & putting limits on your life.

Value yourself enough to make the decisions that you need to make.

Now I’d love to hear from you, in the comments below,

How can you tell when someone is negatively affecting your leadership?

    Greta Cassanego Very helpful ! Thank you very much . I think the same principles can be applied when choosing the right friendships for you .
      Sarah Boyd Thanks Greta, completely agree! The principles apply to any type of relationship. Glad you found it helpful.

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.