Secrets of Success I: Cutting the Cord

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Birds of a feather flock together, this old adage was drummed into me by my parents when I was a teenager to emphasize the fact that I needed to surround myself with hard working, determined, focused and accomplished people as that is what I sought to be. The truth is, this applies to everyone who seeks success, irrespective of age. For instance, the insight and knowledge I gain from being an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow is priceless and all my colleagues from across Africa have enriched my understanding of the continent and it’s challenges way beyond my expectations. I am so thankful to all those in my life who add knowledge to me, to those who challenge and stretch me, indeed they become a critical part of the journey towards achievement, or what some would call success.

Now, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela are clearly some of the ideal representations of successful people. But what drives a young girl like Orpah (as she was meant to be called) from the depths of a tough and abusive childhood to the heights of fame, fortune and global acclaim? Is there a formula for success? A roadmap of sorts that can help increase the chances of attaining that which is sought after by so many? It is my assertion that there is and I’d like to share my thoughts on success. I’ll start today with a focus on one of my pet hates – human toxicity.

It is a sad truth that there are people who are toxic. I am not referring to a physical state but rather to an unfortunate metaphysical condition. This is where a person feels it is necessary, nay, imperative, to constantly whine, criticize, belittle, ridicule, malign and abuse others with either the conscious or unconscious intention of bringing them down in spirit, and holding them back in life.

Whether a family member, an old friend or just an acquaintance this person leaves a bad taste in your mouth every single time you meet.  Each time you walk away from a toxic person your spirit is a little lower than it was before you met them. Your warm smile fades away and you soon end up with furrows between your once sparkling eyes. You feel like your energy has literally been sucked out of you, and everything that had so much potential and promise a few moments ago is now dashed against the dark and menacing cliffs of negativity. This is how you know a toxic person, they infect you with their toxic energy… and while it drains you, it feeds them.

Now I have a serious achilles heel, I cannot suffer rude, malicious or toxic people. That is one of my pet hates. No matter who you are, what you do, what you have – or for that matter what you do not have – common courtesy goes a very long way. And so I learnt very early in life to keep a significant distance from toxicity. I sought early in life to surround myself with people who give off positive energy, people who offer hope rather than despair, people who seek solutions rather than dwell on problems… people who dream great dreams. While critique and honest perspective is essential and critical towards the development of self, toxic people are negative for the sake of lifting their own spirits by crushing yours. They add little or no value with their contributions and only make the subject of their derision drown in a sea of self doubt.

I therefore believe it is essential to ensure you have people around you who can be honest, but are not seeking to dampen your spirits, or crush your dreams… people you can learn from, who are happy to either help you grow, or work at growing along with you. Far too often in life people are held back by the limitations of others. Instead you must propel yourself forward with the knowledge that sometimes as you move ahead it may be necessary to cut the cord of those who seek to hold you back.

I am told there is an African proverb that goes, ‘When there is no enemy within the enemies outside cannot hurt you.’ And so my friend, seek out the lights around you that glow and shine bright and stay close to them, for they will help light your own path to success even as others strive to block it.

Afro-optimist * Wife * Mother * Child of God TV Host * Writer * Producer * Entrepreneur * Philanthropist

42 Comments on "Secrets of Success I: Cutting the Cord"

  1. Rita says:

    WOW!This is great Julie…I needed to hear this.Cant wait for part-2 of this.Thank you.

  2. john says:

    Work well done. Thank you.. feeling motivated.

  3. o_wakwaya says:

    Nice piece. With this biting economy, most people are resorting to being toxic, whether they know it or not. People work but in their workplaces its just grumbling and mumbling about this or that. And you know this king of attitude can and does pass to other workmates. You come to work feeling upbeat but after a few minutes you have a heavy dark cloud dangling over your shoulder.

  4. Ary says:

    I agree! Well said Julie! That’s one reason I follow you – positive energy, surrounding myself with people I want to be like!

  5. Charles says:

    Nice read Julie……simply put your simply good

  6. felix simiyu says:

    great advice there:iron sharpens iron,wen u r around pple who think and act sharply u wil be sharp.

  7. Gina says:

    Spot on Julie! Very uplifitng! Thanks for breaking down this vice so clearly and for putting so beautifully into words feelings that we can not always express so clearly. Thanks for sharing.

  8. mercy milanoi says:

    this is very inspiring there moments i go to school with so much energy an within e few minutes i like someone sucked all the energy out of me, coz the grumbling an complains about the topic an teacher. But now i know better i need to stick with positive minded people who got the energy, motivation an focus to make it regardless the situation.thanx again for this piece it has really inspired me . Be blessed

  9. Mary Gichuki says:

    This was quite an inspitational read loved it. Thank you Julie for this

  10. poetic eve says:

    hey Julie…am gretful u touched on this subject.its been so good a read that i wish every person cld read.i subscribe to the same school of thought n eld neva sit wit such toxic personalities.its true they have this air around them of negativity that they sap all ua positive energy at the slightest opportunity.its thus best to avoid them as the plague.with all thats going on…we could all use some untoxic pple around us.thanx Julie n keep the fire burning!wil b looking out for part2

  11. edith kiilu says:

    a good one Julie

  12. Brenda says:

    Well articulated Julie! and uplifting as well

  13. Cheruiyot K. says:

    A nice piece of read Julie; toxic people are everywhere just like the air we breathe. I have UNDERLINED the sentence ” Whether a family member, an old friend or just an acquaintance this person leaves a bad taste in your mouth every single time you meet”. May these people see the light and be a blessing to someone instead of being toxic.

  14. Roselyn Kigada says:

    You have just raised what i see everywhere. We must learn to appreciate life and work at making the challenges we have manageable, with peace. I am motivated by you. I am in your school of thought.

  15. Elish Njunga says:

    Julie that was a very valuable advice I complete agree with what u have said.God bless.

  16. Elish Njunga says:

    Julie that was a very valuable advice I completely agree with what u have said.God bless.

  17. Human Toxicity.
    A good read on formula no1, waiting for the subsequent chapters. God Bless you Sumira you are God’s Gift to mankind

  18. Cutting the Cord:
    This is great process if i can follow step by step am sure i will succeed too. Thank you

  19. Judith K. Opiyo says:

    Toxic people are struggling with personal issues and have low self esteem. In order to feel important and improve their egos, they tend to take cover behind their victims. They are worse than Cancer and Aids. Steer clear of them as a plaque if possible otherwise prepare for your destruction. Don’t give them the pleasure of poisoning your life rather in their presence be deaf and blind! They aren’t there, period.

    Do your thing and make sure you excel at it. This will infuriate them and they’ll let you be. Belittle their effort to ruin you and sure enough they’ll let you be. Don’t befriend them, from my personal experience it never works. Just love them as God’s creation and nothing special. Make sure you succeed, a few will come to seek your counsel and by then, you are already a big thing.

    Toxic people hardly realize their God given potential because they waste a lot of time minding other people’s business not their own. They suffer from some avoidable complicated health issues which are directly related to their state of mind and heart!

    Toxic characters think that the world is against them when in actual fact they are their number one enemy. Run away as fast as you can lest they despair and commit suicide when you succeed. Money and wealth is good however peace of mind surpass all.

    Stay Blessed and have a warrior’s spirit and heart.

  20. Nkurunzizah says:

    That was so encouraging! I lack words to sufficiently express just how critical to rebranding and reinvigorating my hopes you are. And the part where I need to detach from them toxic was truly a million dollar piece of advice. Thanks! You continue to rock and glow!

  21. Nkurunzizah says:

    Kindly check a mail I sent you.

  22. Prisca says:

    A great piece that’s worth the read. Keep them coming, eagerly waiting for the next part.

  23. Maggie says:

    your seasons are like a movie the difference is movies are fiction yours is real. You open your world for others to see you then and now! this particular was spot on. The toxic people are among us and we need to weary. Very inspirational! waiting for next part.

  24. pius says:

    Nice, great and inspiring piece, keep them coming if may..Than you.

  25. gathitu leah says:

    julie u always inspire n generate motivation inside me n datz y i flock wit u n appreciate dis piece of success.av bin in a tearing situation bt flocking around people who understand n encourage me, ma situation z more than a blessing right now n am not the same person again coz av grown n am stil growing 2wads another level of life

  26. loise says:

    you are such a motivation and inspiration julie:-)wow thats the reality toxic people really drain ur energy and alwz make u stagnate in life!!i just loving it simple and clear:-!

  27. Judy says:

    You are right, Julie. Sometimes keeping a distance from toxic people is the way to go. I got so many dream-killers on the day I decided to pursue my dream : to be the Word Bank president. I am keeping away from the toxic people and working hard towards my goal. I always make sure that I am around people with positive energy, like you :) . God bless you, Julie.

  28. Achieng says:

    You have truly blessed me with this article.

  29. Ray c says:

    All who havb this mentality of blessings come by only helping materialy should seriously stand to b corrected…this is the way to go..i like it…am waitin 4 part to eventually the book itself.be blessed..

  30. hellen says:

    WOW that’s so great. Thank u Julie n may God bless u

  31. Halima abdikadir says:

    Wow!thanks for the lovely inspiration.

  32. Letty says:

    So motivating….I’ve got all the reasons to cut the cord(s) irrespective of the source of attachment. May God bless you Jullie as u continue with sharing the success secrets….not everyone does it at no cost.

  33. martin lukupesi says:

    julie u r such a blesin n an inspiration 2 many…we celebrate u!

  34. jane says:

    Hi, Thanks julie, I guess i feel more strong after reading the secret of success.I happen to go through some hard time with this kind of people recently ,feeling heartbroke and hopeless. is NOT good. God Bless you julie.

  35. Cece says:

    This piece rings an all too familiar tune in my head. Toxicity! I can imagine such toxic individuals being leaders or in managerial positions….begs the question: how do their teams/ individuals progress?Nice read.

  36. kinyua says:

    I want to be you when I grow up!

  37. Glory Kinya says:

    very inspiring

  38. Ben Kairu says:

    I like how you bring it out. Its deep, fresh and revolutionalizing. Thanks for being a blessing.

  39. kamau njenga says:

    Awesome read…
    I should say very true indeed!

  40. John G. says:

    Awesome revelations here. I always try to avoid the ‘toxics’ and the one thing I’ve learned about this battle is that some of us are sub-consciously proclaimed (if such a term exists) rescuers and always want to up-lift the chicken at the expense of time that would have been spent flying with the eagles. if you are such a one as me, CEASE!! God has Jesus for that duty. Keep on Julie.

  41. mark says:

    Great piece Julie.

  42. Mohamedhadi says:

    This is Amazing piece of Advice Julie… thank you, it will ring in my ears for ages.

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