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Creating a force field … E-style

Despite all my best intentions, sometimes during my day I feel anger, hostility, resentment or even just unhappiness.

It can be at the post office, UPS, grocery store, online or at a meeting. I may be positive and feeling good about the world, and then suddenly something or someone crosses my path and spreads a cloud of negativity and angst.

It feels as if the more unhappiness they can create or spread, the better they feel about their lives!

When this happens in a family, discord almost always follows. Even the smallest issues or challenges become major insults or spark contention. Family unity is destroyed, and almost everyone feels the wrath of this negativity. People don’t want to be together, and what should be joyful celebrations become chores

In the workplace or in an organization, when a spirit of negativity or anger is present, everyone from the top down feels it. People start spending time reading between the lines in emails and memos. Motives are continually suspect, and a cover your assets mentality exists. Employees at all levels may enter into a defensive posture and, rather than building collegiality and teams, they create even more and stronger silos. Insinuation, innuendo and gossip become the chain of communication. The petty can become the primary, and the normal day-to-day workplace becomes a battleground. Not a healthy or friendly place to work.


So, how can we handle this?

How can we protect ourselves from the impact of these negative people and situations?

Do we have to go with the flow, or are there alternative approaches we can use?


If you watched “Star Trek” or any science fiction show, you likely know about force fields. In the film “Independence Day,” a force field stopped the invading aliens from having their ships destroyed. Force fields are invisible energy that, when placed around an object, stop things from penetrating. While I am not much of a sci-fi buff, I have always been intrigued by this notion. As an observer of human behavior, I have seen a version in action.

If you believe in the E-Factor and the power of encouragement, you already have a predisposition to the positive and the helpful.

You understand and appreciate how your attitude and approach to situations make a difference. You most likely don’t enjoy negativity and do enjoy the benefits of collaboration, cooperation and collegiality. When faced with a wall of unhappiness or angst, you may either make yourself scarce or try to lower your profile to survive. There are alternatives.

If you are a regular reader, you know I am a realist. What I am going to suggest as alternatives are tried-and-true methods that I have used or have witnessed. My goal is to provide you with reasonable ways to navigate life! If you are a positive person, I believe you will have a better quality of life and that you will be a powerful force for others!

So, how do you deflect negativity and chaos?

Create your own force field.

  • Make sure that you are feeling good and confident about yourself and your life. Center yourself every morning by spending a few moments in reflection, planning and creating an expectation for the day. I use this time to remind myself of my priorities and goals, to read or listen to something inspirational, and to get ready for day. If I am anxious, I try to identify the cause and address it. If I am feeling unhappy, I remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for. I visualize a powerful energy force around me that empowers, supports and encourages me. This may sound silly, but I know my force field works for me!

If I encounter hostility, I remind myself of my force field and try to determine if I can make a difference in the situation.

  • If I can, I give it my best shot. If I cannot, my goal is to minimize my exposure and involvement. If I cannot make it better, I will not make it worse!

Listen more than you speak.

  • Try to listen carefully to what is being said and use your detective skills to identify what may be the underlying issues. Is a colleague under personal stress, having a health issue or feeling frustrated? Listen, watch body language and try to figure out their motivations and issues.

Do not engage in gossip, group griping or bashing sessions.

  • Words have power and you want to make sure that your word power is protected! I am often appalled at how many good people allow others to spread untruths and rumors. If I hear a falsehood, I usually try to correct it. If I can offer constructive ideas, I will. If I cannot, I leave or disassociate myself from the negative situation.

Look for the good.

  • In every situation, there are benefits or potential positive outcomes. Look beyond the initial reactions and try to see either long-term or short-term benefits.

Finally, recharge yourself during the day, and especially at the end of the day.

  • Take a moment to reflect. Identify what successes you had and what went well, and then look at what you can do differently in the future. Identify future priorities, review your goals and expectations, and power up that force field as many times as you need to! My recharge may be during my lunch or an afternoon break. I may sit in my car or do it at my desk. I may journal or make notes, or I may just reflect. My goal is to remind myself that I can and will make a difference if I keep my focus and practice my E-Factor tactics!

We cannot always control what happens to us or around us, but we can control how we react to it.

Creating a powerful positive force field may be a little E-hack that enables you to survive and thrive in today’s world.


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