The Most Effective Way To Ruin Someone's Life — And How We Do It To Ourselves Daily

We limit ourselves, our employees and even our children without even realizing it.

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In the landscape of workplace environments, the meaning of what it means to be a successful boss running an equally successful company has continued to change. Now more than ever, individuals realize that empowering employees to work their hardest can positively impact the dynamics that can exist within the workplace. 

Sabrina Lloyd, author of Stand Alone: How to Be an Extraordinary Leader and successful entrepreneur and CEO, shared what it takes to be a great leader who inspires others during a conversation on the YourTango podcast Open Relationships: Transforming Together.


And she says there's one thing too many bosses do to their employees — and that employees often do to themselves — that sabotages their success nearly every time: Make them feel powerless. 

How to sabotage your success & the success of your employees with one common mistake:

As a leader, Lloyd strives to empower her employees and others she inspires. She ensures they feel as if they can solve problems, suggest changes, or clear obstacles without fearing consequences. Knowing they aren't helpless offers them an authentic form of power. In that situation, being able to move up the corporate ladder and succeed doesn't have to be a pipe dream, but a reality instead.


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"Instead of pushing out greatness, you are just so engulfed in yourself," Lloyd explains about the feeling of powerlessness. "If you wanted to ruin someone ... this is what you would do, you'd say, 'Be a victim.'" 

Whether it's learning to overcome or simply work with your learning disability, going against the systems in place meant to oppress us, or dealing with mental health issues, we cannot let challenges absolve us of trying our hardest to overcome them instead.

When we follow the narrative of helplessness or disempowerment, we strip away an individual's sense that things can be different and improve. As a CEO and business leader, Lloyd makes sure that this isn't something her employees and the people around her aren't hearing or believing.


"So then, what happens to that person is, why would you try? Why would you even put any effort into anything? You just wouldn't and then slowly, it starts to take a hit on your spirit, and that's not good," Lloyd observes. 

You can choose to empower yourself and others instead of rendering them less capable or influential.

As Lloyd pointed out, it's better to approach things with a positive mindset instead of stripping away a person's control and leaving them feeling helpless against adversities that they may face. This doesn't have to just apply to the workplace, but also from a parenting angle and personal angle as well.

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When people continually hear or experience things that make them feel like they have no control, aren't good enough, or can't do things, they might start to believe those things themselves. This can make them feel like they're not able to change their situation and make them give up easily.


As someone in the Black community, who has heard every and any stereotype regarding our capabilities and intelligence, it's easy to internalize those beliefs and feel powerless against the systems meant to break us down.

Instead of cultivating this mindset, Black people, myself included, choose to create our own pathways for empowerment. We encourage each other every day, reminding each other that the best of who we are is something to be achieved, instead of cowering and running away from.

We acknowledge the disempowering and harmful stereotypes and narratives but refuse to allow these negative perceptions to dictate our futures. Instead, we reclaim our narratives and redefine success on our own terms.



"Why waste time proving over and over how great you are when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow?" psychologist Carol Dweck questioned in her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.


"The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives."

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It starts from childhood and how parents can encourage their children.

While speaking with Quartz, Carol Dweck and other researchers found that teaching a growth mindset can often be traced back to childhood, and the key to instilling a growth mindset is teaching kids that their brains are like muscles that can be strengthened through hard work and persistence.

Rather than saying, "Not everybody is good at math. Just do your best," a teacher or parent should say "When you learn how to do a new math problem, it grows your brain." Or instead of saying "Maybe math is not one of your strengths," a better approach is adding "yet" to the end of the sentence: "Maybe math is not one of your strengths yet," Dweck told the publication.


By choosing this approach, children are taught to believe in hope and the feeling of being empowered even when things seem hard and beyond their control. Children can develop a sense of resilience, and a willingness to experience new experiences, no matter the odds. 

Whether you're a parent, business leader, boss, or just an individual looking to change your mindset so that you can embrace growth in all of its facets, through dedication and reflection, you can choose to shed away the victim mentality. Embracing this mindset can not only benefit you but inspire others around you to adopt it as well, creating a ripple effect that allows others to rise up against circumstances they deem too hard for them to conquer.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.