Mastering Difficult People: Lessons from Parenthood

I asked the room a simple question: "Who here deals with difficult people?". Every hand in the room went up.


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“If you want plenty of experience in dealing with difficult people, then have kids.”

– Bo Bennett

I couldn’t agree more with the quote above.

Just when you think you’re a great communicator and skilled at handling people, your kids come along… 🙂

Raising children can take our ability to handle challenging situations to a whole new level. The tears, tantrums, thrown objects, and shouts—and all within the span of a minute! Parenting certainly teaches us patience and communication skills like no other experience.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at an event in a Q&A format. During the session, someone posed a common question: “How do you deal with difficult people?” In response, I asked the room a simple question: “Who here deals with difficult people?”

Every hand in the room went up.

Then I asked, “Who here considers themselves to be a difficult person?” Not a single hand rose. Interesting—while we all encounter difficult individuals, not many of us perceive ourselves as being difficult!

Undoubtedly, there are people who prove to be tricky to deal with. They may possess a self-righteous attitude, struggle to control their emotions, or have difficulty listening.

For me, the single most important aspect is how I handle myself – and central to that is having my focus fully present in the moment. It requires a conscious effort not to get distracted by what the person is saying or even by the inner voice within ourselves – this allows you to be assertive when you need to be.

This practice may be challenging, particularly under pressure. Yet, I view it as an inner skillset that resembles what top sports-people also have to develop to maintain focus and composure in critical situations.

As we navigate encounters with challenging individuals, perhaps remember the quote above. Embrace the experiences life presents, be it raising kids or facing difficult people. Each interaction offers an opportunity for learning, growth and self-discovery.

By cultivating presence, we can rise above the noise and maintain our calm, just like a skilled athlete in the heat of competition. It doesn’t guarantee success, but it does increase our chances of learning to be better at handling people.



PS – Most importantly, do a check to make sure you’re not the one being difficult!

New Podcast Episode: This week’s episode is out now – 128: The Power Of Sleeping On It.

Listen on my website here or on all major podcasting platforms.