Breaking Toxic Patterns

Breaking Toxic Patterns

Sometimes it feels like we fall into a loop of bad luck or weird encounters. Other times when we are introspective, we may realize that these people or situations keep showing up due to toxic patterns. In this episode, I discuss ways to help you break those toxic patterns in your business.

Key topics:

✔️ There are a lot of tips out there for breaking toxic patterns in relationships, especially for dating. But what about business? Toxic patterns lurk in the business world, too.
✔️ Really FR being done with something means that, when given the chance to repeat a toxic pattern, we turn in a different direction and make a different choice. If we fall into “same ole, same ole” then we’re not actually done with it yet.
✔️ Not all money is good money. Sometimes the amount of stress and nightmarish nonsense a client wants us to accept is not worth it.
✔️ Consider the costs all the way around. What is this costing me emotionally, financially, physically, etc? Sometimes as business owners or freelancers, we only focus on how much money we’ll net, but don’t think about what we’ll have to do to get to the money. I’ve heard it said before that work is deciding how much of your life you want to trade for money and I felt that in my soul. So how much life do you want to trade? Be judicious about it.

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Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!


Welcome to the Causey Consulting podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Today I want to talk about breaking toxic patterns. Now, I feel like there’s a lot of information out there in the context of relationships, especially romantic relationships, but not so much about how this might manifest in your business. And then how do you get out of the loop? How do you break the cycle so that you can say, X, Y, and Z didn’t work? Well for me? How do I get away from it? What choices can I make instead, that could produce a much better outcome? The first step is kind of obvious. But it’s the type of thing that’s easier said than done. And that is to recognize the pattern or the habit itself. Again, I fully admit, sometimes it’s easy for someone else outside of your business to go, yeah, that you need to quit doing that, or that’s not yielding your good results, that’s sucking all of the energy right out of you. Sometimes when we’re in the thick of it, we really do get into that inability to see the forest for the trees, we’re in the minutiae, we’re trying to make sure that the books are balanced, and we’re looking at our ad spend. And we’re trying to outsource different things, we’re talking to our VA, we’re doing business, we’re in the thick of the business. And we may not always realize the interconnectedness. So the first step is understanding when you’re in a toxic pattern, or a toxic loop. Like GI Joe always said, knowing is half the battle, it’s really true. Knowledge is power. So being able to recognize a toxic pattern or a toxic loop, and evaluate it absolute step number one, in a business context, this could be a particular type of client, a particular type of project, maybe it’s a particular demographic of client, really, really large companies are really, really small companies, very young startups, or very well established highly corporate entities. If you come to realize that when you do work for a particular type of company, a particular segment in the market or a particular type of, let’s say, client persona, it doesn’t go well for you, just being able to have that knowledge and that awareness is crucial. Now I’m going to point something out. It seems like, as soon as you turn this corner of saying, no more, I swear, it’s like the universe will test you. I’ve heard people say the universe has a sense of humor. God has a sense of humor. There’s a great Yiddish proverb, man plans, and God laughs very true. Sometimes, I swear, it’s like you go, okay, no more of this. And the universe will test you. In a relationship context, let’s say that you’ve decided I’m done with bad boys, or I’m done with bad girls, I, you know, the tough image and all this stuff that’s been a turn on before I’m done with it, you know, I want somebody that’s going to be there for me. When the chips are down, I’m not looking for somebody that’s always down to go to a party always wants to play around and be fun. Like, I need somebody that can be serious, too. I need a soft place to fall. And so I’m done with the bad boys, bad girls done with them. I swear, the very next person that you will meet will be somebody that is incredibly handsome, amazingly gorgeous, that falls into that bad boy or bad girl image that you have sworn off of. And it’s like the universe is going okay. Are you really actually done with this pattern? Or are you just saying that you’re done with it like you’re gonna get tested. It reminds me of the Hebrew word for repentance, which is t’shuva and it means return, or to turn away. So the idea is, if we do something, and we really feel repentant for it, when we are in a similar situation, again, if we’ve truly repented, we will make a different choice. So if you’re presented with an opportunity to cheat somebody, let’s say that you have repented and said, You know, I’ve done some shady things in the past, I don’t want to be that person anymore. When you’re presented with an opportunity to cheat somebody or to run a con on them. You don’t do it, you make a different choice, that’s when you have actually repented. Whereas if somebody pays lip service to the idea that they’ve repented It pays lip service to the idea that they’re a changed person. But given the same circumstances to run a con, they’re gonna run the con again, then it’s not true repentance, what’s the same thing in our business with breaking toxic patterns, if you really are committed to breaking that pattern, then when the opportunity to repeat the pattern comes up, you’ll be able to make a different choice, not saying it’s gonna be easy, it may be difficult at first, but you’ll be able to prize your sanity and your mental health over whatever temptation it is that’s popped up. And I’ll use myself as an example. I remember after I made the decision that I’m not a good match for the very young startups who left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. They’re all over the place, the energy is frenetic. I thought, Nope, I’m not gonna do this. Again, it’s just for me, it’s not a good match. And it’s not worth it. I received multiple offers from young startups. And some of the offers were quite lucrative. I mean, there could have been a big pot of money involved. And I had to say, No, I had to prize my own health and well being as well as my ability to really produce a quality outcome, something that would make sense to both me and the client, I had to put those intangible things above the tangibility of getting a big fat check. I am money motivated. I think you guys know that if you listen to this podcast regularly, I run a for profit business, I like making money. I like attracting money. That being said, not all money is good money. And not all money is worth it, the amount of dirt that you might have to eat, you know, like I’m picturing a snake slithering around on its belly through the dirt like the you know, the amount of crazy nonsense that you might have to put up with in order to get the money. There are times when it’s just simply not worth it. And in order to break the loop, and to not get stuck in a pattern of Oh my God, not this again, oh my god, not this again, you would have to make a different choice. So that’s the second piece of advice that I would give number one is recognizing and acknowledging the pattern. The second thing is when we’re given a choice to repeat the pattern over again, we make a different choice, we can walk away, we can do things differently, so that we’re not stuck repeating the same loop over again, knowing full well how the story is going to conclude. The third thing is your boundaries can change over time. And that’s perfectly okay. In fact, I would say it’s quite normal. As we grow, we develop we mature, our boundaries, and the things that we’re willing to put up with the things we will accept and the things we will not accept, typically do change. I remember back in my 20s, when I got rid of a toxic friendship that I had been in for quite some time, a friend of mine was asking me about the situation. And I shared some details with her. And she thought she looked very thoughtful. And she said, You know, it’s amazing sometimes how things can be acceptable to us. And then one day we wake up, and it’s like, we see the truth, and those things are not acceptable anymore. And I was like, Yeah, I think that’s just part of adulthood, you know, as we, as we grow, as we develop, we realize like, I might have been putting up with some bad behavior that just doesn’t need to continue anymore. It’s the same thing in your business, there may be projects that you take on in the early days of your business, maybe you’re testing and beta testing, you’re trying to get your feet underneath you. Or maybe you’re just trying to get established, you might be in that kind of awkward phase that we all go through at the beginning of I got to get my name out there, I need to build up an audience, I need to have some kind of name recognition, I need to get a client base, I need to get some testimonials. You know, and if I’m saying that a little bit like it can feel that way. You know, it can feel kind of robotic and rote. Like I’m doing this because I need to I’m doing this because it’s the awkward beginning phase. But once we get out of that awkward beginning phase, then there may be projects that we would have taken on when we had only been in business for a week that when we’re in business for a year or two, we might just completely walk away from with the knowledge have been there done that I didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t for me. I can make a different choice this time. I’ll offer another example. That’s actually going to segue into my fourth point. So I don’t give away any of that. Hey, hey there, oh, buddy, old pal, or Hey, they’re old stranger on the internet. Could I have like 15 to 20 minutes to just pick your brain? No, no, you cannot. I used to get those requests pretty frequently on LinkedIn. As I mentioned in a previous episode, now it just seems like LinkedIn As a wasteland, so much of the short sort of the junk that I get, you know, the inmails and the Connect requests, they’re just from obvious sales people. So I don’t spend a lot of my own time hanging out on LinkedIn and sifting through things. But a while back, yeah, I got quite a few requests from people that just just want to pick your brain, how are you doing what you’re doing, and I want to get some ideas, and I want to get some free advice, or I want to have like a sample coaching session for free to see if this works out. And I just would always say no. And I had one guy that got incredibly offended and rude. I mean, honestly, I would say was downright hateful. And it it culminated in me having to just disconnect and block him because he just could not wrap his mind around the idea that I was going to charge for my time. How dare I, you know, it’s like, Yeah, well, buddy, I dare I’m in the business to make money. And I’m not going to give you my time. I also agree with Dan Locke on this point, that no good deed goes unpunished. And when we’re trying to mentor somebody, or give out free advice, outside the auspices of like a charity or, or an organization, it can go sideways, and it can have some repercussions that you’re probably better off not going through on your own. So I just say no. And as I continue to say, No, I don’t do this. Nope, nope, nope. I also chose not to focus on it because it was unwanted. I don’t want the 15 minute, pick your brain sesh. Like that’s not anything I want to draw into my life. So I would say No, and I would not focus on on that which is unwanted. And they just went away. I don’t get any of those LinkedIn messages anymore. And people don’t don’t come at me in that way. I also made it quite public that I don’t offer those sessions. And so I think people just kind of collectively get the point and they move on, though. They’ll go waste somebody else’s time. No offense, but it’s true. So I had a guy one time on indeed, that like literally invented a fake job description, sent it to me and said, Well, what I really want is 15 to 20 minutes of your time for pick your brain session. And I was like, No, dude, no, it doesn’t work. That way. You can buy a one hour chunk of consulting time where you’ll have my undivided attention. And we can get into any business topics, any business advice that you want, for that window of time, but I’m not going to do it for free. Never heard from the guy again, which is totally fine, by me. So as we get further into the business, we get further into the boundary sometimes change, I had one of those paid consultation sessions with a business and I will fully you know, full disclosure, it was a situation where the company was just a little bit smaller than my ideal demographic, not not much, but just slightly smaller than my ideal demographic. The owner seemed to be you know, totally pleasant people and they wanted to buy an hour of my consulting time for some HR advice. I agreed to this and I had told them up front I don’t do zoom. I’m not going to get on a video call you we can do conference calls. Or if you’re adamant that we have to use zoom for for multiple people in multiple places. You know, we can do it audio only but I’m not going to get on a video call. I don’t do video calls. Like I always let people know that upfront. So that there’s no surprise when it doesn’t happen. And I don’t know if they just didn’t hear it. I don’t know if they willfully didn’t hear it or what happened but they were not happy that I was unwilling to get on video with them. And instead of communicating that to me, you know person to person they decided to get on the platform that we utilized and and leave negative feedback for me behind my back. publicly, everything was great, but behind my back, they left some not so great commentary, which caused some headaches for me. Now it’s all it’s all cleaned up now. Suffice it to say I don’t take stuff like that laying down. I’m the kind of person that I’m not going to go to war over some frivolous nonsense, but you if I really feel like I got steamrolled, I’m not going to take it laying down. So kind of you know, newsflash, if you decide that you want to make war, that’s maybe not the smartest decision. But one of the thoughts that went through my head as I was so irritated with them is, is it even worth it? Like getting paid for one hour of your consulting time that’s not a linchpin of your business. It’s not something that you do often enough to have stress. It’s not something that you do often enough and it’s not lucrative enough for you to have to deal with somebody that is butthurt and Will shank you in the back over you not being willing to appear on video when you freaking told them that you weren’t? Like, is this worth it? And my conclusion was no, I’m just going to stop full stop with the consulting by one hour of consulting time. Like I need to be more focused on things that are going to bring in long term amounts of money, large amounts of money. And to me, being able to buy a 60 minute window of consulting time kind of was my way of being able to give back to people who could afford a one hour chunk of time, but maybe couldn’t afford to retain me on a more regular basis. And I learned a valuable lesson like, well, it’s just not worth it to me to have to go through the rigmarole of dealing with people for a one hour one shot, consulting call like, no, again, no offense to anybody, but my time is more valuable than that. It’s, it’s causing more stress than it’s worth financially and emotionally. So I had to, you know, draw a firm boundary there and say, that’s just not a service that I’m going to offer anymore. So that’s the final point that I’m going to make in this episode is you have to count the cost. And it’s not just the financial cost, it’s also the emotional cost, the stress, the labor, the time, the energy that’s involved. And when we have these kind of little small one shot one off deals, if they go well, then we can kind of say, all right, well, I got to help somebody today. And that was cool. Or, you know, I made a little bit of money to help somebody out of a jam, and that was nice. But if they don’t go so well, and something goes wrong, then we tend to feel super aggravated, because it’s like, Hey, I was trying to help this person, I feel like I was trying to do something good and decent at a reduced rate. And it’s somehow all went pear shaped anyway, we go, Well, what the hell is this? So as you’re working to break toxic patterns, within your business, you have to consider the cost, not just financially, but also emotionally. Is this really going to be worth my time? Is this really going to be worth my energy? Am I doing work that really puts me in flow, it makes me feel creative, it makes me feel energized? Where am I just kind of sitting here at my desk like, it’s money, it’s a check. It’s something that really goes back to the scarcity mindset. When we get into these patterns of I’m taking this just to have the money, I don’t know where my next check is coming from. I’m doing this. So I know I’ll have something. There’s another side to that. Right. The other side of it is, I don’t think there’s enough to go around. If I pass up this job offer, which I think is frankly, mediocre, I’m really scared that something awesome won’t come along to replace it. And it’s just the opposite. When we telegraph to the universe, I’m willing to take on mediocre poopoo jobs, just in order to have money, then we wind up getting more offers for mediocre poopoo jobs just for the money. Whereas men were able to shift out of that scarcity mindset and say, You know what, it’s okay. to aim higher, it’s okay to want more. It’s okay to want to only engage with clients who treat me with dignity and respect. It’s okay to say, you know what, I only do long term engagements. I don’t sell one hour windows in my time anymore. I don’t take on little piecemeal jobs where you just want me to do something for one week, or you just want me to do something for, I don’t know, a total of 20 hours over the next month like I really am focused on only engaging with clients who want a long term, lucrative, prosperous relationship. It’s okay to do that. And it’s funny because just as the universe will test you, are you really done with bad boys and bad girls? Are you really done with mediocre poopoo jobs? Once you’re able to draw that line and say, Yeah, I really am done, you’ll start to attract in higher quality, better caliber people, better projects, better jobs, better money, because you are putting the vibe out there, which so clearly says I am worth it. We hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you haven’t already, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you next time.

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