We all know them: the nay-sayers, cheerleaders and realists – the people who can tear a dream down, lift it up, and evaluate it (and us) to the point of its perfection. More often than not, these people make up our elite team of sages…the wise counselors who help us navigate Life’s ups and downs.

Unfortunately, many of us haven’t mastered the art of putting people in their place – and as a result, haven’t mastered Life the way we’d like; usually leaving us with more downs than ups.

More often than not, when I speak with folks, they aren’t living a life they love or working in the profession of their choice. Many people are doing something that someone else recommended for them. Most are just drifting; stumbling from one job, relationship and mishap to the next.

However, there are those select few who know where they’re going and are headed there with purpose and passion. What do they have that the others don’t?

They now how to put the people in their lives in their place!

Now, you’ve likely heard this term before. It is often used when referring to putting someone “in check.” That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m not referring to shutting people down and cutting them off when they disrespect you. Nor am I referring to socially and emotionally restricting people to the boxes you’ve designed for them.

No, putting people in their place – especially when properly done – is a very harmonious, non-invasive process.

To put people in their place doesn’t require a shift from them, but within you. It starts with your perceptions and expectations of folk. To do this, you must know the difference between trusting people and judging them.

Trust denotes that you expect people to do what you know they can do, beginning with what they tell you (and show you) they can do. Because you’ve carefully assessed their words and actions, you know what to expect.

Judgment is different. Judgment is what happens when you condemn someone for not being who you think they should be or doing what you think they should do.

Trust says, ” I wouldn’t expect anything less.” Judgment says, “I expected so much more.”

The key here, in other words, is to know what you’re working with and adjust your expectations (and relationships) accordingly. It means understanding who people are, how they are, and what they’re likely to do as a result. It means not hating your mother for never supporting you or your sister for always sabotaging you. “But they’re my family, they’re supposed to love me…etc, etc, etc.” That’s judgment.

Family isn’t all blood kin – trust me. There are people out there who love you and adore you and want to be there for you. These folks are in your corner and have got your back…but you’ve got them in the wrong place.

My recommendation: Start taking inventory and putting people in their place. For more help with this, visit this site often for activities, articles and other resources.

As always, good luck and Namaste.