You are experiencing a beautiful day, everything is flowing, the people you are touching base with are a joy to be with, the birds are chirping, it’s warm, a gentle breeze is blowing, you’re not feeling stressed in any way.
You are introduced to someone who you feel is draining and sapping your energy from the moment you come in contact with them. You excuse yourself and move away. You feel over stressed even when you hear their name mentioned ten minutes later. These people are what I call ‘drainos’ or ‘stress vampires’!
Italian Vilfredo Pareto was a controversial economist-cum-sociologist who lived from 1848 to 1923. An engineer by training, he discovered something he called the “80/20 Principle”
He observed a predictable distribution of wealth in society; 80% of the wealth and income was produced by 20% of the population. He found this principle also applied outside of economics. Indeed, it could be found almost everywhere. Eighty per cent of Pareto’s garden peas were produced by 20% of the peapods he had planted, for example.
Pareto’s Principle can be summarised as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternative ways to phrase this, depending on the context, include:
80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.
80% of the company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
When we look at stress in our lives, 80% of the stress we experience comes from 20% of our interactions. The more energy we put into focusing on the no stress and low stress things in our life, the more relaxed we are and the more enjoyment we create in our lives.
The ratio is often skewed even more severely: 90/10, 95/5, and 99/1 are not uncommon, but the minimum ratio to seek is 80/20.
Pareto 80/20 Principle in Action
My great friend, Anthony Davis, from Brightwater Business Coaching, has an interesting way to categorise clients in his business:-
A – “Absolutely fabulous”: these are the great clients who do everything you suggest, refer, respond to communication, commit to long-term, etc.
B – “Beaut … but!”: these clients are good, but they just don’t get something. They don’t follow recommendations, or don’t refer anyone, or don’t quite fully participate – you know the ones.
C – “Common”: obviously less than your optimal clients with plenty of room for improvement. This will often be the bulk of your database.
D – “Delete / Disaster”: these are the clients who make everyone’s life a misery. The sooner you get rid of them the better.
Pareto’s 80/20 rule applies here. 20% of your clients fall into the A and B categories while 80% are in the C and D. What’s more, your B’s could easily become “Absolutely fabulous” if you simply tell them how.
Your objective here is to grow your A category to be 20% of your business. Then you will have a no stress / low stress business you and your team love going to every day.
Pareto 95/5 Principle in Action
It is amazing how 5% of the clients in any business can create 95% of the problems and complaints received. You can spend 95% of your time attempting to solve problems that only 5% of your clients are experiencing. These people are often referred to as “drainos”!
What to do? Move them on! Tell them that you have now done all in your power to support them and they would be best served by someone else. It is a refreshing breath of air that enters your business, the monkey has been lifted off your shoulders; you want to go to work each day; and your energy returns once these “drainos” have moved on.
This same situation happens in life sometimes with ‘so called’ friends, actually acquaintances, I believe. The key to removing the over stress, is to complete the relationship with this person now.
Their departure fixes the “hole in the bucket”, and you will no longer have an energy leak.
Pareto 99/1 Principle in Action
This is an absolute must rule that you need to act on immediately.
Occasionally, one of these “Toxic Stress Vampires” enters your space and attempts to hijack your energy and the energy of your relationships and business.
Remember, the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of 99 other people is at risk when one “Toxic Vampire” or “Draino” is let loose.
No matter how much these people are willing to pay for your services, the answer is always “No”!
These individuals MUST be let go and ‘cut loose’ from your world immediately, as they are masters at creating ‘distress’ in your life.
The funny thing is, as soon as you take on the position of holding the line that your life will no longer entertain ‘drainos’, not matter what, you stop attracting them.
Live the calm.
By John Hinwwood
for the Stress to Strength team