Several years ago, I was talking with one of my friends on the phone. We chatted about this scenario: He was working at a company run by 2 brothers. They were going to do something unethical. I let him know that he should be careful because they were brothers. Even though families may appear to be at odds, you are the outsider. As an officer of the company, if they were going to do something unethical, he had a duty to report that to the board. If not, they may try to place their bad behavior on you.

My friend left that company, as he should. Their lack of leadership and ethics created a problem that my friend was going to get blamed for. Their integrity was lacking.

People who operate in the dark: no loyalty, ethics, bullies, cowards all have one thing in common. They create a lot of chaos and confusion, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. In the end, they disappear.

People who do this appear to have the best intentions. Friendly, warm and inviting. It all sounds good, their proposal, offer or opportunity. In the end, they burn people, having no real relationships. You wonder how they survived in business or life at all. They con instead of collaborating. They get new people to buy into their vision because they burn through people like wildfire. They manipulate and control people to get what they want. When they don’t get their way, they throw a fit like a child, yelling and screaming and stomping their feet. Intimidation is their main tactic.

When shadow people are exposed, they become bullies, cowards and scatter like roaches. When you do the right thing, walking in integrity, it may cost you something. It cost my friend. It has cost me. In connecting with people, groups or organizations be mindful and watchful. Sometimes people connect with you because they know you are going somewhere. Sometimes it is because of who you know. Sometimes it is because of who you are. We definitely need to be careful about who we connect to. Other can try to waste your resources, time, energy and efforts. We can amass resources again, remount efforts, and clear energy. Time is a precious commodity.

We so often need to be careful about who we connect to. They can take your reputation, drain your energy and ruin your life. We need to be vigilant with our integrity. When you know who you are, people will gravitate towards your light. They try to figure out who you are. They test you. They try to ruin you since you make them uncomfortable. When you do the right thing, then they try to make it seem as if you are crazy. They bully, intimidate and resort to name calling hoping you will back down. These entitled connections feel as if you own them something like they did you a favor. The think you are like them.

These professional bullies leave clues: the blow ups, exclusionary tactics, avoidance, the way they treat people, thinking they are better or can do better than everyone else, and their conversations. They disappear and then re-emerge in a different format. Listen and watch, they reveal themselves early. When you see the signs, remove yourself from them immediately.

Are you willing to compromise yourself for something that you want? That’s where it starts, the first shortcut. Then onto the path of least resistance or no return. This is what these connections depend on. Then caught up in the insanity, you are now in a position where they can make you do anything that they want.

As an Entrepreneur, we need to stand for something. After their encounter with you, they remember. Being accountable to self and friends is important. When you think that something isn’t right or it sounds too good to be true, that’s usually the case. Consult your wise counsel, for they love you, care about you and want to ensure your success. They will tell you the truth. Surround yourself with people like you. Knowing who you are and being clear on you that is one of the first steps.

The moral of this story is: There is a fall guy. Be careful who you connect to and who connects to you. Your real friends and supporters surface from adversity.

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