Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Have you ever felt like someone was leeching off of your hard work and success?

Whether this person attends your events and tries to poach your leads, or someone is unfairly piggybacking off your hard work, dealing with a business leach can be a sticky and uncomfortable situation.

(Note: this is different than business copycats, which we covered in another MarieTV episode here.)

I believe we all need to challenge ourselves to handle tough situations like this with more directness and compassion. We need to take responsibility for what’s happening in our world, and then take appropriate actions from a place of love, clarity and respect.

Click play for my take on how to deal with a business leach who’s riding off your success.

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Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

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Have you ever dealt with a business leech before and if so, how did you handle it?

What worked and what didn’t?

Was there a specific insight from this video that really hit home for you?

Share your specific feedback in the comments below.

This can be a tender subject so leave your feedback in a way that inspires and instructs us all to move ahead from a place of love and compassion.

I’m looking forward to hearing your perspective on this!

With love,

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  1. Hey Marie, that was a great video. I was totally caught off guard as I didn’t expect you to call Jane out for not having confronted her colleague!

    So now a question comes to mind and am wondering if a similar answer applies to it. There is a guy at the gym that totally stinks. If he is using a machine, then I cannot approach a machine in a 2 m (=6 ft) radius.

    I always have to adjust my training because of him. I guess I have to talk to him about it? I thought about that but the problem is he smells so bad that actually coming close enough to talk him would be almost unbearable!

    • Maria, I don’t know why but your comment made me laugh so much. I think we can all relate to that scenario. Apparently people get to a point where they’re so used to themselves where they can’t actually tell that they smell (it’s biological apparently). He’s probably become so used to his ‘personal fragrance’ that he can’t smell his own funk. I think a polite conversation is the solution.

      Marie, I love your tip on being clear, compassionate and honest. It really is essential when handling a situation like this.
      Sometimes people don’t realise when they’re leeching off of others and communication is the first step to creating clarity for both parties involved.

    • Hi Maria, I can just picture (smell) it. When this kind of thing happens I consider this: If it’s really true that there are no other people in life and if that were me there, how would I like to be approached? Somehow this always helps me speak from the kindness in my heart. 🙂

    • ana

      If he stinks that bad, Maria, I’m pretty sure other people have noticed too and you’re not the only one being put off. So how about talking to whomever is in charge of the gym? It’s their business, and they might have come across a similar situation in the past, so they’re probably used to handling sticky/smelly cases. Good luck!

      • Sheryl

        I love this idea Ana! I think the best thing to do is get someone else involved in a positive way… someone who has some influence or authority. He may listen more clearly and be more open to solving the problem.

    • Erin


      If I were you, I would not approach him. Ask one the people who work at the gym to say something. That is what they are they for…it is their job to help maintain a pleasant atmosphere for everyone.

    • LMAO!
      A stinky -oups I mean sticky- situation indeed!

    • Gemma W.

      I can empathise. But assuming he’s showering each day, it could be a medical condition because if he showers daily then he shouldn’t smell that bad.

  2. Marie,
    Thanks so much for the advice…if I ever find myself in this type of sticky situation I will be that much more aware of the best way to handle myself while being compassionate + tactful!

    • I agree. Give people the benefit of the doubt first and act with compassion (they may not know what they do). But this could also be a chance for this girl to step up her game so she doesn’t feel so threatened by the situation. Everything that challenges us has the ability to open us.

  3. First, LOVE the Billy Madison clip! One of my favorite movies ever! Second, I hate leeches. (Seriously, why were they invented?) Annnnnd I hate confrontation. But I love your advice about approaching her like a sister or friend. It’s frustrating to work hard at developing your own content, connections etc. only to have someone come along and take advantage of all your hard work.

    We had a situation where we kept bumping into the same person going up for the same leads a few years ago. We decided to join forces and go after jobs together, which worked out really well for a short period of time. It allowed us to keep an eye on the leech and we ended up getting some great work together.

    Thanks for the kick-ass video!

  4. Hi Marie,

    I’ve never been in this situation myself, but if it ever happens, I hope that anger won’t stop me from being compassionate. I hope I will talk to that person the way I’d like others to talk to me, with respect and kindness.

    By the way, I love your dance. Do you actually know what the song say: “give happiness to your body Macarena…” ; )

    Un abrazo Marie

    • Yes! Compassion is the main point I walked away from here. Sometimes- people are just eager & naive. No need to humiliate them.

      • I walked away WITH here! “From” is a whole other other thing. LOL. Note To Self : Proof Read before hitting “Submit”. Lesson #2 of the day :O)

  5. Love the advice Marie – I’m a strong believer that dropping your standards (no matter how much you want to) is a very bad idea – always be the better person in difficult situations.

    I’ve encountered this problem in the past and I actually ignored those who was hijacking our success – we upped our game and by the time they could catch up we were on to something different.

    There is usually enough work and cash to go around – it’s about HOW you make yourself different.

    Thanks Marie!!

  6. Hi Marie,

    Thank you for this great video (again !).
    I never had to face that kind of situation but hating conflicts as I do, this video will help if confrontation comes my way. I can sometimes feel weak in situation where “villains” are involved, because I would have no clue how to behave in a non-confrontational way.
    Great advice as always !

  7. I love the sisterly and compassionate approach. It does so much better for your heart and mind than thinking everyone is out to get you.

    I think they call it reverse paranoia so that you think everyone around you is out to help you become a better person or to help you achieve your goals. It may not always be obvious at first, but when you operate from a compassionate mindset, you’ll often find the reason/lesson behind the situation.

    It’s also good to separate the action from the person. Something I also do with my kids. You let the other person know you are upset at what they did, not at them.

    And finally, maybe there’s a way to collaborate instead of compete? As we always say, there’s more than enough for everyone. You may achieve more, earn more, sell more by working *with* each other.

    • Jayme I love the wisdom in your reply, I think you got to the heart of the matter and the idea of “reverse paranoia” is a new term for me, thanks!

  8. Hey Marie,

    I have dealt with a business leech. In my situation, it came up with another coach in my networking group. I’m the Couple’s Coach, and he’s the Spiritual Coach. Two weeks in a row, he asked for referrals to people having issues in their marriage, even though we had already discussed that relationships were to be my terrain. At first I was PISSED, and ready to let him know it. Instead, I called a meeting with the group’s VP and asked for a meeting. The three of us sat down, I explained why I was upset, the other coach listened, apologized, and asked how we could have better delineations in our referral requests. The meeting ended on a cohesive, friendly note.

  9. Christina

    Been there, done that.

    But what’s to, when the colleague won’t change her ways? We confronted her with her behaviour, she saw her mistake and.. kept on doing the exact same thing.

  10. And that’s the thing: 100% responsibility for all that goes on in our life. No one is coming to save you – you have to take care of these things yourself.

    Good point, Marie, that it’s an opportunity for Jane to step up and speak her truth in a compassionate way (even if she wants to scream STOP STEALING MY STUFF, WOMAN!!).

    This kind of thing always pings my “but it’s not fair” radar and evokes a big reaction from me so before I even really do anything, I check myself and make sure I’m not coming from that place but more of a “what can *we* do to change this?” approach.

    Thanks, as always, for your advice. (And thanks to everyone else, too! I love reading the collective wisdom here each week!)

  11. Jayme,

    Great, great comment. I love the “reverse paranoia.”

    Marie, I think your approach makes so much sense. As much as repeated unethical behavior will make you crazy, it’s always better to approach the confrontation with a calm and rational approach. Not only does this make the outcome more likely to be successful but it helps those who do not like conflict to frame it as a conversation and not a confrontation.

    • Thank you LC! <3

      • Awesome space to live in. There’s an actual term for it… Pronoia.
        It’s the suspicion that the Universe is conspiring on your behalf.
        And, indeed it is!

  12. Hi Marie!

    YES YES!!

    This happens to me A LOT & has really taught me some BIG lessons about life, trusting the universe & biz skills.
    At the beginning of my internet marketing career i did a lot of things for free, but under the assumption that I would get paid – like I was just showing them what I knew… and this would go on and on, they implemented everything I told them (artists with zero internet marketing knowledge) and I recently saw how much they were thriving & making $$$ from my ideas (eg having a LIST)….
    Lesson: Let it go. You do not want to be around these types & the karmic depravity!

    Another situation – Family member – I did a TON of work for (paid) & once they were up and running, I was cut off.
    Lesson: Take it as a sign that it was not meant to be, and use the skills you learned for building your biz even more (got 3 new, bigger clients as a result of space created)

    Bonus: Yesterday I spent a lot of time helping people who did not know much about online marketing – just free info, help & tips… and then someone jumped in and pitched their services hard core.
    Lesson: Trust that the more you give, the more you will get back – back to karma. These “leeches” do lose out in the end, when their lack of biz ethics leaks out in other ways. Trust the universe.

    Great video, tough lessons to go through at the time – you really just want to annihilate them! But you are right… don’t. Use your own ethics to raise the bar.

    Nina x

  13. Great advice Marie, especially on the ask and LISTEN part. I know for myself that often times the way *I* perceive a situation is totally different from what it appears to the others. So, IT IS important to get into another person’s world before judging and taking defensive measures.

  14. YES! Most of the time, we don’t speak our truth because we’re afraid.

    But seriously, what is fear? False Evidence Appearing Real–but when we’re scared we think fear means F**k Everything And Run!).

    Speak up! This is your life, you have the right to live it fully out, fully free.

    Course in Miracles has a great teaching: I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide on the goal I would achieve (chapter 21). Rock it like you mean it, Robin

  15. Hi Marie,
    This was a great video. Thank you for showing how it IS possible to bring a higher level of response that is empowering for you and compassionate for the other into a business situation. It works in all areas of your life and it’s great to see it seeping into the business world. You go girl! Trailblaze the path to a higher level of consciousness in biz.

  16. Great advice Maria

    I have seen it quite a bit in the corporate world, but everyone seems to be aware and comment on it behind their back, I think it’s best to bring it up as you say, I know it’s hard to believe but some people really aren’t aware of their cheekyness!!

    I have a lot of patience and spend a lot of time helping people in a office environment but there would probably come a time when my head would spin and I’d have to say “SORT IT YOURSELF, JUST FOR ONCE”, yep – sometimes the “baby birds” just take too much, ha.

    Totally agree with Ameena’s last comment.

  17. Stephen "Steve" Q Shannon

    Gotta join the “early birds.” Invited a co-worker to a near-by park (bench) and shared my concerns. It resonated so well, to this day, in front of others
    she talks positively about what we talked about 20+ years ago. The behavior changed and stuck. Way better result than I had hoped for. The receiver has to receive. Read them thar facial muscles as you proceed. No receptivity? Try again later. Marie: Issues with “scarcity.” Well said. Huge
    in fact. You might enjoy a newer book titled ABUNDANCE…the antidote
    to scarcity “syndrome.”

  18. Great thoughts Marie! It can be so easy to play the victim roll in a situation like that. Looking at the issue as a compliment to your own success helps too… And killing them with love is always more fun as it’s so unexpected these days! Excellent advice! Love ya! -Laura

  19. Loved this video. The problem I have though is I don’t like confrontation and I do find it difficult to stand up for myself, even though I know I should.

    I know this is the fear talking and I do agree it is our own responsibility to address any of these issues we have. To let things fester and continue doesn’t do ourselves or the other person any justice. I have a situation at the moment I need to deal with but unfortunately I tend to withdraw.

    Thank you for this timely reminder. It has forced me to take action.

  20. Meaghan

    I really enjoyed the compassionate end of this video .. when you suggested the ‘mood or tone’ with which “jane” could take to resolve the situation. It was very encouraging. I was listening to
    two men talk about business last night at the gym .. they were talking about how you have to be a killer in business and wipe the other guy out to get ahead, how that’s just ‘how the world is’ , that the world is a rotten place … rah rah rah .. I felt so pleased to be connected to a community that doesn’t subscribe to this old paradigm and is into graceful yet firm resolution… thanks again as usual .. M

    ps my gym is fragrant challenged too Maria .. in this case I approched the gym manager in a kind way rather than the person directly as I didn’t feel it was my responsibility to deal with him directly and felt a male worker would prob be more appropriate … yep .. i wormed out of it!

  21. Hi Marie,

    In my experience, this “type” of person is generally found in any pool of salespeople. Usually there is only one and everyone knows who they are. Focusing on her generally brings the energy level down and really doesn’t change anything, because they usually do know what they are up to.

    Ignore her and “up your game,” like Ameena mentioned. She can’t poison the well, if you don’t let her.

    🙂 Nicole

    • Jane

      This is the Jane from the video. I love Marie’s advice, and everyone’s comments. Thank you and keep them coming! The fact of the matter is, this other representative knows exactly what she is doing. She HAS been confronted about her behavior but she’s just a shark & doesn’t care! So guess what? We all stopped working with her. Moving on and up is the best way to go!

      • And thats really the best plan if thats how she rolls. Good Job!

  22. My fave advice: ‘Give her the benefit of the doubt!’
    You might wanna check out author Scott Rae and his books on business ethics!

    • How giving! I’ll check out those books thanks 🙂

  23. A

    Hey Marie (and everyone),
    I’m in B-School, and I’m sure we’re going to address this topic, but seeing this video made me feel really self-conscious. I have lots of lofty goals for developing my biz the way that I truly want, and fully aware that there already people out there who have developed very similar offerings that I want to develop. Here’s where my insecurity lies — someone already doing the very thing I want to do contacted me to help with her program, since I’m so well positioned to do it. I declined due to my own workload and time, but also because I was creating my own business plan similar to hers. Now that I’ve had an actual conversation with this person and maintain a client referral system with her, I feel hugely guilty that I’m trying to do something similar. I realize competition is good and that people need choices, but it’s hitting way to close to home for me. How do I deal with this feeling / go forward?

    • Wow! This seems like another Q & A Tuesday question… Marie has tackled this before, but you bring up a really interesting twist on developing similar business. I have office friends who won’t even “friend” me on Facebook because we are in the same business, but in general, I don’t think that kind of limiting thinking “works” out in the world, given the big generous universe out there!

      • A

        Thanks Nicole, you are absolutely right – it’s a big generous universe! I’ll try to keep reminding myself of that 🙂

        • Kari

          I think another thing you can remember is that even if on the outside it looks like you are doing the same thing, I bet is actually really different. There are all types of coaches out there, but none have your unique perspective. She might coach people in one way but you would actually coach them in a different way.

          Its kinda like having a twin (which I do). We were both raised exactly the same but have very different perspectives on life. If someone were to go to here for advice on a subject and then come to me with the same question they would get two very different answers.

          • Thank you asking that questions “A”, similarly I worry about stepping on other peoples projects/business etc. But I know in my heart that I am doing something completely different, therefore if the name sounds familiar the content or story is unique. So, yes I agree with everyone responses :).
            All the best,

    • I think that part of your ‘guilt’ is that you know you’re starting this new biz/offering but you haven’t told this other person. When the time is right (you decide when) you can let her know that you’re also going to be offering a similar service (just the generics, no need to give details). You may feel more open and guilt-free then. Also, REALL important is to become fully confident in what you offer and WHY! Your confidence, your mission, and your passion all stem from WHY you do what you do – and that is ALL YOU (no competition there). Embrace it and live it!
      Marie: A beaufitul, elegant, and generous response the question. Thank you for being such a great role model!

    • Barbara

      A –

      I have no direct experience with this, but it sounds like the two of you are on good terms and know each other’s work. I know Marie has talked in the past about thinking about colleagues instead of competition. Do you really want to target the exact same folks as she does? What is your unique twist that would make folks choose you over her? (Or vice versa.) Maybe the two of you could collaborate on some projects and also work with a separate client base on others. Maybe she could even wind up being a mentor. Thinking about how your business will NOT be the same as hers, then chatting with her about your plans and dreams, might be a great experience.

  24. I once had a sous-chef who took catering jobs on the side — nothing wrong with that, I guess, except that he used my recipes!

  25. Having a conversational and non-confrontational dialog with the other rep is good advice. Honestly seek their point of view — they may not be playing by the same rule set you are.

    It may also be good to model correct behavior — for example one might say to the offending sales rep, “I’m going to be helping [another independent salesperson] out with her sales event, but of course all the actual sales at the event and leads will go to her, because it is her event. Then she’ll help me out with the next event I am planning.”
    Or if you plan to team, or co-host the sales event with the other person, then discuss how you plan to divide the leads and sales etc. The point is to introduce to [offending salesperson] a route to fair play.

    It may be that [offending salesperson] is bad at planning events, but good at closing sales. Awareness of the facts may suggest new ways to collaborate with them in the future.

  26. Uggg. A few months ago I had one of my massage competitors use my personal name as a key word for their google ad! God only knows how long it had he/she was doing this.

    I made sure I got a screen shot and I didnt get a chance to asked what’s up with using my name? Because the ad is now gone.

  27. Fabulous advice Marie – particularly the part which is about staying compassionate, as well as honest. To try and see the best in the other person first. it’s so important to have these conversations in a way that is respectful. Avoid doing it when you feel upset, as it will come across wrong.

  28. This happens all. the. time. in my child psychotherapy business. People I refer to for other services for my clients tell the family “Oh, we do psychotherapy, too, just have it all here as a ‘one stop shop’ rather than go back to Susan.'”
    And since these folks aren’t working with me in the same business, we don’t really have any platform for ‘heart to heart chats.’
    So, what I do is just work harder and be better than they are. And guess what? The clients COME BACK to me!! : ).
    Sometimes you can’t sort these things out and I agree, that the behavior is in no way personal. You just need to do what you need to do to stand out despite the perceived obstacles in your way. No one can stop you from being awesome!

  29. Love your answer Marie! This sort of thing happens a lot in my industry (photography) with newer photographers coming in and charging pennies for their services then I hear constant complaining from the established photographers saying that these new cheapies are stealing customers. I get really tired of listening to the complaining to be honest. I just try my best to offer advice and support to new photographers to let them know that they can charge more for their services. I think most of them are just operating out of fear and don’t feel that they are worthy to charge high prices. anyway, thanks for your video, it re-affirmed in my mind how I handle these issues 🙂

    • Not worthy is a key feeling in newbies. I know this from the fact that I started a tutoring business last year and started at 25/hr as compared to others who were at 45+. (I differentiate myself from the HS and College students who are doing it as a side buck for 10-20). Now I am ready to raise my prices but I feel insecure doing so. It really is a struggle to overcome impostor syndrome.

    • Ina

      Yes Kelli, I was thinking about the same. I think often when you’re starting out there is not a huge amount of support from more experienced people in your field. Which then leads to the newbies not being sure if what they are doing is right and trying to get info and leads wherever they can. And of course undercharging (therefore undermining) the whole industry. To seasoned pros this looks like an attack, but if they just included the newbies a bit more and gave them advice etc, they could become confident so much quicker and the problem would cease to exist because they become pros soon, too and charge appropriately. I find it funny that there is this “everyone for themselves” attitude in the creative industry, which doesn’t really serve anybody. I do believe there is enough for everyone out there. And if we helped each other we could push the whole industry forward so much more/better. I am happy to hear that you are working from this angle and help them out where you can!

  30. Lucienne

    super video – us humans can be odd. First reaction to a situation like this is to “take someone out” “teach them a lesson” and so on. Compassionate communication is the lesson in itself……

  31. This advice is so smart! Often when we catch someone doing something unethical, we start bitching behind their back about it to our colleagues – which only exacerbates the problem. I usually will take it up with an email – always kindly worded. Recently, I had someone lift something from my site and copy an event I did not that long ago. I was shocked an appalled because it was someone I was friendly with. I quietly wrote her an email – which seemed to upset her and she was full of excuses initially. I then gave her an out – a way to fix the problem. And voila – she did – and now we are both happy. Très simple! Direct but kind interaction is always the best.

    A book I HIGHLY recommend is “Non Violent Communication” by Marshall Rozenberg. It’s not aimed at the workplace but it has shaped a lot of my communication skills when dealing with sticky situations.

  32. I love the approach of being honest, compassionate and straightforward rather than angry and confrontational. When has the latter ever been effective? I’ll definitely remember this one and use it when the time comes. Thanks!

    As for new professionals who charge way less for services you’ve been providing for years (see above comment), that is an issue that comes up a lot in my profession (communications). It’s really hard to deal with because companies these days are substantially trimming marketing/communications budgets and so they tend to favor the lowest price over the higher price, which often comes with higher quality and results. It bothers me, but I just need to remind myself what my services are worth and hope that my clients will see the difference and stick with me.

  33. Love your advice Marie!
    If everyone would act and behave like that the (business) world would be a better place!!! 🙂

    Thanks for the video,


  34. Hi Marie,
    Thank you so much for bringing this subject up! I have been guilty in the past of being such a doormat for clients and co-workers that I actually burned out on running my business. Learning how to set healthy boundaries was the medicine the Doctor subscribed! LOL It’s not very comfortable to confront people for any reason, but once I stopped being so defensive and stared putting myself in there shoes, it got easier. Also nothing feels as bad as avoidance. You said something in an article that need to be repeated ” Just F#$KING do it!” It feels great to clear the air, but only if you let go of the anger and are will to forgive. This is a real lesson in confidence.

  35. Great advice – and remember that when asking anyone to change their behavior we not only have to tell them what we want them to stop doing, but also what we want them to do instead. We are really good at knowing what we don’t like, but so often I’ll ask clients what they want instead and they get stuck. They only know what they don’t want – they don’t have a clear picture of what they want to replace the old behavior with. So we don’t want others leeching our sales leads. We probably do want them finding their own leads and leaving ours alone. Or maybe we want them to ask for help generating their own leads. Or maybe we’re happy to share our leads if only they’d ask. Have a great week everyone.

  36. Hi Marie! 🙂

    What a great topic! I just love your perspective on this and the advice you gave, particularly the part about approaching this woman as a sister/friend, in love, and essentially giving her the benefit of the doubt instead of accosting and accusing her. When we’re in these types of situations, it’s so easy to want to accuse and be harsh, because we feel like we’re being taken advantage of and treated unfairly, but that usually only makes the situation worse. Your approach is great, and will definitely get the better response. 😉

    Great tips!


  37. Hi Marie, thanks for sharing this video! You give some really good advice, and although I have never had this happen yet, I now know how to handle this situation should it ever arise.

  38. Maria —
    I admit – I’m worried about BEING the leech.

    I work with WordPress — building sites for people. There’s a plugin — a free one — that does a great image galleries. But you can’t do social sharing using it. It’s just for viewing. I really wanted to give my customers a gallery with sharing buttons for Facebook and Pinterest and the like. This lets their viewers talk up their images with a click. But I’m not a coder, so I paid to have the plugin created. I want to sell it. If you were the person who built the original gallery tool for free, wouldn’t you be STEAMED? Here comes this tiny web designer from nowhere and sells an add-on that works off your free plugin. So what should I do? I want to sell the plugin because I had to pay to have someone build it for me. I am thinking I could donate the first $1000 to the guy who made the gallery. Or just ask him if he wants to sell it on his site and keep at least half of every sale. Well, if you or anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears. I never really thought about being the leech until this post hit me like a wake-up call, like, OMG, what if the leech is me???

    • Joanne-

      Is there a way for this to be a benefit to the free plug-in guy? Would he be interested in buying it? Perhaps he would like additional passive income from his plugin? If it were me, I might feel “steamed” for a moment, but then I would try to understand how it could benefit me and my customers especially if you were discussing it with me first. You know, he might be steamed, but it sounds like you’re into including him. It would be different if you just ignored him.

      Right now, it’s the unknown that’s freaky. So either way, I think a conversation with him would be good. The way to live with our biz practices is to be transparent and not have to feel defensive about anything. Even if his response is weird, you can still move forward with confidence (baring any legal restrictions?).

      BTW, your dealio sounds interesting and with an inventive mind like that you’ll do very well. 🙂


      • Natalie
        Thank you for your suggestion. I love the idea of just opening a conversation with the guy who made the original free plugin. He may well like the idea of passive income – he says openly it is hard to keep maintaining something for free.

        Much appreciate your comments on the inventive mindset. I hope to learn how to do well – so glad to have just discovered Maria.

    • Joanne, Leeches spend as little of their own time or money as possible to get what they want. You on the other hand, noticed a lack in a product you used, spent time deciding what features a better product would have, and then paid someone to make that improved product. Improving something, whether free or not, doesn’t seem like leeching to me. I don’t know the why’s, wherefore’s, and how-to’s of improving an existing product but I don’t think you have to worry about being a leech.

      • Michelle
        Well, thanks for the other way of looking at the work – as an investment. If you are a business coach yourself, your clear point of view is very helpful to others. Thanks so much for commenting on my fear of being a leech.

  39. amy

    Thank you Marie for all your episodes! I’d love to leave a question for QA tuesday- but cannot find the place to do so on your site. I have a question about how to turn away business in a professional way, without burning a bridge. I have a client who continues to say they have ‘sent payment’ but it’s been three months and I have yet to see it. I’m a photographer and have an opportunity to rebook her wedding date with another client, but feel guilty doing so. Please let me know the best way to submit my question without having to do so on this feed! So sorry! Thanks again!

    • Louise

      It’s Louise and I work with Marie. We love receiving possible MarieTV Qs. Send yours along to [email protected] and we’ll add it to the list.
      All the best,

    • Hi Amy,

      Marie has answered this exact question… It was last summer maybe? I think the title was very similar to your question…

      🙂 Nicole

  40. The idea to give people the benefit of the doubt is a great one. As hard as it is, your suggestion to get in to a calm friend or sister state and open with a variation of “I’m not sure that you realize how your behavior looks to others…” is a great one.

    In the event that this person knows exactly how they are acting and what they are doing and keeps on doing it even after your “come to Jesus sister chat” I like what Steve Brand has to say about not getting even, get ahead in his post here:

    • Thank you for this link. It was very helpful.

  41. Challenging to implement, but really good advice. I have an inkling that I may be on the other side of this. In developing my business, the method of modeling people who are successful comes up multiple times as a valid way to grow a business. You know, the “find a successful person and do what they’re doing.” I have to say that I found a website that’s in the same industry as mine that I know is successful financially. I’ve recently been modeling some of my product offerings after what that site offers to increase my income. This seems like leech-like behavior or maybe it’s more copy cat, because it does feel a bit unauthentic. Then again I don’t want to be the martyr and make my goals more difficult to achieve. However, when I do a product review it does come directly from me, and I wouldn’t offer a product I didn’t think was worthy. I think I need to sit with this since it’s bothering me. And, perhaps I should send this along as a question for you Marie. Thanks for the thought-provoking vid.

  42. Cathy

    Great episode, as always, Marie! It is always best to take the high road. However, “Jane” needs to make sure her District Manager watches this episode!

  43. Once I won an award for a website and so was getting a ton of traffic to it, and this gal published a site about the same topic that was nearly identical only a few days later. I don’t know really ‘know’ her – we are just members in a common online network. She was clearly well aware of my award, had even left a compliment on my webpage before trying to duplicate it. I felt angry but did not confront her. Few of us enjoy confrontations yet I see her as one who smears her promotions in such a ghastly way that she’ll likely cook her own goose in the end anyway. In some cases (like this one) when I feel relatively certain that a confrontation will benefit no one, then seems best to just let it go.

  44. JP

    Maybe this works with “leeches” who are basically decent people, but it’s not only a waste of time with anyone who’s deliberately leeching, it actually makes things worse. Been there, done that. Oh, and the “others” could care less when the “leech” deliberately undercuts you because they can get away with it once they understand that *you* are a decent person.

    • John H

      My point exactly.. below.. be careful people.. some people are just shit heads.. and it can ruin you .. even if you pray every day and don’t hurt anyone…

      • Yes, some people are that way on purpose. But I really don’t think it’s the majority. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt to have a “hey, do you realize??” conversation works with someone who doesn’t realize. With someone who does realize it does two things. One it allows you to suss out the facts of the matter. Two it gives them the heads up that you are aware of what they are up to.

        The thing of the matter is that going all war like on them just brings you down to their level, creates stress in your life that you don’t need, and usually doesn’t get you any farther ahead. It usually makes you look like just as much of a jerk as the original offender.

        With that said, you don’t have to roll over and play dead. Quietly, patiently, and persistently get ahead. Don’t let the other person get into your head. Avoid resentment. Do your best, be helpful to others, and you will thrive. If the environment is so cut throat that you can’t thrive without being a jerk (to use polite language) then maybe the best thing to do is to cut your losses and find a better place to be.

  45. Great advice. LOVE the compassion. And- that Peter Pan collar is killing me with the cuteness!

  46. Hey Marie, as usual, good, sound advice! I have never officially dealt with a business leech before. However, I did have a woman once almost steal the title of one of my webinars. She was nice enough to ask me beforehand if she could use it for one of her programs to which I said no. I did so in a kind way that was not defensive, which I think really helped the situation. Did I originally want to “go off” on her so to speak for even thinking about taking the title? Yes! However, I knew this person and understood that she wasn’t trying to be malicious in any way. Instead, what I tried to do was point out that she needed to tap into her own creative genius to better her own business. Thankfully, she had no problem, and the situation was quickly resolved. I’d like to think that if this situation ever arises for me again I would handle it in a similar fashion.

    • This one is a perfect example of a time when perfect to speak UP, done with integrity and so resolved quickly, great!

  47. Jane

    This is the Jane from the video. I love Marie’s advice, and everyone’s comments. Thank you and keep them coming! The fact of the matter is, this other representative knows exactly what she is doing. She HAS been confronted about her behavior but she’s just a shark & doesn’t care! So guess what? We all stopped working with her. Moving on and up is the best way to go!

    • Cheryl

      “Jane” glad to see you are sticking up for yourself by refusing to work with this person especially after you stated your case. Now you can move on with a clear conscious that you have stated your business, you know her true motivation and you spoke your truth.

  48. Hi Marie,

    Yep … sane advice alright … no point going out all guns blazing … it had better be a truly effective gun.

    I will just say that just a few more words from you on how to handle ONE’s OWN feelings before you go attack others would have been welcome. But then, what’s there to say? Each man for himself. Or herself.

    Great video, yes, just a tad shorter than I’d have liked. You are, as always, a great counsel!

    Personally, I do know of probable leeches. I just don’t worry about them. I am happy if I am merely able to do my work. My work speaks for itself, and once it does, there is generally not much of a chance for anyone to leech on me. So there you are.


  49. Anastasia

    Hi Marie,

    Loved this video. My question for you is… what if the leech is your boss? Situations go down like so: boss asks for input in writing, then takes what myself and team have submitted and submits it to the VP under her own name. As if she created the desired proposal sans assistance from team. I have heard her pass off my/our ideas in leadership team meetings as if they are her own, and listened (through gritted teeth) as leadership praised these ideas as HERS – she does not correct them or give credit to the team. In four years, I have yet to see credit for a single proposal, and the boss lady’s praise from leadership seems to keep coming. We are on a treadmill while she is on a rocket ship. Other than CYA documentation style or leaving this job, does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

    THANK YOU!! 🙂

    • That’s a total “Working Girl” situation. Tess McGill is my hero!!! I say- rent it for morale :O)

      • John H

        Get the teams feeling of the situation.. confront the boss away from the higher ups as a team Only. Use Marie’s tactic of compassion and forgiveness and don’t threaten her. If it doesn’t work.. 2 options left… go to work for someone else.. or go over your bosses head as a team… Good luck.

        • John H

          ..Of course.. a boss is usually a boss because they can lead.. so how long has your boss been getting all the credit?… A deserving team wouldn’t let it happen for too long and would get fed up… unless the competition in the team is healthy and big… BUT… An effective leader can be very inspiring and deserves a lot of credit if the leadership qualities promotes and grows the team for positive production. Maybe you should go into business for yourself or simply get a better job.. don’t worry… I’m in the same grueling situation.. I wish you the best of luck 🙂

    • There’s a great book I recommend for all my lovely corporate ladies in a job

      Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers:

      Chock full of great scripts and wisdom about the corporate world – including great scripts to say if someone is stealing your ideas.

      I don’t work in corporate anymore, but I still get SO much out of this book for navigating dealing with people.

  50. Awesome advice as always, Marie.

    Jane’s situation reminds me of a time back in the 90s when I was a member of a workers’ co-operative running an organic veg and whole foods delivery business. We divided the city we were working in into 5 areas, and had an area each to manage: generating leads, dealing with customers, taking orders, making deliveries, chasing up payments, and customer relations.

    Four of us had delivery rounds that were almost doubling every week. The fifth guy? Was stuck at the same number of customers for two whole years, yet he got paid the same as the rest of us and had the sme decision-making power. Not the same kind of leech as Jane’s dealing with, but definitely a leech.

    Several of us tried to talk to him about it one on one, asking for his feelings about the matter, sharing how his behaviour was affecting us individually and as a business. In the end we had a whole co-op meeting to work through what our boundaries and goals were as an entire co-op… You can guess what comes next, right? He didn’t even show up for it. In the end, the rest of us left gradually, he brought in friends who had the same attitude, and within a couple of years the business had collapsed.

    Not a very uplifting story, but sometimes you do come across people who just can’t see how their behaviour is affecting others, or don’t care (or are too scare to let themselves see) how their behaviour is causing them to be perceived by others. In those situations, after trying your best, the only thing to do is cut your losses, learn your lessons and move on to better things.

    The positive? I learned a HUGE amount about group dynamics, and setting and managing boundaries from the experience.

  51. John H

    This is good Marie but some people are just shit heads with greed backing them!

    I think .. no matter what.. people know when they are doing wrong or performing shady practices. And an important aspect about it to understand fully is… They do not want to be confronted or told it’s wrong at all when he or she already knows it’s wrong and he or she is trying (and wanting) to get away with something that is not deserved…

    So Maria’s approach is probably best if you decide to confront the person. But possibly confronting a person like this may not be the best thing to do because… What if he or she is NOT honestly making the mistake but rather.. doing it on purpose?..

    I believe, if you decide to confront the person at all, it’s best to be sure that nobody else is listening in and be sure not to confront them with another person around unless the most important people are around and everybody already knows what this person is doing and what he or she is capable of. If somebody else hears the confrontation and the cat is not out of the bag about this person, this person could become threatened and decide to do something even more sinister to you just to clear his or her name before it’s commonly known what is actually happening..

    At any rate, I would say don’t jump to any conclusions without facts first because judging a person incorrectly is not right either. Somehow tip off another person whom is trusted (without this person knowledge of being tipped off) so that you are not the only person who knows. Wait to see what happens.. more importantly.. wait to see if this other person comes to you for advice or to vent (try not to let them fall victom if the whole thing turns into some sort of trap). Have physical proof, if possible before making any confrontations. Be nice like how Marie’s video explains and know for sure if the person is doing it on purpose or trying get up to speed because they lack experience or time (for a good reason).

    If it’s a matter of using somebody’s free material?.. Well free is free. Make sure the free material is the best of it’s nature and prepare for more exposure instead feeling threatened that somebody may be taking the lazy way. Feel proud that people look up to you. People certainly can be swayed if they lack experience or knowledge but those who are Go Getters (you know, the one’s who matter and will make you $$)… always make up their own minds and it doesn’t matter how good the presentation is.

    What it comes down to is if you got your shit together (Or not) And whether people like you (Or not). Get on the shady side of that and you may fool a few but you won’t last unless your just good but even then… you’ll loose eventually. Find a way for people to like you if your working hard but still getting the bad end of the stick and don’t give up unless it becomes very apparent that your in the wrong business (keep an eye out for the fork in the road and use the escape route when it’s presented). Don’t beat yourself up for quitting if the right people presented the wrong path for you.

    Nice video Marie… You are the bomb baby!

  52. Elena

    You daring little Italian B-school deva! I so agree with coming straight out with what is- eye to eye- and personal. Bet you will find that it works or not depending on the personality traits of the *competition*. Ethics smethics to some types…shaming about what people think too.

  53. Awesome suggestions as always Marie!

    My major “hit” on this for anyone struggling with sticky biz situations:
    *Speak Your Truth!
    (Not what you think the other person wants to hear and not even necessarily what you perceive will ‘make everyone happy’. Just share your simple, authentic truth. Creative solutions always have a way of following truth-tellers.)

    And in my opinion, it starts like Marie shared, with having a healthy relationship with yourself and clear boundaries.

    I just posted up a free report “6 Mantras to Manifest a Healthy Relationship” on the blog today if any of you ladies are into manifesting with ease! Much love to you Marie and to this community.

    Love and Blessings CEO Goddesses!
    Diana Dorell

    • Emily

      Hi Diana,

      One of the things I love about the community that comments on Marie’s (delicious, insightful) videos is the way they share their experiences. They return me to points Marie made in a way I might not have noticed and they expand the conversation.

      If I resonate with what they say, I can follow the link on their names to go find out about them and their offerings.

      But by promoting your work — which is even unrelated to this particular video — it feels to me like you’re missing Marie’s overall message here.

      I’m sure you care about your work and are trying to share it with as many people as possible in hopes of being of genuine benefit. But promoting yourself in this way looks (not necessarily is, but looks ) like scarcity and leeching off of Marie’s community.

      I’m speaking my truth with kindness and also with the wish not to be promoted to in the comments.

  54. Erin

    Hi Marie,
    I appreciate you highlighting the fact that the person had not taken accountability and done what was within her control to do.
    I do agree about confronting the person in a non-confrontational way as that can very well back fire.
    Although, I do not agree with giving people the benefit of the doubt. The reason is that the whole “giving people the benefit of the doubt” (with all do respect) is kind of a higher-than thou way of thinking. As if you are better in some way and you are going to be so gracious and give this other person a chance to prove themselves. And, as you said, we have all made mistakes, or done or said things knowingly or unknowingly, that we wish we could take back.
    The bottom line – and I think what you mean – is that you do not really know the other persons intent. And,you do not want to assume you do know, no matter if its good or bad. You want 2 things- 1) the behavior to stop; 2) to find out the type of person you are dealing with – is she actually a safe person, just not awake, or a narcissistic sociopath- someone who is aware but just does not care about anyone else. (These people do exist- I am sure you have met a few.)

    So I suggest approaching it more like I was confused by the others display. Like, you just do not know, but you just want to clarify with that person how it is effecting everyone around her. Kind of like the stinky guy at the gym mentioned above. Done in a very sensitive manner and should be said so too. “I want to talk to you about something sensitive. It’s about (insert topic here – and be specific.) Is now good time?” (That way the person is not caught off guard and can say yes or no giving them power to choose when she is ready. People want validation and control – this gives the other person that feeling.)
    When they say yes tell them you really do not want to make them wrong for how they work their business, and that they have every right to do it they way they want to.. (yes every right) but you are confused…are they aware of how her actions are effecting her colleagues, and then in turn her relationship with them. And ask her if that is what she wants.
    This is where you will find out the intent of the other person. If she cares, she will likely be embarrassed and will begin to notice her own actions and make some changes. If she doesn’t, well, you will know that too and you can ask her if she is okay with dealing with the consequences of it.
    As you said the person may not be aware and that way you are not placing or assuming their intent. The conversation, needs to be open and safe for both parties. This person is not the other persons sister, and it does not sound like they are even friends…so I would not approach like that. Approaching like a stranger is better for both parties. It keeps things business, not personal, because even is the person is doing things on purpose, it really is not personal. And they may become friends out of the conversation.
    She may not be awake…and she also may be fully aware of what she is doing.

    One incident I had like this was with someone that was supposed to be my friend who did this to me. I had sensed she was going to do something and confronted her prior and told her I was okay with it if that is what she wanted – I just wanted to know up front – so I would not be taken off guard. Although awkward for me – I would get over the feeling. She said no no no. And then went to do it anyway. And when she called me to tell me, she was laughing (being high on her -what she thought was- a “win)…she’d hoped it would work in her favor. It did not. (Which did give me the last laugh. :)) But she had lied to me- straight faced. She then proceeded to tell our mutual friends that I was freaking out on her about it, making it out like I was this crazy person, when in fact I hadn’t. Luckily, I had spoken to one of them before she called me…so that friend saw the duplicity. Even called her out on it. But I have to see this person now & then at weddings and other gatherings. I just do not talk to her anymore. The leopard showed her spots. And, unfortunately, most people do not work enough on themselves to change. That is the reason I love this community. Because for the most part, I beleive everyone here does want to change and be better people. If only they knew how…hmmmmmm 😉

  55. Barbara

    So right, Marie.
    Sharing your feelings in a non-blaming way and then listening to the response. This is nonviolent communication big time!
    Wish it came naturally, but it requires practice.
    Thank you for Marie TV. It is mind blowing. And so is B-school!

  56. Tracy

    The craziest thing about watching this is that my daughter told me the exact thing last week but it was how I was to approach my boss. I have been in the industry I am in for over 14 years and 6 months ago took the leap, got the courage to go in a different direction with the help of my daughter to come out of my comfort zone to be happy again. I decided to get out from behind the desk and meet people face to face ( I am a people person , chatty and help this new up and coming company move down to the big city, from Whistler to Vancouver. There have been things that needed to be discussed wiht the boss but it was getting frustrating so with the pep talk form my daughter she told me to approach him in the way that you just explained in the video.. not that he was wrong, that what he was doing was something I have already done and it WON”T work, also teaching him that he needs to read the whole email, just not skim through. She told me to approach it calmly and positively, showing him what had happened in the past and giving him options so he still is in control and making the decisions… My daughter has her own blog and we are trying to save to get her into your course, she sent you a video but better luck next time and SHE WILL be in your next course. I just think it is SO wonderful all the tools you have provided people like her to help others get Better out of life with a much better attitude. Cheers

  57. Cynthia Adkins

    Marie, I agree! Assume good intentions, and have an upfront talk about it, in business and in the rest of life. With practice, it gets easier. Thanks for the good advice!

  58. You are amazing. I adore this approach – being honest and communicative is the way to be.

  59. Hi Marie,

    Great video! I love how professional you are while you make fun, have fun and do it all with humor. You have continued to show me how humor makes it easier to get our /your point across.

    Yes I have had this experience. Often our avoidance of an issue is what keeps it happening. Like the way you bring up the dirty “R” word… RESPONSIBILITY! My fav word!

    Keep it up,
    Love ya! <3

  60. I have been using this “you’re my friend” approach for years in my personal life and it works like a charm.

    I would add, do make sure that you come across as genuine.

    Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of this method (when I really was just clueless and needed a kind hint) and those who talked to me were a bit too “sister-friend” when they normally weren’t nice to me, and it came across as super-duper-bitchy-hateful.

    If you really are coming from a place of kindness, this method works wonders for resolving conflict without all the…conflict.

    Great vid, Marie!

  61. It is important to always know who you are talking with. To some degree the advice Marie suggested can be effective with the right individual (the naive one, not aware of what they are doing).

    However, it may not work with the person that is deliberately doing the “leeching” or worse the one competing with you.

    In certain sales & business environments (trust me, been there done that), it can be cutthroat. When someone is purposely wanting to “beat” you or steal your thunder, they may want to see you react to their “leeching”.

    So again, know who or what you are dealing with before you waste your precious resources (you getting angry, emotional or even being too compassionate).

    Be smart & trust your intuition…

    We tend to know better than we think sometimes. 😉

  62. Marie,

    Your A to this Q really struck me, as you clearly demonstrated that being ‘human’ first and ‘business’ second is the key to success in any situation. Great display of professionalism and compassion.

  63. oooh honey! be very careful! I have been in the beauty industry for years and you must handle this delicately. Marie’s advice is great just be sure to have your your intentions in order. If this woman has a problem with ethics she will go to your district manager and have a chat. Just be prepared for this.

  64. Marie, I’d really love to know what you would suggest is done about “social media leeches.” I tend to regard social media space as a community space rather than a bevy of “business leads,” but let’s be frank: I don’t visit someone’s Facebook page to learn about a bunch of other people who populate it with their links. I visit that Facebook page to learn about that person and follow their links/quotes/etc. I’m noticing an uptick of people who post to my or other people’s spaces (Twitter, Facebook, even in the comments of a blog post, etc.) to promote themselves. I’m in alignment with doing something about it–speaking up, blocking the person/page, etc.–but as you can imagine, in the online world this can start to become almost like petty monitoring. You would be my personal hero if you created a video on why this behavior is not serving the people who do it–I’d happily redirect people to it! 😉

  65. Marie
    Great comments and advice. A lot of women run from confrontation–making us passive aggressive, and frustrated–but confronting the problem can easily fix a problem like this. There’s a professional cool way to do it, and you showed us how. Love your quirky openers on these videos. You inspire me and so many other women entrepreneurs. Keep it up!

  66. When this happened to me I thought the other person may be afraid to operation on her own, so I offered to mentor. The result: she asked me questions I missed, she offered ideas I missed.

    Eventually she started to generate leads of her own and would ask me to join her in the client presentation. We became allies verses adversaries. The client won, she won, and I won.

  67. Great advice as always. Attacking people just puts them on the defensive from the get-go. Giving them the benefit of the doubt gives them a chance to graciously accept what you’re saying and change their behavior.
    On the chance that the person is not ethical or perhaps even a sociopath (it does happen, I’m dealing with one such person right now), it helps that she’s already discussed it with the district mgr and presumably the other reps. That way IF the person tries to harm her reputation by lying about either the encounter or her (or worse), others are aware of a problem and the damage should be minimal.
    Up until the point that I realized how seriously unethical the person in my work life was, I would never have considered the need to let others know that I have concerns about someone and that I’m going to talk to them. I’m actually sad, that we have to consider this possibility at all. But it does us no good to pretend that it’s not a possibility, because you can’t tell if someone is ethical or moral just by looking at them or even talking to them. They know what society deems as appropriate and usually keep up the veneer… until they don’t. And then it’s too late.
    Just my 2 cents.

  68. Right on, Marie! I have indeed faced this sticky little biz situation. And what you suggested worked like a charm. Even when I knew without a doubt that someone copied one of my websites (since it was word for word — as in blatant plagiarism) — I approached her with the philosophy you noted by being nice about it and just asking her to remove it so that she could save her own reputation and give the world what she’s got. She was actually nice and very apologetic about it, and immediately took down the site. While she never rebuilt a new site, I guess that niche just wasn’t for her in the first place.

    But I got sooo much more accomplished by approaching her from a friendly mindset. The problem was solved. And I actually ended up having more respect for her to admit it was a problem and to rectify it — versus if she had tried to deny what was obvious. She was willing to learn from a mistake, and that suggested to me that she deserved a second chance to see that she could make it right.

  69. Linda

    One other little confrontation tip: Confront the ISSUE not the PERSON. That means say something like “when you do X it makes me feel Y”, instead of “why do YOU always do X it’s such a rotten thing to do”. When you confront the issue it allows the other person to be more objective and not immediately get defensive. It prevents the conversation from starting out on the wrong foot.

  70. Cassandra James

    Hi Marie,

    Self-awareness makes communication easy. I have operated from places of fear and scarcity which makes it easy for me to not only relate to a person from where they are but also how I challenged it so I can be a source of encouragement. Thank you for all you do.

  71. Linda — that’s a great tip and reminder! “Confront the issue, not the person.” I like that 🙂 Thank you!

    It reminds me of something my grandmother used to always say: “You don’t hate the person; you only hate their negative actions.” There is a difference, even though it’s hard to see when things become emotional.

  72. Come to Jesus talk?

  73. Just imagine if we were all honest with each other. If we speak from the heart and with a kind tone of voice.If our intentions are harmless. Most people would want to know if they were hurting others and did not know it.

  74. Love this Marie and calling ‘Jane’ out on being part of it is great too. I always say something along the lines of ‘if it were me, I’d want to know so I know you’ll understand me sharing this with you…” x K

  75. I love the idea of taking responsibility in a graceful way. I also like looking at it from the perspective of “maybe she didn’t know she was acting like that”…just giving someone the benefit of the doubt and not get all dramatic about it before you even heard what their side of the story was.

  76. I have dealt with a business leech! This particular one had a clause in her contract that said I would get paid when she got paid. I understood this to mean, WHEN, and not IF. When her client went out of business, she failed to honor my last invoice to the tune of $6k, so I was forced to share her business’ burden of non-payment. That seemed so unethical to me, and I would never work with her again. As a contractor, you should always pay attention to the fine print! Question everything!

    • Nice work Robin!

      Way to turn a negative into a positive & learn from that experience. Perhaps a costly lesson at the time, but certainly invaluable moving forward. Couldn’t agree with you more…

      Thanks for sharing!

  77. Hi Marie,
    For me, I have had many “leaches”. What I have found to work, is…. to PRAY for that person (!) . Also, there is a mantra: “I love people”… this works in all situations even the most trying on patience- on a metaphysical level it sends a frequency out to be tolerant and compassionate. In addition, I have learned to trust the Universal laws of karmic action, whereas I have seen the people who have copied my designs, ideas, and business plans, fail- because it was MY heart behind it, not theirs. When I have been copied for fashion designs, my clients and marketing strategist went into the boutiques and requested my designs, saying they were looking for my designs, but only saw rip-offs of my hand-made products (they were by 3 different boutique owners who had them mechanically reproduced in L.A). All of those boutique owners lost their boutiques- because they did not know how to implement their own ideas. So, I now take it as a compliment, as frustrating as it can be, I take it as a test now- to see what my own boundaries are. I am learning not to give away my ideas or information, or have someone sign a confidentiality contract to speak with me about ideas. My time is valuable, so I do not want to give any energy to leaches, because time is energy, and I am learning to value my own ideas and be a leader. And sometimes, my ideas that are implemented into the wellness world here in Cali is very complimentary to me, and I can see how very fortunately established people utilize my ideas and help many other people, so it makes me happy in the end- then I see how I will expand on the same idea in the future. Because my ideas are a lot about healing, I am learning that sometimes the person who leeched off of me was in need of healing and I am complimented that I helped in that process. I also do Chakra cleansing and energy cleansing to make sure that their energy doesn’t stick with me or bother me in any way, and I am light and freely airy to let more creativity flow infini-time.
    Keeping the positivity!

  78. Cheryl

    This was very interesting. Last week I came across a “peer” (don’t know her personally) who proposed defrauding B-School by splitting the tuition with 3 other people. My first instinct was to bring down a verbal ass-whoopin’ so I sat on it for a few hours before I wrote to this woman privately (not on our forum) so as not to embarrass her. I worded my email as diplomatically as I could and what I got back was completely shameful with name calling and other interesting things about my character which I found funny and ironic. Then she went on the blame others for all sorts of things, yell at me for my behavior, and came down on Marie for not coming up with an original idea. What I was wondering the entire time is what do her actions have to do with what anyone else has or has succeeded at and why is this person actually coaching others. I don’t see this as not knowing what she was doing or either acting out of fear and insecurity.

  79. Hi Marie. This video was so timely for me. Just got off the phone with a leech, but my approach was less than compassionate.

    I have a friend who needed some illustrations for his first children’s book, so I put him in contact with an artist friend. He loved the illustrations, paid her, and ordered another set for his second book. He wasn’t happy with the second set, hasn’t paid the artist, and says he shouldn’t pay for something he doesn’t like. I believe a labourer is worthy of their reward, whether the client likes the art or not.

    I’m beginning to think he is a leech now, and feel myself putting some distance between us. But after watching the challenging video, I’ll approach him with your great advice. After all, should I do some future work for him, I wouldn’t be absolutely sure of his payment.

  80. Hi Marie, I think I might be the leech, because I Haven’t got a Web Site, or any idea what to do on the internet, accept maybe reading emails from people, Thanks Terry

  81. Amy

    I can share my mistake of dealing with this leech situation the WRONG way…. I had a colleague last year who would swoop in just at the last minute to strip my success out of my hands and claim it as his. Usually pre-launch of my campaign or project. My clients began to thank HIM for the work and that seriously drove me bonkers. I felt so undermined one day when he called my client behind my back to contradict my recommendations and subsequently delayed my project launch by a week and over budget. The client thought this was my fault of course. He also did it to my assistant and tried to use her as his own support when she was assigned purely to me. I had to guard her like a Queen Bee! It became ridiculous that I began to lose confidence in myself. I became aggressive towards him, vocal about my feelings and had no qualms with confrontation about the issue. However, I was very aggressive, called him names and the works (swore at him). Both my assistant and I ended up resigning within 3 weeks of each other. So I really felt that I lost out. It was right before Christmas. But I couldn’t bear it any longer. My boss took his side so I was quite destroyed by the experience. What should I have done in this situation? I don’t know if approaching him like a friend would have worked? He seemed to be in the business of pushing me out of the business…

  82. Jo

    Love this advice. It’s perfect. We tend to assume the worst motivation in people, but that’s not always the case. It is more likely that the woman is clueless and this way of dealing with the situation will be a true blessing to her and to everyone involved. But even if she is the reincarnation of Machiavelli, this approach will let her know that people are on to her and to take her $#@% elsewhere.

  83. Hi Marie, thanks for that great reminder about the importance of ethics and compassion in our business dealings. I have had numerous ‘hard’ conversations over the last ten years of running a business. It is always feels difficult for me and I used to get totally wound up as I prepared to ‘confront’ someone with something I found difficult to talk about.

    A technique I have found really helpful is to start these conversations very directly by saying something like: I need to have a difficult conversation with you and I want you to know that this makes me feel very anxious. I know what I have to say might be confronting for you and that is confronting to me. Or something similar.

    I have found this breaks down the barriers so the person doesn’t feel I am attacking them. It also serves as a reminder that I care about this person and am coming from a good place.

  84. P.S. I think Pema Chodron was on the money when she described people who bring these challenges to us as: our Guru’s. It made me laugh out loud when I realised I had been searching and asking for a guru, feeling I wasn’t getting direction, just more problems. Pema’s words totally reframed so much for me and I recognise now that the leaches and other unsavoury types we meet in our lives and work are gifts for our growth if we choose to see them that way. We can be our best, highest, most compassionate selves and treat others as we would like to be treated (be the change we want to see in the world) or we can mirror the poor behaviour that is frustrating us and perpetuate the cycle.

    • joy

      Hi Marie,
      I looked at all the info for your RHH Live event in October and I did not see info on ticket price anywhere….did I miss it? Where is this located?

  85. Marie,

    I appreciate your reminder about taking responsibility for your own truth. It’s only when you don’t that you become a victim – of your own fear. Even if in being honest, big stuff has to shift and people go different ways, it’s cleaner, clearer and happens when it should, not after creating a drama from withholding.

  86. Satoko

    Hi Marie, thank you so much! For I have to have a conversation with my colleague on Sunday and your advice is so helpful. I truly feel being honest and compassionate is about everything and I don’t have to attach to the result anymore.

  87. Hey Marie!!

    Love your videos you are inspiring! Was wondering if you can help me with a situation. I have packages that I have designed for my clients and they chose a term that is write for them and a payment budget that fits their needs. What do you do when a client writes you and states that I have helped her but is in a financial crunch and was wondering if she can opt out of the contract. This particular contract is not up for another 3 months and she still owes me for last month???? Help!!

    Shawna…a frustrated…but damn good at her job…business owner!

  88. Love the advice and have applied this liberally! MOST times it creates a favorable and conflict-deflecting result. A few times, it turns the burner up on the conflict. I’d be interested in a followup A to the question: What’s your recommendation for times when compassion elicits an even bigger f-you response?

  89. Muchas Gracias for this amazing vid, Marie. I love this advice and actually needed it.

    Also, I am running a campaign to help me publish my book about my experiences in Rwanda Genocide, so if anyone can contribute $1, it would really go a love way. Thank you so much ladies!

  90. Of the comments here, a few of my favorites are “Confront the issue and not the person” from Linda and also the one about setting the tone by starting with a comment such as…’we need to have a difficult conversation’ something like that before delving into the issue. Helpful suggestions, thanks.

  91. Elizabeth Kipp

    I really loved your approach! It’s really similar to the one that I just learned on how to have a difficult conversation, in business or in life. First, validate the relationship. This starts the conversation from a place of what you have in common and starts things off out of defensive territory. Next, own your part of the situation – take 100% responsibility for your part. Then, state things like “I’m noticing that….” and bring the data into the conversation, without the emotion – just the data. Then, ask the other person how they see things and ask non-emotional and non-conclusion-drawing questions. Again, the idea is to keep data in and emotions out. Finally, at the end of this, you’ll both know where each other stands as far as what each other is thinking. The best outcome is that you’ve both learned something from this conversation and will remain good business partners. But, since you can never ‘know’ what the other person is thinking, be ready for a negative outcome, just in case. I try my best to uplift the relationship; it just doesn’t always turn out that way. If it turns towards the negative, wish the person well, bless them and go on your way. Hopefully, both of you benefited from the chat and cleared up a major misunderstanding! :o)

  92. Great topic, Marie. I LOVE that you are teaching PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. We need this teaching more than we need to scold someone or even have that heart-to-heart chat. I so applaud you for stating that it’s time to own up when for our own part in not having that chat, calling that friend or foe out on their junkie behavior and really holding fast to a higher standard for ourselves. Cheers, girl. You rock. – Jill

  93. Yarmila Bruyevicz

    What if a leech is anonymous and it is happening through email or letters
    that someone is steeling your ideas ?
    By the way I love your “green and black striped sweater” and Macarena too !
    Yarmila B.

  94. wonderful tip, marie! i hate confrontation; it makes me sick to my stomach when i know something needs to be said to someone, so i typically will let things build up until i say more than necessary and tell someone off about everything that’s been bothering me. but you’re 100% right about approaching each person like a friend, with compassion. thank you for this reminder! <3

  95. Jenean

    Hey Marie,
    This was a good one.
    I actually had a boss that was very unethical. I approached him in a ‘come to jesus way’.
    He continued his behavior. So I reported him to his boss.
    Turns out he could talk his way out of everything and his boss bought right into it.
    They went out to dinner to discuss it the night before talking to me.
    The boss never spoke with me directly, but he called me in to have a discussion with the three of us and then left with, ” You need to improve your communication skills.”
    So, I was humiliated, and had to continue working in that environment for another year, until another opportunity came along.
    Big Lesson learned: sometimes it’s better to focus on me, then them. His behavior was simply reflecting to me that it was time to move on and I wasn’t being honest with my feeling to myself.

    Thanks for sharing with others the lesson I learned the hard way!
    Live Love

  96. Lady you Rock! You have wisdom and pretty. God Bless U

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