Jolene Brown: On "Skunk People"

Jolene Brown joins us today to share her thoughts on "Skunk People" and how to address them in your business!

Ahhhh…. the smells of springtime!  Ugh….  I smell a skunk!

There's nothing that has us "putting on the brakes" faster than the sight of a nearby skunk - whether spotting one along the road, in a pasture, walking in the lawn or near the porch.  We immediately give a skunk lots space because the damage it can do is not at all pleasant!  Same is true for the two legged varieties - "skunk people!"

Oh yes, "skunk people" are out there! They're the pessimistic, constant complaining, energy draining, negative attitude people. And, just like their black and white furry counterparts, they can make life miserable for those around them. You may find them in your family farm operation. You might even be married to one! It doesn't take long to sense their presence for they have a big effect on the environment and the behaviors of others.

What's the fallout?

  • Decreased motivation

The negativist skunks are convinced they have little power over their lives. Their "victim" mentality can be contagious and those who are continuously exposed to a "skunk" begin to wonder, "Why bother to work through the challenge when the result is out of our control anyway?"

  • Decreased energy

Available energy is spent defending oneself or cleaning up the mess.  Eventually you just get tired of the battles, reduce your efforts or quit.

  • Decreased creativity

You begin to censure your own ideas because you know the "skunk person" will shoot them down. This leads to an internal cautiousness which constricts ideas and limits possibilities.

  • Decreased health

The effort one expends hoping and trying to change a "skunk person" can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.  The frustration leads to stress. Stress lowers resistance and can lead to health problems.


So, what do you do with a "skunk person"?  Remember, a skunk doesn't mind its own odor. You must take action.

1. Get rid of them or at least put them where they can do the least damage. For example, you may not be able to fire your dad, but perhaps he can do repairs, marketing, or record keeping - physically away from others.

2. Remove yourself physically and/or mentally. Acknowledge the "skunk" by saying, "You might be right." It takes away a fight and you can then leave and focus again on your goals.

3. Dilute their power. Surround yourself with positive people and resources.

4. Plug your nose, but don't hold your breath. You decide the "skunk's" behavior will not affect you. This means you may need to go it alone. Perhaps your initiative and informed optimism might spread to others.

This spring season is a great time for new beginnings and renewal of the best of the past. Take a few minutes and assess your work and home environment.  Are there any "skunk people" around?  And here's a very important reminder: Don't forget to smell yourself!

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at,

Full Rights Consent.  Jolene Brown LLC, West Branch, Iowa, USA, maintains full rights to utilize the content and/or format of all materials submitted by her for the website in any future speaking, writing, audio, video or electronic format.

 Copyright © 2014 Jolene Brown, LLC. All Rights Reserved
Reproduction granted for by Jolene Brown

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