You just came up with the idea of a lifetime. You go to execute and WHAM! -- a rush of negativity comes up and slaps you in the face. Where did it come from? It might have been your boss, employee, colleague, spouse, parent or sibling. Regardless of the source, you need to get the wind back in your sails and overcome their objections. In fact, you might even use these negative Nellies to your advantage.
Not all naysayers are against you. They are not even necessarily saying no. Those who really care for you are mostly looking to protect you from their own perception of risk. Here are 5 ways to overcome their naysaying and hopefully engage them to help in your endeavor.
Some naysayers offer unsolicited opinions about your activities, which can be incredibly annoying and distracting. Perhaps they are bored with their own lives and don't realize they are engaging in yours without an invitation. In this case, politely point out that you are not looking for their input and suggest they spend their time focused on improving their own situation. Of course, if you asked their opinion, you should at least honor the fact they skipped being quietly polite and spoke honestly.
Just because naysayers raise objections regularly doesn't mean their objections are invalid. Give them credit for helping you identify potential flaws and risk factors in your plans. Thank them for caring enough to share their opinions. Tell them you will take their thoughts under consideration and report back to them on your experience. You could argue with them, but why waste energy you could apply in productive ways?
Naysayers who spout negativity with no basis are the most annoying of all. If they are speaking beyond their own knowledge, they deserve to be challenged. So do your homework. Make a point of showing them facts (not opinions) that strongly support your approach. Calmly and methodically make your case. The more you demonstrate objectively that they are in error, the sooner they will back off out of embarrassment. Then they will be less likely to jump in with their unsupported opinions the next time. Make sure your facts are accurate, however, or you open yourself up to ridicule and dismissal.
Perhaps you are a bit optimistic in your new endeavor. Maybe you have a habit of seeing only the bright side, missing important obstacles that may scuttle your plans. Who better than a naysayer to clear the path for your smooth sailing? Tell your naysayer you appreciate that he or she cared enough to identify upcoming challenges. Be smart. Ask if he or she will join you on this journey and help solve problems before they disrupt the process. In the worst case, your naysayer will back off and, in the best case, you'll have the help of a valuable ally.
If these people are constantly bringing you down, by all means stop hanging out with them. Find a new job if you must, or quit going to family gatherings. No one should have to suffer through the misery of other people inflicting negativity for its own sake. Say no to a mediocre existence. Take control of your environment and spend your time where people are supportive and encouraging. I, for one, will raise no objections.
Managers love to extol the virtues of a team mentality. I can’t count how many schlocky motivational posters I’ve seen emblazoned on middle management walls (or fabric-covered cubicle dividers, as the case may be) over the years, all claiming that teamwork is pretty much the solution to everything.
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