So often, as soon as you have a BIG idea or result or change that is exactly what you want, someone comes along and seems to say —
“What are you thinking?”
“Are you that much of a Pollyanna?”
“Do you not know of the realities of this big,
bad world we live in?”
“Why are you sticking you neck out so far? Why not be safe?”
And, you begin to doubt the sanity of your targeted big, remarkable result.
These people are what I call “naysayers.” Often they are well-meaning, sometimes they are not.
Who are your naysayers?
Co-workers? Spouse? Boss? Customers? Partners?
Think of one person and reflect on these three questions:
- What does the naysayer believe that frames his or her views?
- How does your targeted result create a problem, challenge or upset for the naysayer?
- Why does this naysayer’s opinions matter to you?
And, before you strike out at all naysayers, consider whether you are a naysayer for others.
Confessions of a Naysayer
Let me make a confession of my own slip into that mode.
Over the last few weeks, my son has launched his intended “music career” as a hip-hop singer-songwriter. He is talented. He has commitment. And, he has courage. Watching him write, produce, and put six or more “raps” onto YouTube calling for the online vote of a Like from his Facebook friends and their friends has been incredible. His confidence and style is remarkable.
But, hearing his plans to become famous and not go to college makes me crazy as a parent. I find myself posing obstacles and questioning whether he can really achieve his dream. (And I am the queen of supporting big ideas–I have a few of my own). But, his plans stimulate my fears for him–BIG TIME. Sure he has a lot to learn and far more planning to do before he reaches his goal. But so do I on my goals. This fear is at the heart of most naysayers–either a fear of failure or fear of success–or a general conditioning to play it safe.
When I consider the three questions, I find:
- What belief? I believe you have to go to college to make your best career effort and the music industry is far too risky.
- What upset? I worry about whether he will be devastated if he is not successful, ends up in a low-paying job, living with me for the rest of his life (!).
- Why is my opinion important? I think my opinion does matter to my son. But, you know, I see his commitment as so strong that the reality is that he could easily turn my challenges into a vote of “no confidence” in him. That is not something I want to create.
So for now, why not fan the fire that seems to be his true passion?
Being a naysayer for someone you respect and care for is not a good feeling. Being your own worst naysayer (you know who you are) is even worse, because we hear our own words more than ever, and other naysayers can get to us really fast.
Note, naysayers are not always bad or destructive. Their concerns or disbelief can help confirm your commitment or refine your target.
You are in control of either using or ignoring the naysayers in your world.
Or, as my son did, you can throw a friendly “watch me!” their way.