Archive for June, 2008

Standing Up to Naysayers

Posted on June 2, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

You’ve just gotten a great idea for a new venture in your life, one that you’re sure will make you feel happy and successful. You decide it will make you feel good to boast about this idea to your friends and family. Surely, they will be impressed by your good intentions and enthusiasm. Instead, your happy scenario implodes on you when they say: “Oh, you can’t do that…” “it’ll never work…” “most people fail at that…” “it’s too dangerous…” “you’re crazy,” etc. Suddenly, you feel…dejected? stupid? frustrated? disgusted? stripped of your dignity? all of the above? How can you avoid feeling this way? Or better yet, how can you stand up to it all and come away feeling victorious and more determined than ever to make your dream come true against the odds your well-intentioned loved ones lay out on the table?
The following has worked wonderfully for me:

1) Do your research. When you get an idea for a new venture (and before you tell the world about it), be sure you know what you’re getting into. Read up on the subject. Talk to others who have experience in it. Know what it takes to “make it.” Know the downside/difficulties of your dream, too, and how you can overcome or deal with this. Get an idea of the time and money involved in making your dream come true. Also, think about any barriers you may personally have to realizing your goal and consider how you will knock them down.

2) Make an action plan. Take out a sheet of paper, write out the actual steps you’ll take to reach your goal, and mark the dates/times you expect to complete each step. Many professional planners suggest you work backwards in your action plan. This means showing your end result first and then backtracking to show how you’ll arrive at each step before the last one. For example, let’s say you want to write a magazine article and get it published. Well, before you can get it published, it has to be a finished and approved article. Before it’s a finished and approved article, it has to be accepted in “idea” form through what is called a “query letter.” But before you can write and send a query letter to a magazine, you have to know which magazine to send it to. In order to do that, you have to research various magazines, probably in the Writer’s Market. But before you research magazines, you have to organize your idea for an article (perhaps in outline form). So now you know you must first have an idea, then organize your thoughts about it on paper, then find out which magazines might be interested in your idea, and then tailor your query letter to the specific magazine, etc. So now, when you have done research on your venture, and have made an action plan, you are ready to share your plans with friends and loved ones, if you so choose, and you’ll be ready when negativity rears its ugly head.

3) Listen to and weigh “unsolicited” advice. Realize that not all naysaying is bad. Perhaps your friend or loved one knows something about your venture you don’t. Or maybe the ones closest to you know something about your character and resolve that might be a barrier to your success. If it’s useful advice, take it and be grateful for the extra input. However, if it sounds like sabotage, and you’re armed with your research and action plan, you have all you need to hold your head high and move forward…to the next step:

4) Respond courteously and knowledgeably. First, thank the naysayer for their contribution to the discussion. If they have a valid point, acknowledge it and share how you’ll heed their “warnings,” or how you’ll break down “barriers,” or just ask for their input on these problems. If the naysayer is mistaken or out-of-date with their information, say so and explain why—you’ve done your research and you know why. And if they just say you can’t do it and that’s that, take the challenge with gusto and say “watch me!”

5) Make it happen! Through self-discipline, stick to your action plan and use your daily to-do list to attack your plan in manageable chunks. If you need extra motivation, buddy up with someone else who’s also on a new venture so you can give each other progress reports along the way. And remember, if “it” doesn’t happen when you expected it to, you didn’t fail. You just had a great learning experience, and perhaps it will take a little longer. But you will keep at it, and the rewards will be worth the effort. Never say nay!

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