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I say “tomato”, you say “tomarto” – 4 steps to handling doubters

OK so who’s got it right? Me? Or you? When it comes to adding some stretch to your life, everyone has an opinion. I’m sure many simply want the best for you, wanting to investigate your thinking (did you think about ………?) or understand your motivation (You’ve got a great ……….., I think you ought to ……..), but somehow their delivery is a bit clumsy or inadvertently negative. I call them naysayers or doubters and they ruin your mojo! The snag is they may have some wisdom to share and you’ll be too busy tending to your ruffled feathers to hear it. Hmmm it’s not that easy dealing with naysayers.

Here’s my 4 steps to handle them with grace and positivity:

1) Repeat a mini mantra and breathe

Say/ write/ think “positive intent, terrible delivery” and breathe deeply. That should remove the “sting” of what was said.

2) Recognise their emotional hook and yours

We all have them. Maybe they’re speaking from regret at not following their dream or being burnt badly doing something similar? For you, perhaps your hook that it feels like someone hasn’t got your back, or they think you’re an idiot? Once you can see where you’re both coming from, you’ve got a chance to listen, absorb and open up to the conversation.

3) Listen hard and thank them for sharing with you

Don’t dismiss too early; you could be missing something. Listen, thank them and then engage all your curiosity. Check anything you’re not 100% sure you’ve understood through open questions, to encourage them to say more about their point of view. By asking questions, you hold back your reaction or opinion and give them the opportunity to clarify or evidence their point of view.

4) Ask them for their help and support

At the end of the day, whether you agree with them or not, one of the most effective ways to turn a naysayer into a cheerleader is to ask for their help in your change. For example, give them a specific task or role to play. I converted a doubter by asking them to be a sounding board for my business ideas; they feel they are contributing and keeping me safe plus I get a refreshingly honest take on a new b-mail topic, business partner or strategic direction. Priceless!

I seriously hope that you never need these 4 steps – if you do, best of luck and do report back in via the comments.

For any of you dealing with a super persistent naysayer or doubter, get in touch and we can explore via coaching some more techniques to move their thinking, change their approach or reduce their impact on you.

  • Sarae

    Howdy all, a small update: I thought you might also like to read how Nikki Elledge Brown, the Communication Stylist handles her public naysayer with style http://bit.ly/13WgXv9

  • Nikki Elledge Brown

    Great tips + beautiful site, Sarae! Thanks so much for the mention 🙂

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