There is a chapter in my book that is called “Lessons learned from the Nay Sayers”
Over time I’ve learned that there are actually two types of Nay Sayer and I’ve learned:
i. which Nay Sayer to listen to and
ii. what parts of what they say are important.
The garden variety “that will never work” type makes me want to run for the hills! These are the people who are always saying things like “oh that won’t work” or “why would you want to do that?” You know who I mean. These are the people who want to maintain the status quo, want to keep everyone the same, they are trying to stay “safe”.
When you are getting started in business you will feel as if everything you are doing is outside your comfort zone, not much will feel “safe” – and all in a good way.
Growth comes from taking chances, nudging or (for the really brave) pushing boundaries. Failing Fast and often.
Here are the 3 important lessons from the people I call the Helpful Nay Sayers:
- Say “Thank you” and acknowledge that some of what they have to offer is a gift. This may seem counter intuitive, the important thing is to know
- Get beyond the dramatics and listen for the facts. Nay Sayers tend to be very extreme in the language, our job is to take out the dramatic words and see what is left.
- Look for the Gem. Now that we have the facts we can look for what have they said that is useful? What will help your business? It may only be one small nugget and that might be just the piece of a puzzle that you have been looking for.
Let me tell you about last Thursday when I encountered a new Nay Sayer and where I lest expected.
In the past few months I have been taking about my latest project and have been out and about taking about my new book and training program and everyone is loving the idea. I’ve had useful feedback and everyone has responded very positively …. until last Thursday.
I was at a networking event organised by my lovely friend and serial entrepreneur Belinda from She Inspires and I came across my first Nay Sayer who said “That’ll never work! You know James Tibbot* don’t you? he tried to do that and it was a total disaster”.
I have to admit I was a bit taken aback. This Nay Sayer is some one I really like and respect. I know her quite well and have know her for some years. She is a strong personality and in front of about 5 or 6 other people she continued to articulate the reasons this “won’t work” and why it didm;t work for James*. Fortunately because she talks so fast this was all over in a matter of a moments.
And equally fortunately, as happens at networking events the conversation moved on to other topics.
Karen* is a Helpful Nay Sayer. Even as she was talking I was thinking:
1. “Thank you Karen*”
When we learn how to do this, the impact is powerful.
In normal circumstances, if we feel threatened we have the “flight or fight response”. When we say “thank you” this sends a message to our brain that this person is not “the enemy” and in fact is a Helper. This now leaves our brain available to listen to what they say next.
If we stay in “flight or fight response” our brain is busy trying to work out what to do, whether to fight back or run away so there is little if any capacity to listen rationally. (I go into this in more detail in the chapter in Kapow … the secret to achieving KaChing”)
2. Listen beyond the dramatics for the facts, the details. Pay attention to their words, and we notice it tends to be dramatic language. Karen said “that will never work … total disaster”. Listening beyond the dramatics for the real story, the real example.
3. Look for the Gem. I really believe that Karen had an important message for me, I just needed to find it in amongst all the other “stuff” she was saying. The same for you. It may or may not be immediately apparent and may dawn on you a couple of hours later or when you least expect it. How often do you have a great idea in the shower or when you are at the gym?
Actively looking for the Gem while listening beyond the dramatic language makes what could be a Nay Sayer moment into a real gift and might just be one of those pieces of the puzzle that you have been looking for.