Getting started

How to deal with naysayers

- June 13, 2012 2 MIN READ

Any new business will receive some hard knocks when trying to get off the ground. These can come in the form of technology, cash flow or budgeting problems; but perhaps most commonly, hard knocks come in the form of people.

My business partner and I encountered plenty of them when trying to launch our business. Naysayers are those who think they have good advice for you but, in actual fact, their views are so pessimistic they leave you feeling deflated and defeated.

You know the ones.

Naysayers are the ones who tell you, “You should do this instead…” or, “What are you doing that for?” or my favourite, “Are you sure about this?”

For all their seeming confidence, these negative Nancys and Nigels are usually those who don’t like change OR they find fault in you when, deep down, they recognise faults within themselves.

Naysayers are comfortable with the person that you are – not the person that you are becoming or wish to become. Often they possess a deep-seated fear that you will succeed, and that with your new-found success you will inadvertently leave them behind.

The important thing to remember with naysayers is: be compassionate. When someone discourages you or doubts your ability, rather than getting defensive, thank them for offering their advice. Have the strength to recognise whether their advice is valuable and be confident in your decisions, knowing they are being made with the right amount of security and risk.

While sometimes inhibiting, the naysayer’s role is pivotal in teaching us some valuable lessons, whether we like it or not. They are there to make us question ourselves and force us to respond to our own insecurities.

Here are six steps to combating the negative Nancys or Nigels of your world:

  1. Listen: See beneath the lines of what they’re trying to tell you. Perhaps there’s a little piece of gold within their advice that you could possibly take on board?
  2. Be graceful: Have gratitude. If there’s no gold, be grateful that this person is taking enough interest in what you’re doing.
  3. Stop listening: If there is nothing of value in their advice, don’t take things personally.
  4. Forge ahead: Full steam! Keep going and if you fall, get back up.
  5. Have courage. Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Lose the rest.
  6. Have faith. Most importantly, believe in yourself.

What happened to the negative Nancys and Nigels of my world? They’re still there. Sometimes we embrace them. Sometimes we smile and wave. Oftentimes we poke our tongues out and have a bit of fun with them. But mostly, we just keep going.

How do you deal with naysayers? 

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"