We have this magnificent phenomenon in Australia called the Tall Poppy Syndrome. What this implies is that whenever anyone is rising above the level that they are currently operating at (or that their inner circle is used to), they will be swiftly cut down to size. They will not stand taller than all the other poppies. Oh no.
These people who cut you down are known as Naysayers. Naysayers arise when you’re about to do something new or change. I encountered plenty of them when starting my business.
Naysayers are those who think they have good advice for you but their views, well intended or not, leave you feeling deflated and defeated.
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 fault 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:
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?
Be grateful: Have gratitude. If there’s no gold, be grateful that this person is taking enough interest in what you’re doing.
Stop listening: If there is nothing of value in their advice, don’t take things personally.
Forge ahead: Full steam! Keep going and if you fall, get back up.
Have courage. Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be. Lose the rest.
Have faith. Most importantly, believe in yourself.
What happened to the negative Nancys and Nigels of my world? They’re still there. Sometimes I embrace them. Sometimes I smile and wave. Oftentimes I poke my tongue out and have a bit of fun with them. But mostly, I just keep going.
What do you do to combat the negative Nancys and Nigels of your world? Let us know in the comments below!
PS. If you like what I have to say or think someone else could benefit from this humble little blurb, feel free to ‘like it’ or ‘share it’.