As you start to move forward on your life’s path, you may have a clear vision of your future and career. However, not everyone may share this vision initially. It can be challenging to handle objections and doubts from others, particularly when you’re still trying to establish yourself or your business.
To find out what kinds of approaches work when trying to tackle this issue, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
While you may have a vision of your future, not everyone may share it initially. What is one concrete way you can handle “naysayers,” especially early on in your career?
Here is what they advise:
1. Ask Yourself Where It’s Coming From
Before you take their comments seriously, ask yourself this question. Where is their criticism coming from? If it’s coming from a place of love and support, then you might want to listen to their opinion. It’s quite possible that you’re missing something important. However, if the criticism is coming from a place of jealousy, ignore it. Tell them, “I do me, you do you.”
2. Don’t Make Decisions to Please Others
Not everyone will share your vision for your future, but that is irrelevant because it is your life, not anyone else’s. Regardless of the intentions of the naysayers you will inevitably encounter, don’t allow yourself to make decisions in order to please others, because in the long run, you will regret not going with your gut. After all, you know yourself better than anyone ever will.
3. Stay Accountable to Yourself
Accountability can go a long way. Regardless of having naysayers or haters doubting your vision and ambitions, being accountable to your plans will keep you pushing forward. Being accountable not only makes you consistent but also gets you one step closer to achieving that certain goal you have in mind. Turn those naysayers, doubters and haters into followers once they see you succeed.
4. Counter It With Clear Examples and Data
I’ve found the best way to explain the value proposition of my IoT company to stakeholders is to draw comparisons with what’s happening in home IoT. By giving real-world examples you can make it easier for people to understand conceptually. Use data when necessary to back up your points by doing some research. Solid numbers and good examples will win the debate every time.
5. Build a Roadmap to Your Vision
The issue with “naysayers” isn’t that you’re worried that they won’t believe in your vision. The problem is that they might make you not believe in your vision by putting you down. Break your vision down into clear milestones and create a step-by-step roadmap for achieving these. Inevitably, you will face problems at some stage, but this will help you keep grounded and working towards your vision.
6. Invite Them to Join You in Brainstorming
Instead of letting naysayers bother you, try inviting them to join you in some brainstorming sessions. At one of my early jobs, I worked with someone who was hard to get along with even though we had the same team goals. With some trepidation, I invited him for some coffee to brainstorm some ideas. The meeting turned into an illuminating exchange of ideas, and our relationship greatly improved!
7. Listen Critically
The key is not to discount what they say immediately but to listen critically to their input. Critical listening means to discern whether the message you hear makes sense given factual evidence. Selective listening can be useful, however, listening only to what you want to hear is detrimental to both your personal and professional development.
8. Let Your Results Speak for Themselves
The only way to respond to naysayers is by letting your actions speak louder than your words. Work towards achieving your vision. If you are looking to build an app-based startup, build a prototype. If you are stuck with a new business idea, establish a proof-of-concept. Let your work do the talking and surround yourself with people who push you forward instead of those that pull you down.
9. Surround Yourself With Supporters
If most of the people around you are negative and can’t see your dream the way you do, it’s best to surround yourself with a different group. Being around positive people is everything. When they say you become your friends, it’s true. The more they doubt you, the more you’ll start to doubt yourself, no matter how much of a naturally assured person you are. Find people who support you.
10. Pick Your Battles
Not everyone has to agree with your career path and not everyone is going to, and that’s OK. So, remember to pick your battles. For instance, if you find yourself in a conversation with someone who’s against you, politely steer the conversation in another direction. You don’t need to convince them in the moment: You can prove them wrong with your actions in the future.
11. Focus on Your Goals
When you have a vision for the future, you can’t let naysayers drag you down. The best advice I could give is if you have a vision, chase it. There are plenty of opportunities out there up for grabs. Don’t let negative people impact your dreams for the future. Keep your nose down and focus.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.