Negative people, and their (unsolicited) negative inputs about your life, and particularly when you’ve just started (or are thinking of starting) a new business, are all too common. Errrrbody has had to deal with such people. They are apparently every where, and tend to swoop in right when you’re feeling vulnerable, are already full of a billion and fifty two doubts about yourself and your business idea, and just make you question every thing (and not in a good, productive way – no.).
I’ve noticed that most of such people are those who have themselves never done any thing close to what you’re trying to do, and most often are those who don’t do anything at all (apart from talk about other people’s lives).
My number one advice is – of course – to ignore them. And the negative stuff they say. But, we all know that’s easier said than done. So in this post, I’m letting you in on a new and super easy way of thinking which will make it incredibly easy to just “shake it off” (as Tay Tay would have us do). Haters gonna hate, right?
1. Their opinions are a result of their thought process, not yours
Duh! They probably are not close to you, and have no freakin’ clue about WHY and HOW you’re doing what you’re doing. They probably have very, very little information about your life and plans, and said that negative, hurtful thing because they made a quick judgment and really know no better. Do you take advice about medicine from a lawyer (no matter how many times that lawyer recommends random meds to you?!), do you ask your plumber to cook your meals for you, do you ask your therapist to to style your outfit for you? NO WAY, right? No matter how many time they push down their opinions (at best, you’d take their comments as opinions and easily brush it off right?)?! So think of these situations in a similar way! This negative person probably could not think of any thing encouraging or positive to say, and ended up simply speaking their mind. The ONLY person this opinion affects is themselves! It speaks of how they approach the topic, rather than how you do or how you should. So, ignore it. And move on!
2. Minimise Interactions with them or cut them out
This is again a no-brainer but is much harder to implement, especially if said person is a part of your family. If they are NOT family, then it’s straightforward. Just ignore them. Or cut down interactions with them to a bare minimum. Remember, you are in charge of how you spend your time and nobody else can decide that for you. You get to decide when you say NO to people. So use that option (I use it ALL the time), and just say no.
If they are a part of your family, you will have to take a more subtle approach because you perhaps can’t just ignore them flat out. Again, start with minimising potential conversations. When you do end up meeting or speaking over phone, chat, etc., try to be on-the-point and talk more about them. Whenever they bring up your business, or something about your life that you’ve known then to be disparaging about, just answer in short simple sentences. Don’t volunteer more information than what is strictly a part of the answer to the question they posed. Also, do not under any situation appear as though you’re looking for approval from them.
3. Turn the question
This one is useful in sorts of scenarios when you don’t want to get into a full blown discussion about your business. There will come MANY a time when people who have never done any thing in your field or set up a business themselves, or even seen such a person in their own family, offering you all kinds of “business advice”. It can be annoying when this happens, because hey, I don’t randomly give you advice about how to do your job better, and also because engaging with them in any meaningful way would involve your having to explain a lot of ins and outs of your business which you have spent months and years figuring out (and perfecting!). SO. It’s easier to just politely say a “thank you” and turn the question to how THEIR job/ family life is going. Ask them where they’re going for vacation next, etc. – something very non-controversial. Most people love talking about themselves so this person will have no trouble doing just that. And yeayyy for having avoided awkward-unsolicited-advice-conversation!
I’ve noticed that these kind of interactions bothered me the most in my first year of business. It is a DIFFICULT time and you already are figuring out an unlimited number of things, navigating a daunting to-do list on a daily basis, learning & using new & exciting skills on a daily basis so this is really something you could do without. All we new entrepreneurs want from friends and family is FAITH in us. That’s it. Nothing else required. They don’t even have to show that faith – they just need to have it. Period.
It’s interesting that after some months, especially when the moolah starts rolling in, and you’re visibly happier and clearly doing well, these very people will start asking YOU how you did it all. Hold to to that optimism that this day WILL come. Not that you need any body else’s approval, but this still feels good right.
So, stay positive yourself. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re feeding yourself positive thoughts & affirmations:
- Read positive books every day.
- Talk to someone who you know has faith in you. It can be about anything.
- Go out and spend some alone time just being with yourself.
- Exercise! Hello endorphins!
- Spend time with nature from time to time. I find that nothing instils more positive energy in me than spending time just staring at vast, limitless skies, walking on fresh grass, and just chilling out with nature.
Here’s a quick summary (share it with a friend who could use this today).