How to turn your skeptics into allies in your business

This post was inspired by a comment on a recent post – Thanks Natasha! May your business blossom!

Have you ever had a great idea or plan for the next stage of your  business, and come rushing to tell your best friend or loved one about it, only to find their face drop, and their subtle body language moving away from you as they begin to pick holes in your brilliant masterplan, raising every reason why – and way in which – it might not work.

… Yeah, that really sucks, doesn’t it?

When you most want support and encouragement for your tender but brilliant plan, having someone poor water on it can put the pressure on you and your business. You might cave in and bury your dream back under the carpet. Or pull yourself up by the bootstraps and forge on, alone with your dream and determined to prove that it can work.

Neither is very satisfying.

But skeptics ask good questions

What can be hard to see, from under the bucket of cold water that just got tipped on your grand plan, is that your beloved skeptics questions are usually quite useful and important to you and your business:

– How is that actually going to make money?

-What if no one buys it?

– Is that really the best use of your time right now?

– You seem so busy already, do you really have the capacity for this?

Yeah, it’s not what you want to hear when you’re full of the magic of a new idea, with light bulbs going off above your head and stars shining in your eyes…. But they are good questions.  They are questions that are designed to protect you, keep you on a sure and steady path, and help you succeed. In fact, these are the questions that skeptics use to say ‘I love you’.

So if you ever get hit with a barrage of these, remember to take a deep breath and say “Thank you!”

It’s really a matter of timing

When a seedling is really young, it needs water – but not too much! And even before the water, it needs to be planted in some good fertile soil. It needs nourishing.

When an important idea is first born, it is often tender and not fully formed. Like a small child or a tiny seedling, it needs nourishment first. You don’t want to drown it with hard questions before it’s even started out.

So do yourself a favour and give yourself time to celebrate and flesh out your brilliant plan a little, before you expose it to the elements.

If you really do want to share it with a beloved (skeptic) friend, it can help to just let them know that this idea is tender, and that you would love their great, practical, down-to-earth, what-might-go-wrong kind of input… tomorrow. For now, you just want to hear them say “Wow, great idea!” and then go make some notes somewhere on all the questions it raises for them.

Later, when you’re feeling more confident, you can ask your skeptic friend to tell you the holes they see in your plan, and together you can look for solutions that might answer some of those important questions that they’ve raised.

In this way, I’ve learned to love the skeptics in my life for “keeping me honest” and grounded, and helping me firm up the foundations of my bright ideas… What about you?

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