How to Deal with Detractors

Screen-shot-2010-11-21-at-9.44.51-PM-150x150It would be easy for me to say that I simply avoid negative people, period.  But it’s not that easy, is it?

As I am about to embark on a rather large career change, many detractors have come out of the woodwork to share their opinions, albeit not intentionally.

We have all had them as we set and go after our goals, no matter where we are or what our goals may be: naysayers, detractors, people who poke fun or get angry or tell us we can’t do it.  I have been a detractor (not proud to write that) in the past, so I can say first hand that it comes from a place of low self esteem…and misery certainly loves company.

Detractors can really bring us down and have a negatively profound effect on our life.  You must not let them stop you!

There are many types of people who detract from our life.  Here are some ways you can deal with them:

  1. Identify them. Sometimes we don’t realize that someone is being a detractor. They may be a close friend or spouse or other trusted person, so when they doubt us or say negative things, we trust them and take it to heart. But there’s a difference between being realistic and just being a naysayer. Learn to listen to what others are saying, and see what your reaction is. If it discourages you, or makes you feel like quitting, then this person is being a detractor.
  2. Reflect. Sometimes people are just trying to help you to be realistic. They might have a sound reason for their negativity. Step back for a moment and reflect; do they have a legitimate point?  If so, great. If you want it enough, you can figure out a solution, so thank the person for their insight.
  3. Watch out for planted seeds.  Once a seed is planted by a detractor, it grows. And it can grow into a huge tree of doubt, with roots that tear up the foundation of your goals. Do everything you can to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones.
  4. Textbook situation?  For every positive thought we have, there is at least one detractor; they are all over. You cannot completely avoid them, but you can choose whether to listen to them or not. Just smile and nod; words are only words.
  5. Call them out.  When the detractor is someone close to you, confront them. You need this person on your side, not against you.  Enlist their help, and tell them that you need them.  Tell them that you realize they have doubts, but you really need them to be positive, and support you. Perhaps they can be your best supporter.
  6. Kill them with logic.  I love this term. Sometimes people are simply misinformed, so educate them! Do your research, be very informed, and be ready to argue your points. Then try to educate your detractor. If you are resolute about your thoughts, you may change the person’s mind (if you care to).
  7. Stay firm. If there is nothing you have missed (see #2) and you have detractors, sometimes there’s nothing you can do. If all else fails, you have to just ignore them, and keep telling yourself that when you do achieve your goal, that will be your reward for enduring this detractor.

There will always be detractors in our lives. But they are just more obstacles that you have to overcome to get to your goal. Hopefully, you will be able to deal with them with some of my tips above!

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