Wednesday 22 August 2012

what to say when someone rains on your startup parade

Rain Rain Go Away
Photo by  Mike Johnson -

Ever encounter somebody who rains on your parade; you know the type that sees nothing good in any of your business ideas and shares that sentiment? I met with an old business friend recently who highlighted and droned on about the risk and all that could, and in his opinion probably will, go wrong with our business journey. And the icing on the cake was the grand summation that what we are contributing is a big "so what" in this world. We may all have friends like that, offering negative advice that wasn't requested.

Somehow I still manage to get blindsided by totally negative conversations.  The way of thinking is just so far from my own and the people I surround myself with. I'm not saying I live in a sunny bubble, just that I am accustomed to finding the "how to make this work - or pivot, and make it work differently" approach.

The exchange with my business friend left me in a big "what I should have said" flap. I've since come up with a simple, non offensive one liner for next time: "what would you suggest?" In other words, you seem so knowledgeable about what doesn't work, share with me your expertise in what will.

Despite the totally negative tone, my friend shared some brilliant nuggets of advice woven between his hard lines. Remaining open to all perspectives still "reigns" (on this parade), even with a lump in my throat.

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