Why you should ignore the naysayers

Last week, a man said something that stopped me in my tracks.

As some background: I took a VO2 max test to measure my aerobic endurance. How did they test me? I wore a full face mask while running all-out on a treadmill. 

It was great fun. 

After I recovered from the experience and could finally process information again, the trainer explained my results and asked how I old I was.

When I told him, his response was (and, yes, this is an exact quote…)

“Wow, you’re on the decline!”

I could almost hear a needle scratching a record when he said that.

::scratch::

Mind you, I knew what he meant. As we get older, it’s harder to hold on to what we have. You have to work twice as hard to get results. I get it. We all decline after our 20s. 

Still…wow.

For a hot second, I started thinking things like, “Why should I try?” and “I could be eating ice cream right now,” and “Maybe he’s right…and I should just give up.” 

Instead, I stopped him from saying more (he was literally in mid-sentence) and educated him on other ways he could express the same, important point.

Why?

Because, other people may hear “decline” and give up.

They may give in to the thought of, “Hey, I’m [insert age here]. It doesn’t get any better. I may as well sit on the couch.”

And that’s sad.

Heck, his statement got to me — and I was in a good place that day.

What does a stupid comment have to do with your freelance writing business?

A lot.

Because, the people closest to us — including our trusted friends, family members and colleagues — can be our biggest naysayers. 

They say things like:

“Are you sure you want to charge that much? Other writers charge way less than that.”

“Are you sure you want to quit your job and freelance full-time? How are you going to feed your family?”

“Are you sure you want to fire the client that keeps you up at night and makes you rock back and forth in a corner? At least he pays on time.”

You get it.

You’ve probably heard something similar. 

Here’s the thing…

These naysaying folks mean well. They’re trying to help. 

Thank them for their concern. Hear them out. Take whatever you need from their “kind words.”

And then ignore the rest.

Here’s why…

Great things happen when we launch out of our comfort zones and do what other people may think is “impossible.”

And sometimes, that means releasing what we have so we can make room for something even bigger.

I’ve seen freelance writers land their dream client days after firing their client from hell.

I’ve seen freelancers make more money on their own than they ever made in their old job.

I’ve advised folks to triple their rates. And guess what? They landed the client.

What’s the common thread?

These brave freelance writers ignored the naysayers, followed their gut, and went for it.

Sure, they did their homework. They looked at all scenarios. They ran the numbers and came to uncomfortable conclusions. 

But, they still went for it. 

And look at how successful they are now.

What if the naysayer is you?

Some people have an automatic NOPE button in their heads that they push when things feel uncomfortable.

Change a strategy? NOPE

Go outside of a comfort zone? NOPE

Market yourself in a new way? NOPE

How can you tell if you’re pushing that NOPE button a little too hard?  Ask yourself:

 — Are you feeling crappy about your situation?

— Do you feel like you should do something differently…but you can’t tell what that “something” is? 

 — Has this feeling hung on for a while?

If so, your NOPE button could use a rest.

You’re better, smarter, and more resourceful than that.

(And sometimes, it makes sense to chat with a business coach who can help you shrink your NOPE button down to a normal size.)

Need inspiration? Here’s a great video of Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones discussing how you shouldn’t wait to “be ready.”

So, what did I do after talking to “that guy?”

What I wanted to do: Walk over to the ice cream store a few storefronts away and drown my sorrows in mint chocolate chip ice cream.

What I did instead: Celebrated my success. I may be “on the decline,” but my test results were listed as “superior.”

Yes, even for my advanced age. 🤣

As a funny end to the story…

I mentioned to the trainer how his site would position better if he added some text. It was a pretty site filled with pretty photos of pretty, athletic people. I talked about how Google likes text, and how it’s good for readers.

He patiently listened to my reasoning, then told me that he “doesn’t like text.” Sigh. You can’t help everyone.

It’s time to go for it!

How are YOU going to handle the naysayers in your life? What’s one thing you’d love to accomplish, but your boss, family, friends or colleagues keep saying, “It won’t work”? Let me know in the comments.