You might have heard me say this: Don’t worry so much about the people who don’t like your idea. They were never going to help you. You can’t lose people who were never yours.
In the chat in one of my recent virtual events, Janet Bartlett replied, “I think that is a bad & toxic way of thinking towards [them]. You may not be able to lose people that were never yours, but you can win them.”
You definitely can win them. But not the way we’ve all been taught.
You don’t win people by convincing them. It’s not your job to change the way anyone else thinks.
Your job is to take your action and make it so attractive that others want to join in. And make it astonishingly easy for them to do so. Then keep doing it. And eventually they can be attracted to all the activity.
A couple of people added similar thoughts in the chat.
Brad Brown said, “Build a sizeable/committed-enough community to move forward, and you’ll drag those dragging their feet or stuck in the past along with you. And eventually (in my experience) at least a few of them will eventually see the merit in what you’re doing and become supporters.”
Shannon Hundley said not to let the people who aren’t helping stop you from taking action. “I think the idea is not getting stuck when/if they are not behind you. It’s easy to get discouraged when they are not with you, especially when they are in power, and then get stuck instead of progressing forward.”
Do you know the story of Willow and #CleanYourOwnSidewalkDay ? If you’ve got a minute and 45 seconds, watch it here.
If Willow had tried to convince everyone to change their minds, forget doing a cleanup day and sweep their own sidewalks instead, and then tried to convince the city to change their street sweeper work schedule, they would all have resisted.
Willow didn’t try to change their minds. Instead, Willow attracted them by planting her own flag and taking her own action and making it easy to join in. And that’s exactly how it worked.
Instead of obsessing about changing other people, focus on taking your own actions.
When once-reluctant people do join you, please please please do not make them feel bad about it. No gloating. No telling them “I knew you’d come around to my way of thinking.” Nothing like that.
You didn’t win them over. You didn’t win. The community won. Keep doing your thing.
Get a weekly dose of positivity for small communities from Becky McCray and Deb Brown, co-founders of SaveYour.Town. We share practical steps you can put into action right away.
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