Tell them they’re wrong. Tell them you have a better idea. Back up your idea with some made up evidence based on opinion. Make sure they know you’re smarter about whatever topic you’re talking about. That’ll work! That person will never want to share an idea with you again.
Every time you shut down someone’s idea it’s like poking a bear. Sure you can get away with it the first time and maybe the second, but sooner or later if you keep poking, the bear is going to eat you.
Don’t strive to be “right” in conversations, that’s your ego coming through. Be confident in yourself, so confident in fact that you let others be right. Then more and more you’ll find others wanting to share their ideas with you.
I love that quote from Julien Smith. As kids we don’t care about feeling stupid, we don’t care how others will react, we just approach problems with a clean slate. To a child there are no repercussions, that’s why they use their imagination so much. Somewhere between having a child like sense of wonder, and being a grumpy adult, we lose our imagination. Or as Hugh McLeod would say,
“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”
The real world eats away at us, older people are quick to call out ludicrous ideas, and unless they’ve heard about it before they don’t trust it.
School teaches us that being wrong is bad, you should listen to what you’re told, shut up, and sit still. That problem with that is, I’m 28, I STILL can’t sit still, I never do what I’m told and it’s still relatively impossible to shut me up.
So what happened to our world?
In her brilliant Ted talk on why it’s OK to be wrong, Kathryn Schultz tells a hilarious story on how she was wrong about a simple sign on the side of the highway. But she reminds us that being wrong is fine, it’s a sign of growth. And we can never shy away from sharing how we truly feel. It’s those who are willing to risk being wrong that are going to make a difference in our world.
I coach volleyball, I’m also on the Regina Volleyball Club board as the coaches rep. I had a ball bag of another coaches and she emailed me to leave it in my backyard for her to pick up and exchange for the ball bag she had.
I put the bag in yard and a couple days go by. It hasn’t moved. A week goes by, it’s still there. And this was February in Regina so her bag was pretty much entirely covered in snow before I messaged her asking about why she’d neglected to pick up her bag nearly two weeks ago.
Her response: Jeph, I picked up my bag two weeks ago, I exchanged it with your bag. That’s your bag in the back yard covered in snow.
Me: Well don’t I feel like a horses patoot.
Go on, risk being wrong. And the next time you feel stupid, look at it as a good thing, you’re growing.
When you blame someone else for something, no matter what it is, you’re protecting yourself from being wrong or at fault.
When you say you’re sorry and take ownership of the situation, the common misconception is that it makes you look weak or powerless. When actually, saying you’re sorry humanizes you and makes you more likeable.
It’s easy to blame others, it’s hard to blame ourselves.
Understanding this is imperative to you making it in this world. It’s a scary place out there and you need to have thick skin if you want to make it. You have to own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for when things go wrong, don’t point out where others messed up, shut up and fix it yourself. If you get the reputation as the person who takes responsibility, who gets things done, and isn’t afraid of being wrong, you’re grooming yourself to be a leader.
When you blame others for something, it gives you nothing to do about it. Once you blame yourself, you now have something to work on. In the book Bounce it talks about how world class athletes sometimes feel lost when they win, because they have nothing they need to work on. The most successful athletes in the world are the ones constantly working to make something better.
Get in the habit of taking the blame, point the finger at yourself and don’t being afraid to fix a situation. People look up to others who get shit done. Especially in the world we live in, we all need to strive to take the blame more often.
1. No one is instantly good at business or snowboarding.
Snowboarding takes a while to get the hang of, just like business. No one wakes up a brilliant business person or gnarly snowboarder. Both take time. Those that get better are the ones who keep pushing the limits, they never assume they’ve hit their peak, they seek out unchartered territory, they try new things. They keep falling and falling but never refuse to stay down, that’s the key to success in snowboarding and business. Continue reading »
I’ve worked with many Nonprofits, as well as volunteered on several boards (currently president of one and vice president of another). I’ve seen the good and the bad, the purpose driven and the lost souls.
One day going back and forth with a good friend discussing the growth strategy of Nonprofit organizations she pitches me, “if you want to run a successful Nonprofit the person in charge has to have a vision of what they want to create and they must care a whole lot.” This struck me as odd because how could something so complex as the leadership of a Nonprofits be summed up by satisfying two variables? It couldn’t possibly be that simple could it?
This moment in time reminded me of a Woody Guthrie quote.
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
Nonprofit leadership comes down to two things. Having a vision and caring. A leader with an inspirational vision but doesn’t care is a snake oil salesman. They have grandiose ideas, they’re smooth talkers, they could sell a Ketchup Popsicle to a women in white gloves. But when the chips fall, when the going get tough, when the real work begins, this snake oil slinging fella is nowhere to be found. Continue reading »
I had an enlightening conversation with my sister the other day. She works for a company in Calgary. She really understands the industry (realizing this after many probing questions of course) she’s worked her way up to a point where she’s quite valuable in the company, and she still doesn’t know how smart she is.
She isn’t lazy, hates being board, and understands that a stressful, hectic, growing company is much better to be working for than a stale, easy to do job, at a company going no where. The way she thinks is simply refreshing. A great person to have on the team. She truly wants to see her company grow and has a pretty good handle on how to go about doing that.
The best part? She doesn’t have a University degree. Nor do I think she needs one, I think she’s brilliant.
School was never her thing, so she couldn’t pay attention in class and learn, just like many kids back in the day and even more so today. She probably would be diagnosed with a mild version of attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But she’s so intelligent in how she thinks. She understands how actions affect other people, she’s self-aware, and really has the companies best interests in mind.
She’s a women in a industry dominated by men, has been told but popular education that her grades just aren’t good enough and still she’s excelling at her job in an enormous way. That’s awesome.