I led a workshop recently for a senior management team that included some veterans of the corporate world. Just a few hours into the session, one of them blurted out, “This bigger game stuff is incredibly simplistic. I don’t see how it can be of any use to anyone.”
Well, thanks for your positive feedback!
I let this naysayer get to me initially. I stewed about his critique that night. I was hurt. And feeling insecure! Yet, when I woke up the next morning, there was a fire in my belly. I wasn’t angry. Instead, I was very clear about why the Bigger Game is an important tool, especially for those who’ve become cynical and resistant to fresh approaches. I realized that Mr. Naysayer needed me much more than I needed him!
I rocked the second day of that workshop. I came up with concepts, contexts, and content that had never occurred to me in the past. Mr. Naysayer proved to be a terrific ally, a gift that just kept on giving, because he inspired me to up my own game. And he ended up receiving great value from the workshop!
Recently some naysayers showed up and told Chuck and I that we were crazy for producing another Bigger Game Expo. We were told it didn’t make good business sense and that we shouldn’t go after high-priced speakers. Well, I must tell you, our immediate thought was, “Oh yeah? Well, wait and see!” Again, that fire in the belly showed up. We are now more compelled than ever to create an incredible Expo experience.
I think we all should embrace our naysayers, competitors, and antagonizers. They can drive you to make your game bigger and better. You may not like them. You may even curse the fact that they’re in your life. But anyone or anything that motivates you and fuels your passion is an ally in some way.
The brilliant Henry Kimsey-House, cofounder of The Coaches Training Institute, first taught me the leadership principle that says resistance is our friend. You may have seen this applied in a comedy club. Professional comedians are adept at taking hecklers and making them part of the act, tapping the resistance and turning it into a more engaging and “alive” performance.
Tap into any resistance coming your way and use it to your advantage. Don’t get mad… get creative! In fact, it could be that your own naysayer might have a point. You should consider that too.
Your allies can also include competitors and arch foes. Where would Hertz be without Avis? Coke without Pepsi? Fallon without Kimmel? Overcoming the challenges presented by competitors will make your success all the sweeter!
My former boss David Overton, founder of The Cheesecake Factory, embraced the concept of competitors as allies. He welcomed it when other restaurants moved into the same areas as his own, because he believed the more people who saw his restaurants, the more who’d want to visit them. He also felt that because there was usually a wait every night for seating at The Cheesecake Factory, the competitors provided an option for diners who couldn’t wait to be seated. David clearly operates from an abundance perspective. He believes there’s plenty of success out there for all to share, and rejects the idea that it’s merely survival of the fittest or that there’s only so much success available in the universe.
The point I’m trying to make here is pretty obvious. Our allies can come in all shapes and sizes, and in people and things that you least expect. Don’t just engage with the obvious allies in your life… get curious and see what’s waiting for you around the next corner. You might just be surprised!
More to come-
PS – I’d love to hear from you about some unexpected allies in your life! (Please comment below)