Shadows and doubts

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One of the things I’ve become more aware of over time is the amount of doubt and negativity that people share with each other.

Whenever someone comes up with an idea for doing something different, trying something new, and maybe taking a risk, people tend to resort to either people-pleasing mode – giving unequivocal support even though the idea is riddled with holes, or they cast doubts on every aspect of it.

It’s understandable. Ideation is a very precious and personal thing. An idea starts bubbling away in the subconscious and forming within the mind’s eye, and one starts developing a vision for it that builds over time.

However, others can’t see the vision that is coming to you. You may be able to grasp it, but perhaps not to the level where you can articulate it in a way that does justice to its brilliance.

As such, the people you tell are working with partial information, and it is unlikely to light their fire as it does yours.

People aren’t generally comfortable with incomplete information, and so their fear centres become a little bit more alarmed and that can manifest as doubt, which they then share with you via their questions, their tone of voice, and their general posture.

The problem with spreading doubt is that it is often about the doubter’s personal risk profile/anxieties, and not the creator, and by sewing inappropriate seeds of doubt, it becomes self-fulfilling.

This is because doubt will put the person in a suspended state, whereby they want to move forward with an idea, but they are now questioning and second-guessing themselves so much that they are misstepping, missing opportunities, and failing to inspire others because their fire has been dampened by the dispiriting doubtfulness of others.

What people are really looking for when they present an idea is to be heard, to feel supported, and to possibly bounce ideas around. This is part of the development process, and what they could do with, is something leaning towards the positive, and creative, so that the idea can be fleshed out more fully.

That way, the idea can breathe. It can take life. It can be nurtured into conceptual being, rather than being diminished by the asphyxiating effects of doubt and negativity.

The trick, as a confidante, is to find an authentic balance between being positive and being pragmatic. If you find yourself being asked for your thoughts, check-in with yourself. Check your emotional response before answering. Tune into how your body feels. Unpack what your motives are in offering the responses that you do. Are there any of your own fears you are projecting? Do you have an agenda which is about your vision, and your interests, and not theirs? Are you secretly afraid that they are going to outshine you? Or are you looking to people please and give them the thumbs up, without giving due consideration to the nuances and helping them to develop the idea with rigour?

As the creator having the idea, the trick is to give the idea breathing space to gestate and grow, and to keep yourself tuned in and balanced to ensure that when the time comes to decide whether to execute, that the decision comes from the right place.

Don’t rush it. Ideas are meant to flow. If you take it systematically, then it will fall into place without having to be forced.

May the force be with you!

Will Williams

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