“Be receptive to new ideas from all fronts.”
It’s easy to be open-minded and accepting of ideas when they come from people we know, respect and get along well with. It’s not as easy to be that welcoming when getting suggestions from someone you don’t exactly jive with.
But as solopreneurs looking to build our businesses in creative ways, sometimes we’ve got push our bias aside to discover and grow.
To suppress the knee-jerk reaction to instantly reject input from a person or group you don’t see eye-to-eye with, keep these things in mind:
- You might not like them, but they’ve probably got some smarts – Give them the benefit of the doubt. There’s probably some hint of common sense or expertise in what they share. At the very least, what they suggest will get you thinking and lead you to new ideas of your own.
- If they point out a weakness, maybe you do have room for improvement – Don’t dwell on their criticism, but objectively consider what they tell you and determine if there’s truth in it. They might have no justification at all for fault-finding, but if there is, wouldn’t you want to fix what’s broken?
- Being gracious and grateful helps build burnt bridges – When you don’t have an amicable relationship with the source of a suggestion, it won’t hurt matters to hear them out. Resist eye-rolling and say “thank you” after they’ve said their piece. Common courtesy can go a long way in salvaging civility between people who haven’t shared common ground.
Most importantly, remember that looking to others with diverse views is a way to expand your perspective and go outside of your comfort zone. You don’t have to act on their ideas, but their thoughts could be the catalysts to new and successful approaches you otherwise might not have considered.
Have you ever found great ideas via people you don’t particularly have an affinity for?
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