Facing Resistance: How Not To Give Up

Are you discouraged because of resistance from others?

When you step out and take a stand, you are likely going to face opposition. It comes with the territory.

Change ignites the resistance of others. It is that plain and simple.

When you champion a particular cause, idea or plan, you are challenging people to see things in a new light. You are pushing them off the place where they’ve grown very comfortable. You are upsetting their little world.

You are leveraging the power of truth and it is going to force them to change in some way and they don’t like it.

Therefore, they are going to resist you. They are going to stall, whine, complain, disrupt, obstruct and refuse you in every way they can. At times, it can get downright nasty.

How do you cope with this and how do you get people to see things your way? Let’s take a stab at answering those two important questions.

How to Cope With Resistance From Others

First, I’d tell you not to worry too much about it. I know this is easier said than done, but getting all upset about it won’t solve anything. In fact, it will just drain you, depress you and start to distract you – if you let it. We’ll talk more about how to deal with resistors in a minute.

For now, let me offer a couple of perspectives to help you cope.

1. Expect It

Don’t be surprised when you face opposition and don’t faint when it comes from a direction you weren’t expecting because it will (sooner or later).

When it happens, go ah-ha there you are. You’ve come out of hiding. This is a good thing. Knowing who the resistors are is good because then you can keep an eye on them and figure out how to deal with them.

Expecting resistance takes most of the shock out of it and significantly decreases its destructive power.

However, no matter how often I tell people – including myself – to expect opposition, it still always seems to be a bit of a blow when it rears its ugly head. Just don’t let it knock you completely off your rocker.

2. Smile At It

When you face opposition, after you get over the initial shock of it, smile on the inside. Be a little happy about it.

Have I gone insane? Am I stark-raving madLife just grew more complicated and I’m telling you that you should be happy about it?!?

Well, there is some method to my madness.

You see, when you encounter resistance to one or more of your ideas, strategies or plans, then you know you are doing something worthwhile.

If your life is completely calm, peaceful and without any opposition whatsoever, then you likely aren’t really engaged in anything of much value.

You can smile knowing that you are the one poking their box and making them uncomfortable. You are the leader that is in control and making things happen.

Plus, you can be assured that you just struck a chord with someone. You pushed their buttons enough to make them speak out. They’ve revealed their hand to you. You now know where they stand. Now you can deal with them.

Take a deep breath and smile.

How to Get People to See Things Your Way

Above all else, do not give up when resistance comes your way. You are on an important mission. You cannot let this stop you.

Resistance is not insurmountable. It can be discouraging. It can be distracting. It can even be disruptive, but it isn’t the end of the world.

We tend to obsess over opposition and let it make us want to quit.

I’m here to tell you that giving up is the only sure way to lose and to fail in this situation. Surrendering now is game over. End of story.

Yes, the resistance will stop if you quit, but so will everything you’ve worked so hard for up to this point. Don’t let all that go!

Instead, get people to see things your way – especially those that are in resistance mode.

Here are three powerful ways to disarm your resistors:

1. Listen to Them

In the beginning, you should just listen. Don’t try to persuade them. Don’t argue with them. Don’t run from them. Sit quietly and listen to them.

This can be difficult because you are likely going to hear things you disagree with and that even make you mad. However, I can assure you that listening first is the best thing to do.

You’ll get your chance to speak.

When you listen, you’ll lower their emotional state. You’ll show that you value their opinion. And you’ll learn their point of view.

All of this will help you in your quest to get them to see things your way. But, you have to listen quietly first.

2. Give Them Something

I’m not talking about a gift or a bribe – although…never mind (shake that thought off).

After you’ve heard their side of the story, which if you listen closely will reveal their fears, you need to make a move to make them feel safe.

You can do this by giving them something.

You can give them a role so they feel they have some control. You can give them a compromise or accommodation to make the change more palatable. Or you can give them a specific request that they make.

What you give them depends on what they fear the most. You learn this by listening and by asking questions.

Ask them:

• Would you like to…

• Would it be better if…

• Would it be easier if…

• Would you support me if…

• Would you help me with…

• Would it make a difference if…

These types of questions will help validate that what you are giving is going to make a difference. This is crucial. Giving the wrong thing, of course, isn’t going to help.

3. Gently Woo Them

After you’ve listened and given, then you can gently start making your case.

I like to use the word “woo” here. To woo someone is to tempt or invite them to join you. Wooing is a pursuit, but one that is careful and agreeable.

In the days of courtship, a man wooed a woman into romance and eventually marriage. If he came on too strong, she’d likely bolt. He had to be patient and gently persistent. He had to be assertive enough to show his intention without scaring off his quarry.

You want to tempt your resistors into joining you, at least enough so they aren’t actively opposing you.

You woo them from the far side a few steps toward the center where they are no longer an active resistor. If that’s the best you can do, then that’s enough.

Of course, if you can – over time – swing them to your side, then you will have a raving fanthat will be one of your greatest assets. That’s the payoff in all this and what you should shoot for.

Do Not Let Resistance Defeat You

Again, if you are doing anything meaningful, you should expect some resistance along the way. Don’t let it defeat you.

Use the tactics above to cope with and to overcome your resistors.

What have I missed? How do you deal with resistance?


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