There will always be opposition

Have you ever encoun­tered some­one who does­n’t agree with your point of view or see things the same way you do? I’m sure you’ve expe­ri­enced the ten­sion that lies when you have an idea but know some­one is going to chal­lenge you. This is what makes the world a beau­ti­ful place, but it can annoy us and stress us out. We can prob­a­bly agree with this state­ment: there will always be some­one who does not approve our work.

So, if it’s true there will always be oppo­si­tion, how then might we adjust our behav­ior?

If it’s true there will always be at least one per­son who does­n’t like what we’re up to, what might we need to con­sid­er in our mind­set and think­ing?

If it’s true all peo­ple will not see things the same way we do, what’s next?

Adjusting our behavior

One of the ways we can deal with oppo­si­tion is to adjust our behav­ior. As humans, we have the abil­i­ty to change the nar­ra­tive, change our think­ing, and see the world dif­fer­ent­ly. Some of this hap­pens in our think­ing pat­terns or in the invis­i­ble world. Some of this hap­pens in the exter­nal or phys­i­cal world. How we behave exists in both of these worlds.

Since there will always be oppo­si­tion, make an agree­ment with your­self that you will not sulk or get dis­cour­aged when you hear some­one who does­n’t like what you said. There will always be peo­ple who don’t get you, and you knew that before­hand! If you did­n’t know that, it’s true, right? We can’t live every moment of our lives in terms of those who oppose us.

Since there will always be oppo­si­tion, change your sur­round­ings. Switch things up. You don’t have to have your desk in that dark cor­ner. Your room does not have to be paint­ed that col­or. Make a sim­ple tweak to your sur­round­ings to help you remem­ber you have the abil­i­ty to change your sur­round­ings. Charles Duhigg illus­trates this in his book Smarter Faster Bet­ter where he describes how mem­bers of the mil­i­tary were giv­en the abil­i­ty to rearrange the fur­ni­ture in their liv­ing quar­ters. This gave each per­son a sense of auton­o­my and a deep­er sense of con­trol. You can do the same.

Since there will always be some­one who does­n’t like your work, decide now that you won’t let that freeze you up. The last thing you should do is freeze up and stop mak­ing stuff. That’s what the oppo­si­tion wants. Decide on the front end that you will cre­ate art. If there are peo­ple who don’t get it, as Seth Godin would say, it was­n’t for them.

Mindset and thinking questions... (Invisible world)

As you think about your inter­nal dia­logue or your invis­i­ble world, you can struc­ture how you want to think about your work.

How much atten­tion are you going to give the oppo­si­tion? Decide before it destroys your day.

How much atten­tion will you give your sup­port team? Know who they are so you can run to them in emer­gen­cies.

What voic­es ulti­mate­ly mat­ter most in your life? Brené Brown sug­gests hav­ing a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of paper with the voic­es that are most encour­ag­ing in your life. It’s small on pur­pose. Let them know they are on your square and keep them close, espe­cial­ly when you feel dis­cour­aged.

What’s next? (Physical world)

If it’s true there WILL be oppo­si­tion, Get to work. What are you wait­ing for?

Stop com­plain­ing. You knew this would­n’t be easy.

Butt in chair. Thanks, Anne Lam­ott

Find out what inspires you — and come back to it when you’re dis­cour­aged. Keep a rainy day file.

Dealing with Resistance

Any­time we do impor­tant work, we WILL face Resis­tance

It is pret­ty much a guar­an­tee. 

Peo­ple won’t like what we’re doing. They may even let us know (to our face). They’ll cheap­en our hard efforts and make us feel bad. And a com­mon ten­den­cy would be to com­pro­mise — to give in and give up. Some of us may even take those com­ments per­son­al­ly.

Some­times Resis­tance is loud. Peo­ple will tell us they don’t like what we’re doing and ask a mil­lion ques­tions about our motives. They may hold some kind of cam­paign and protest. Or they’ll sug­gest that what we’re doing isn’t impor­tant. 

Oth­er times (maybe more often?), Resis­tance is qui­et and pas­sive. Noth­ing spe­cif­ic is said, but there’s a lack of involve­ment or excite­ment that shows us they don’t like what we’re doing. Resis­tance can even take place in our own mind.

SO... what do we do about it?

Before I offer a pow­er­ful tool to keep us on track, here are 4 steps for deal­ing with Resis­tance:

1. Rec­og­nize Resis­tance is inevitable. It will show up. It’s not going to go away. Ever. That means what we are doing is start­ing to work and it’s being noticed. 

2. Embrace your team and com­mu­ni­ty. You have a group of peo­ple right here in this thread who wants to help you suc­ceed. If you’re tak­ing some­thing per­son­al­ly, LET US KNOW. You are not alone! We are here for you! If you face resis­tance, we can be pray­ing for you, and help you lead.

3. Greet Resis­tance when it shows up. The worst thing we can do is ignore the Resis­tance. Begin by say­ing “hel­lo Resis­tance!” when it shows up in what­ev­er form it takes. And in your head, just whis­per to your­self “I think I’m fac­ing Resis­tance right now.” This sim­ple phrase acti­vates the part of your brain that is more delib­er­ate and thought­ful rather than fast and thought­less. 

4. Stay focused on our end game. Specif­i­cal­ly on Sun­day morn­ing’s our end game is that peo­ple would think “I’m com­ing back next week.” We must stay focused on this and remind our­selves and our team mem­bers that every Sun­day is some­one’s first Sun­day and we want to even­tu­al­ly bring them into a grow­ing rela­tion­ship with Christ. 

A pow­er­ful tool for stay­ing on track... 

Clarify the win. 

Anoth­er way to deal with Resis­tance is to clar­i­fy the win. Every­one wants to win. When we are clear on what it looks like to win, peo­ple can bet­ter eval­u­ate what we’re doing. Most peo­ple are already eval­u­at­ing what we are doing based on their own inner-defined win. Some­times this is what there’s Resis­tance — what we’re doing does­n’t match THEIR win.

Your role: Restate the win fre­quent­ly. It may feel like we are a bro­ken record at times, but this just means what we are say­ing is start­ing to spread. We must remind peo­ple why we are so fanat­ic about mak­ing the Sun­day expe­ri­ence “irre­sistible” so we can let God do the work only he can do. 

QUESTION: Have you expe­ri­ence Resis­tance in your role as a leader? 

QUESTION: Are you pre­pared to greet Resis­tance this week and next? (And the week after that?) 

QUESTION: How do you deal with Resis­tance when it shows up?

(Inspired by Steven Press­field­’s The War of Art and Andy Stan­ley’s 7 Prac­tices)

Resistance as positive evidence

When we encounter Resis­tance, we might get dis­cour­aged con­clude that our idea or project is being reject­ed and a fail­ure. We inter­pret Resis­tance as neg­a­tive evi­dence.

But what if we counted Resistance as positive evidence?

Resis­tance is evi­dence that our idea just might stick...

Resis­tance is evi­dence that our art isn’t for every­one...

Resis­tance is evi­dence that we haven’t reached enough peo­ple yet...

Resis­tance is evi­dence that you shipped and got work out into the world...

Resis­tance is evi­dence that dif­fi­cult peo­ple will always exist and show up in any area where you show up...