The Big Idea
We tend to undervalue our happiness when it comes to decision making.
Questions I Answer
- What do you do if those around you aren’t bought into your new goal or dream?
- How can I make better decisions?
- How can I get my family to support my dream?
- What steps can I take to feel more confident in my decision making?
Actions to Take
- I want you to stop questioning yourself, and looking to others for approval or encouragement. You can do it yourself. You can give yourself the support you need. It is amazing and nice to have the support of other people. When you have confidence in yourself, and you buy-in on you, you’ll begin to see that that support comes pouring in.
Key Topics in the Show
How to get support from the important people around us
6 steps to take when you’re trying to get someone to buy-in on something you believe in
Learning to persevere even when others don’t support you
Dealing with analysis paralysis when making decisions
3 tips to feel more confident in your decision making
Resources and Links
Welcome to season nine of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast focused on using productivity, not just to do more, but to achieve what’s most important to you. Join Tanya has she kicks off the New Year with a special season titled, New Year True You. To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to inkWELLpress.com/podcast. And now here’s your host Tanya Dalton.
Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is Episode 108. Today’s episode has been brought to you by FreshBooks. If you’re looking for a time saving way to organize your finances, check out FreshBooks: a cloud based accounting software. Right now, FreshBooks is offering a free 30 day unrestricted trial for my listeners. So, I’ll be sharing more details about that a little later in the episode. But let’s go ahead and dive into today’s topic: Why You Need To Stop Asking For Permission. Our focus today is going to be about what to do when you’re looking for support and others aren’t around you, maybe aren’t buying in on your idea or your goal or whatever your dream may be. How do you get them engaged?
I also wanna talk about making good choices and feeling confident with our decisions. Because let’s face it, most of the time when you’re making big decisions in life, whether it’s about a career move, or starting a new business, or pursuing a new healthier lifestyle, it always helps to have support and encouragement all around you, to keep you motivated and to cheer you on through the tough times. That support could come from a significant other, your family, a good friend, your boss, maybe a colleague from work, but what do you do if those people around you aren’t really buying in on this new goal or this venture you wanna pursue? Sometimes, getting that support can be really tough, and sometimes people might doubt your idea. And that doesn’t help, especially when maybe you have some doubts of your own, right? Getting to the ledge and jumping into unfamiliar territory, it can be really scary which is why we seek that support in the first place. We want others to validate us, and to make us feel like it’s okay to take that leap of faith.
So, let’s talk about getting that buy-in from the people around us who are important to us. The truth of the matter is that usually when we’re trying to get someone to buy-in to something, we typically end up selling our idea to that person that we want the support from. We come up with an idea, and we sell it to ourselves first, and then we go and we sell it to others in an effort to gain their support. We describe our plan and then defend it incessantly. But in reality when people feel sold to, they’re inclined to be a little more resistant and they tend to question things a little bit more. So, they cast some doubt, and you defend your ideas, and then they cast some doubt, and you defend your idea even more, and so on. Now, sometimes you might be persistent enough to gain that person’s support. But you probably won’t gain the, sort of, buy-in that really motivates someone to truly and deeply
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support your idea. So, how do you get someone to buy-in at that deeper level, instead of feeling like they’re being strong armed? Well, what if you flip the idea of selling someone your idea and instead, engage them into a process to make them feel like they’re a part of things? So, instead of pushing your idea on them, and then defending those ideas, what could you do to draw that person in instead?
Real buy-in from someone else requires at least some sort of ownership or collaboration. It allows stakeholders, in other words, the people you need to buy-in. You want them to feel more vested in the final outcome, if they’re a part of that process. John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor, and author of the book Buy In, has studied this concept of people buying in, and how it’s critical in creating change whether it’s in large corporate organizations or small business or even just in our everyday life. So, let’s talk about six steps to take when you’re trying to get someone to buy-in on something you believe in. We want them to really buy-in to it at a deeper level, so they are there alongside of you, cheering you on, supporting you, and maybe even picking you up when you feel like you’ve stumbled. So, let’s go through these six steps. The first thing is to highlight the problem. Before anyone is going to believe or support your idea, they need to know there’s a problem that needs to be solved somehow. As Kotter puts it, “People aren’t going to consider anything, until they’re convinced there’s a problem that truly needs to be addressed.” So, I think that’s really important: dive into what problem you are hoping to solve.
The second step is to provide reasoning and evidence. Now, as you share your idea, don’t forget to emphasize how this idea solves the problem at hand. It’s not enough to have the problem, we wanna be the solution, right? Share how and why you think that this action you wanting to take, how this will make a good or positive change. And if you’ve tested it at all, share those results as well.
The third step is to have confidence. If you don’t feel confident in your goal or your dream, how can you expect someone else to have faith in it? People are far more willing to listen, if you’re self-assured and prepared. So, have confidence in your own ideas before you seek others to support you. And don’t worry if confidence is one of those things that you feel like, “I’m lacking a little bit in that area.” We’re gonna be talking in the second half of the show about how you can feel more confident about these decisions, so we’ll be getting to that in just a little bit, but let’s go through and talk about step number four to get people to buy-in.
The fourth step is to accept feedback and criticism. Kotter actually refers to this as, “inviting in the lions.” Because he believes that if people have no opinions, no objections, no emotions usually means they don’t care. So, we want people to care, they’re gonna push back, that’s part of the job when we love somebody else because we want the best for them. So, we like to play devil’s advocate. So, what I want you to do is invite them to provide feedback and their suggestions. Let them share their opinions and their ideas, and allow them to feel like they’re involved in this decision making process. You want them to feel like they are actively a part of it because the fifth step is to assess that feedback and start making some improvements. Now, you don’t have to implement every single suggestion, but letting someone feel like their feedback is being heard and valued, will make it feel less like a one sided sales pitch, and more like a collaborative effort, and that’s what we’re looking for. Maybe some of these new ideas or these opinions are worth considering. So, any helpful advice, take
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it, and then make adjustments to your plan or your idea. Really, it does help to get a very different perspective and a different point of view, so that when you’re moving forward with this decision, you feel like you’re really well informed.
And then the sixth step is to communicate your progress. Keep your supporters or your stakeholders invested in your idea. So, be sure to keep them updated about any changes you’ve made or progress that’s taken place. People like to feel like they’re alongside of you. So, be sure to highlight any of their feedback that was implemented, and continue to ask them for additional comments or advice to keep them engaged. Don’t wait for them to ask you what’s going on: you reach out and pull them in, make them feel a part of the process. I think that is really, really important. Now, hopefully some of these approaches will help you gain the support you’re looking for. But if you don’t get the buy-in that you really wanting, don’t let that defeat you. I know it can be terribly disappointing and discouraging if someone else isn’t supportive, or maybe not even interested at all in your efforts. Believe me, I’ve experienced this firsthand, so I totally get it. Just keep in mind that buy-in is a “nice to have” not a necessity.
So, if you don’t get it, doesn’t mean you have to stop dead in your tracks from pursuing something you believe will make you happy. Think of it as a minor obstacle, and find ways to work around it so you can forge ahead on that path towards fulfillment. In fact, watch an episode of Shark Tank and you’ll see not every entrepreneur gets a shark to jump in, or invest or partner with them. In fact, some of the very best stories on the show, aren’t the ones that get the investor at all. Some of the best ones are actually the people whose ideas get shot down, but they don’t let it discourage them. They might leave a little discouraged, right? But they usually look at the camera and they say, “This isn’t gonna stop me. This isn’t the end of my journey. I’m gonna make my idea succeed.” So, take that attitude to heart. Don’t let the lack of buy-in or support defeat you. You have to push back any doubt and persevere. You’ve probably heard me say this before but, overnight success is just one of those bedtime stories we tell ourselves because it happens to other people. We just don’t peek behind the curtains and see that they have been sweating away all along. Many of the most successful people, experience rejection and failure, what differentiates them from everyone else, is that they don’t allow that rejection to define them.
You don’t need the support of someone else to succeed in what you’re wanting to pursue. Sure, it can make us more comfortable about the direction we’re going in, and it helps to validate the choices we’re making, but in the end validation or not, you are the one who has to live with these choices. You have to wake up day
after day, and have faith in your own vision. And the person you’re looking for validation from, isn’t the one who’s pouring in the blood, sweat and tears into the goal or the project or the business or whatever it is you’re wanting to pursue. So really, at the end of the day, the person who’s doing the work which is basically you, you are the one who really has to believe in yourself. You’re the one who has to believe in what you’re trying to do. Believing in yourself is critical. So, I wanna jump back into the tail end of last week’s discussion about making better choices, and how that can affect your future self.
But first, I wanna take a quick minute to talk about today’s sponsor FreshBooks. Designed for small businesses, FreshBooks is an invoicing and
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accounting software that’s easy, intuitive, and keeps you organized. Using your phone, you can take pictures of your receipts and instantly assign them to clients, or add them to invoices through the FreshBooks mobile app. It’s a fast, easy way to digitally store and organize expense receipts. So, join the millions of people who are using FreshBooks, and you can try it for free for 30 days. Just go to freshbooks.com/ paradox. And in the box that says “How did you hear about us?” Type in Productivity Paradox. It really is that easy.
Okay, I wanna talk about you feeling a little more confident about your decisions because as I mentioned a minute ago, confidence in yourself is the key to getting the support from others. You have to believe in you before anyone else will.
But I get it, we often question our decisions. In life, we are faced with making millions of decisions all of the time: from the time the alarm goes off until the time that our head hits the pillow at the end of the day. We have thousands and thousands of choices to think about and contemplate every single day. Now, when it comes to making decisions, most people would argue that having lots of choices would be really helpful, right? I mean, having more options means we have the freedom to pick what’s right for us, or what works best.
So, having tons of choices seems like it would make us happier, and decision making should be easier, right? Well, it seems like that would be the case. But in reality, too many choices can be too many choices. It can be detrimental to our happiness and to our productivity. So, let’s talk a little bit about the downside of having so many choices, and what it does to our brains and our mental state because what my goal is, is by understanding these ideas of why we lack the confidence in our own decisions, we can turn that on its head and start to feel a little bit better about the decisions we are making. I recently watched a TED Talk with Barry Schwartz, who’s the author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, and I found some really intriguing theories in his work. He started the talk with the a interesting discussion about how many different choices there are just even in the local supermarket. I’m sure we can all relate to the fact that he noticed there were 285 varieties of cookies, 230 types of soup and 175 different salad dressings, right? Now, while most people would assume that all of these fabulous choices means more freedom, Barry actually argues the exact opposite. He says that the explosion of choice isn’t always beneficial, and that the paralysis is actually the consequence of having too many choices.
Now, I know you’ve heard me talk about analysis paralysis in previous episodes. We even have one whole episode, number 43, that talks about this idea of feeling overwhelmed with the decision making process. And this falls along those same lines. Basically, if I go back to Barry Schwartz’s supermarket aisle with the, what? 175 salad dressings, he’s talking about the feeling that you get when you’re looking at 175 salad dressing choices, trying to decide which one is the best one. I mean, what’s better organic or non-GMO? Low sugar? Low salt? Fat free, low fat, low cow, no cow? The list goes on, and the options, and the choices it’s just overwhelming because it just goes on and on. And then your head is spinning and you look down at your watch and you realize, “Oh my gosh, I’ve spent 15 minutes just in the salad dressing aisle, and I’m still not even sure which one to get.” So, really, it’s just causing more and more time to be wasted away as we try to wade through the myriad of vinaigrette choices.
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So, this is what’s really interesting, I think, it’s that Schwartz says that, “Even if we do sort through all these choices, these 175 salad dressings, and we actually end up making a decision, we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would if there were fewer options.” It seems contradictory to what you’d expect. But when you think about it, what it means is that it’s really more about how we compare what we chose with what we didn’t pick. So, the value that we place on something that we would’a, should’a, could’a picked instead of just enjoying what we picked in the first place. Schwartz says that these opportunity costs or the perceived value of the things that we didn’t pick, they end up subtracting from the satisfaction we would experience with the choice we made.
Ultimately, we’re unable to experience happiness with our choice, because we’re still contemplating all the other options. So, he talks about something called the escalation of expectations, which in basic terms means our expectations have gone up significantly with the rise of the number of choices, basically, with less choices we have less to complain about or to think about, but now with so many choices, our expectations have gone up because surely, amongst all these choices, there should be something perfect for me, right? So, it’s hard for us to ever be satisfied if our expectations are so high, and we’re still always thinking about the other choices out there.
The last thing Schwartz talks about, is that we tend to feel the blame when we’re making this choice. It’s less than perfect or lower than our expectations. So, back when there were fewer choices, we could easily blame the salad dressing company: “Ah, they only have three choices.” But now, with 175, when we make that purchase we feel responsible for that satisfaction, or a lack of satisfaction because we made that choice. We are responsible, we feel, for our own unhappiness and it becomes this never ending cycle of disappointment and pursuit of perfection that is impossible to find, right? So, I think that’s really important: when you’re thinking through your decisions, to not get overwhelmed by this paradox of choice because in decision making, we’re also faced with other self-imposed conundrums like, distinction bias, which is basically like comparing apples to apples with dozens of varieties of apples, trying to distinguish the unnoticeable differences between two types of apples, that can also put us in this state of paralysis, where we evaluate one apple against looking at another apple that looks exactly the same. And sometimes these subtleties are so inconsequential that we can get stuck debating the merits of apples, without even picking an apple to bite into and enjoy. We get lost in this comparing of quantitative things to qualitative things.
So, we look at the numbers in the higher values as a way to validate our choices: which Apple is more expensive? That one must be the best one. So, if we take this idea and apply it to real life, it’s that idea that, you know, a $50,000 a year job, doing something I’m passionate about, might be valued less than a $60,000 job doing work that I don’t really like. We tend to undervalue intangible things like happiness when it comes to thinking about our decisions, like our job, we get really stuck thinking about that $10,000 difference, and when we see that, we become fixated on that and we forget about that intangible cost of happiness. So, what do we do with so many choices? How can we began to feel confident with the decisions we’re making, so that way we can stop asking for permission, and that way we really can get others to buy-in because we believe in ourselves.
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So, to make the best possible choice without causing more stress or over analyzing things, I have three really quick tips. The first tip is to evaluate each choice individually: don’t do a side by side comparison and get caught up in the inconsequential details. It’s tempting when we’re looking at more than one thing, to make a T-Chart and really look at the little minute details. Try to focus only on what you do like and don’t like about a choice, as if there are no other choices to be had. If you’re looking at multiple options, treat each one as its own individual choice. The second tip is to list the must haves and the nice to haves before you decide. Pay attention to what you actually need or really want versus the things that aren’t necessary, not nice to have. Don’t waste time on things that won’t really benefit you, don’t waste your time too thinking about, “Well, this is nice, it has this bell and whistle,” even though that’s not something that you really even want in the first place.
And then the third tip is look at the quality, not just the numeric values. Don’t forget to put value on things like happiness, less stress or time spent with family. Take monetary value out of the mix and evaluate based on the attributes you’re really seeking. Think about what you really want and does this fulfill those wants and needs that you really have? So, that’s three really quick and easy ways, you can begin to feel a little bit more confident with your decision making process. And, I think that is really so important because if you’re looking for someone to buy-in, even if that person you’re looking to buy-in is yourself, it really is good to feel like you have made the right decision.
And really, what I hope for today is that you walk away from this episode, feeling empowered that you don’t have to feel like you need outside support or affirmation in order to proceed to make choices. I want you to stop questioning yourself, and looking to others for approval or encouragement. You can do it yourself. You can give yourself the support you need. It is amazing and nice to have the support of other people. When you have confidence in yourself, and you buy-in on you, you’ll begin to see that that support comes pouring in. And maybe it doesn’t start that way, but it will come: it really will. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will. And that’s what I want you to remember. I want you to live your life true to who you are and true to your dreams, true to your goals, true to that life that you really desire. So, that’s out there. It’s just up to you to go get it.
Now, before I sign off, I’d like to ask you for a quick favor: If you like the messages we talk about here on the podcast, will you help me spread the word? In order to allow this podcast to grow, and to help others shift their mindset and begin becoming that best version of yourself, we need the podcast to continue to grow. When you leave a review, or when you post on Instagram and you share your takeaways, it allows these messages to spread to others. And I really would appreciate your love and support because I really do believe we are all capable of living our best life, of becoming the true you that you were meant to be. So, if you could just take a minute, leave a review, post on Instagram: be sure to tag me because I really do love reading your takeaways, and what you’re doing moving forward towards becoming that true you, you are destined to be. And to help with that, next week’s episode will be all about motivation. How to get yourself to work even when you do don’t really want to. So, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.