The Art of Being Nice (Even When You Don’t Want to Be)

As an entrepreneur, you get it. You really do. Someone will hear about your dream and shoot it down faster than a flaming comet, but you’re not deterred. But what happens when someone you really want to work with thinks you stink? Or you’re feeling unsettled by the day’s events and the temptation to just pop under pressure sinks in? Here are four ways to stay nice even when you don’t want to be:


Staying nice in the face of adversity

Bad days happen. Your product launch bombs, your computer crashes and that investor you’ve been working on hooking up with, cancels your meeting. It’s okay to have a bad day, because the next day will be better. Simply put, don’t let a bad day ruin your sunshine, because it’s simply shaping you for the next opportunity. To help you stay in the right frame of mind, pull out a notepad and pen once the chaos of this bad day has subsided and jot down five points why you’re doing this, to remind yourself that you’re still on track.

Staying nice when people don’t pay on time

It is the curse of the modern business, and something every company, big, small or one-man-band, battles with – clients who just don’t pay on time. You signed the contract, delivered the work and now you’re just waiting to get paid. When payment deadline 1 passes, and there’s still fish moths in your bank account, breathe. There’s a distinct difference between going hardball first up, and gently sending off a reminder. Of course, if payment deadlines 2, 3 and 4 have zoomed by, it’s time to call your lawyer and start rolling that ball towards payment time but, at first, send off a gentle reminder for payment.

Staying nice when someone else got there first

You pitched a heck of a plan, put forward your vision and they chose someone else to follow through on the project. Now what? Firstly, take some time to go through that pitch again, and assess where you could’ve perhaps improved. Secondly, don’t get disheartened – just because the project is moving forward without you at the helm, doesn’t mean you’re out forever. Is the appointed company someone you’ve worked with before? Perhaps they need a helping hand with some aspects of project implementation – there’s no shame in asking, especially since you both already had a vested interest in the job, long before it even began. Let’s remember too, that collaboration regularly paves the road to success, so don’t cut yourself off from the possibilities of partnership.

Staying nice when you’re just not feeling it today

You left that meeting feeling drained, but still have another two to get through before you can go home, curl up on the couch and turn your brain off for a bit. Let’s stop and lift that brain fog before you let it spill out into your next meeting by taking a ten-minute timeout. Take the train to your next meeting or hail an Uber so you can sit back, rather than navigate traffic. Don’t whip out your phone and try to catch up on email before your next meeting – rather take those ten minutes to breathe, soak up the scenery and refocus. Your brain fog will thank you, and your next two meetings will take their rightful course, because you regrouped before firing off that next big idea.

When you learn the art of being nice to yourself, you’ll learn the art of staying nice, even in a world that sometimes not very nice to you.