Two years ago I was speaking for a high school leadership conference in Wyoming. There were about 300 teenagers in the audience and I talked to them about how they can be leaders and play to win in their life. After my speech several kids came up to me to thank me or tell me what they got out of it, but there was one girl who stood back and waited for everyone to leave and then she approached me.
She asked if we could talk and we sat down at a table in the empty ballroom. She told me her name and said, “I’m struggling with something. I would like to get your advice.” I asked her what it was and she said, “I am a lesbian and I don’t feel like our counties laws are fair for people like me. Every day at school we stand up and say the pledge of allegiance and I feel like I should boycott this act because I can’t support a country that doesn’t support me. My parents don’t want me to do this but what do you think I should do?”
I was shocked at her question, but I knew what I wanted to teach her. My response had nothing to do with her being gay or straight, it wasn’t political or religious. It is however the answer to some of the biggest problems we create for ourselves. So I said, “I’m not going to tell you what to believe or how to feel, but I do believe our world would be a better place if we started promoting what we love rather than bashing what we hate.”
We had a great conversation about what that meant and how that is truly a principle of influence and persuasion and she left with a positive approach.
Now it is time for the rest of us to start promoting what we love instead of bashing what we hate.
There is no better example of this than in American Politics. It has become such a mud-slinging exercise that you almost don’t know what candidates stand for because all you hear from them is how bad their opponent is.
But we do the same thing in business don’t we? We put down the competition and try to differentiate ourselves by talking about how we are better because they do this wrong and that wrong.
Let me ask you if that line of persuasion works on you? Do you become loyal to someone because they tell you how bad everyone else is? Of course not – so why do we lower ourselves to that standard?
If you want to stand out, be heard, be relevant, attract people to you, create change or be an influence for good – then Promote What You Love rather Than Bashing What you Hate.