Midwest Maybe

Ben Milne from Dwolla said at the Social IRL Conference on Thursday you can contribute in a positive or negative way. Are you someone who complains a lot? You’ll find that negative attracts negative and you’ll soon be surrounded by negative people.

Jason Freed from 37 signals taught him that the concept of recognizing bad actors right away and then getting away from them as fast as you can. They are like cancer and will drag you down.  Here in the midwest, we want to make everyone happy and we try to appease those negative nellies (apologies to nellies everywhere).

There’s a saying outside of the midwest — because we don’t know how to say yes or no in the midwest, that action is called midwest maybe. We wait … and wait … and wait and drag our feet and stick to the maybe.  We could learn a lot by learning to say yes or no. When you say maybe and drag your feeth often you find the opportunity has passed.  We lose. The person offering loses.

We in the midwest are taught to be kind and not hurt anyones feelings.  Except a maybe can do just that.  If you tell me maybe about a project, I hear you saying you need more information about it and I work my behind off to get that to you.  When what you really meant was no, but didn’t want to hurt my feelings.  In reality, a no would have allowed me to move forward and not get stuck trying to get you more information you didn’t want.  A no would have been kinder.

If you are saying maybe to that negative person, you are still allowing them to be in your space and taking up valuable time and attention.  It’s like a giant vacuum sucking away all your happy thoughts, good intentions and joyful moods.  You find yourself in a bad mood and that reflects on you and your business.  Instead, learn to say “no thank you.” That’s it – a simple no.  You don’t even have to give a reason.

Let’s stop worrying so much about what people will think of us.  Let’s try to be honest and helpful. I’m going to work on surrounding myself with people smarter than me and happy people.  Because I like my life to be happy, and it’s ultimately up to me to make it that way.

No maybe about it.