#2: The Naysayer’s Family

Outing The Naysayer in my head has turned into a genealogical project. He seems to have a host of relatives who live between the ears of lots of people. Some of you have commented here and others have emailed me with stories about this sprawling family and its antics.

I am eager to explore and share some ideas about how these voices got there and how we can go about thriving in spite of their cacophony. First, however, I want to keep my promise and sit for a while with some initial questions: Who is your naysayer? Does it have a name? What does it say to you, probably over and over and over? Whose voice does it speak in? Are there predictable times when it pipes up?

I’ll jump out there and get us started. Someone asked me why The Naysayer was male and I couldn’t come up with a better answer than “he just is.” He usually uses a loud, derisive voice but sometimes he’s quiet but persistent. He begins sentences with words like “You can’t possibly,” or “You should.” Some recent themes involve change and taking risks, “Be very, very careful here. Remember last time? Don’t want to embarrass yourself again. Better just keep still and let that opportunity pass.” Or “What makes you think you are smart/talented/attractive/experienced/ brave enough to do that? I don’t think so.”

Is this voice totally foreign to any of you? Does it seem like something you used to hear but has long since grown quiet? I hope you guys are out there and look forward to what you have to say when we ask the next questions about overcoming the effects of our naysayers.

This clan of gremlins fascinates me and I’d love to learn more about them. Please introduce us to your branch of the family by commenting here. You can invent an avatar and post anonymously if that is more comfortable. You can also email me and I’ll summarize those responses. Many thanks to those of you who figured out the technology and took the risk to comment on the first post.  Whether you’re commenting or not, feel free to hit the “Follow” button on the right side so you’ll be notified when I put up a new post.

Warm thanks to you all, readers and responders alike, for giving this brand new blog a wonderful birthday!

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3 Responses to #2: The Naysayer’s Family

  1. Ann Lucy Strickland Merritt says:


    Thanks for including me in your blog. Having just turned 70, yes I can now say it, I don’t listen to any naysayers. My philosophy is if we listened to all the reasons we can’t or shouldn’t do something we would never get out of bed in the morning. So, rock on, girl!



  2. Duncan Seawell says:

    Don’t know about you, but the voice I hear is louder and sharper toned when the task is well outside my wheelhouse. In certain areas of my life, that makes for especially sweet successes. In others, the voice wins, stands confirmed, and is guaranteed to be louder and meaner the next time. The trick, I think, is letting the victories in one area of life help defeat the doubt in something totally unrelated. Yep, still workin’ on that one. Watching you model strength over The Naysayer helps much. Back to grabbing victories large and small…


  3. FAS says:

    As Thelma, at around age 92, said, “I’m too old not to do it and I don’t care what others think!”


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