A few years ago, I shared a story about a nosy man in a checkout line, and used it to make the point that it’s a bad idea to plan for the worst-case scenario. You can read it here.
Does it hold up? For the most part, yes. I see this more in personal lives than in workplace scenarios, but it can come up when people are scared of change or a new idea — they might spin the worst possible outcome.
On the other hand, I don’t know if I’d write it like this today. My comment about the guy having “unmet needs” is true, but perhaps unnecessarily snarky. I could have been more respectful of the nosy guy who comments on others’ purchases. It’s hard. It’s hard for me to be put on the defensive in the checkout line, and it’s hard for the other guy to see things another way — because he was a true believer in his warnings and his way of looking at the world.
So, be careful yourself about moving quickly to the worst case scenario and allowing it to drive your choices. And when you’ve got someone on your team — or in your home — spelling out the worst that can happen, be careful. It would be easy to push back right away, but hopefully your instinct will keep you from jumping on them. Why? Because they are a true believer, and they’re scared. Find ways to affirm the validity of their fears, and then continue to discuss possible outcomes.
Thanks for reading,