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We might be able to get away with disrespecting a brat, because a brat only cares about herself. Rebel's are another story. Rebels, despite their desire to stand out from the crowd in occasionally annoying ways, demand respect from others. The less respect they get, the worse their behavior. 

One particular show of disrespect that rebels hate is being ignored. When your inner rebel says something, it's best to pay attention because she will make herself heard, one way or another. When you agree to manage a project out of guilt or your desire to people please, listen to your rebel saying, "I'm not doing it." If you don't, you'll be scrambling to finish it at the last minute or worse, you'll lose face for not finishing it at all. Your rebel won't care if you lose face, but you probably will. When your rebel speaks, tell the person requesting help (even if it's you), "Let me look at my schedule and I'll get back to you." Then discuss the matter with your inner rebel. Another strategy that has worked well for me is to ask an outward rebel if the new project or new approach makes sense. If my rebel friend says, "Forget it!" I figure that's what my inner rebel is saying, too.

A second show of disrespect that revs up our rebels is character assasination. Rebels are practical, fearless, mavericks who will work like dogs on worthwhile tasks. If you tell her she's a lazy, good-for-nothing whom no one likes, you will live to regret it. Often we think this kind of tough talk motivates our rebels. It certainly does! But not in the way we want. Our inner rebels will go to extremes to prove that their approach is a good one, even when it isn't. Instead of putting yourself down for not doing what you think needs to be done, ask yourself if there is a good reason you're resisting. Often your rebel's approach is a lot healthier and balanced. If she says that you don't need to mop every night (because that's stupid), try mopping less often and see if your floor doesn't stay clean enough. If it does, give your rebel credit for talking sense to you.

A final way that disrespect operates to keep our rebels pitching fits is being unworthy of respect ourselves. Often we tell our rebels that we know better, and that Dr. So-and-So, and the Journal of Such-and-Such know better than they do. Hypocrisy, an unproven track record, or a snotty "expert" will not get your rebel to go along with you. Rebels abhor Martha Stewart even if you are crazy about her. They're more likely to love FLYLady because she's real (as long as they don't have to wear their shoes in the house). Instead of showing your rebel a picture of House Beautiful, have her watch Clean Sweep or talk to a true slob who has managed to keep things up well enough. Don't use a rich executive with a personal secretary to do her bidding as an example of what productivity looks like. Better to show her a home-based business owner who makes a decent living, but rarely takes time to dust.

The bottom line is, we have to talk to our rebels the way we talk to beloved friends, family, and co-workers who just happen to be different than we are. The truth is we can learn a lot from them! 

What things have you agreed to do that your rebel (or a rebel friend) warned you that you shouldn't and she was right? What would you do differently if you gave your rebel the respect she deserves?

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Superior

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Challenge

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Rules

The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Intro

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