During a meeting with a colleague yesterday, someone at the table asked for my opinion on what I thought they could do better in their business – one I am very familiar with not only with their establishment as a frequent customer but with the industry as a whole. My answer?
You can’t be everything to everyone, just decide who you are and be it.
I have been thinking about that statement ever since I said it 24 hours ago and am actually shocked at how I was able to simplify my entire life philosophy, one I try to follow in business and in my ‘real life’ into one simple statement. And for those who know how much I like the sound of my own voice, that might shock you too!
Decide who you are and be it.
The secret to a happy life.
I think that where most of us go wrong – myself included – is that we want to be liked. We want people to like us, we want people to like our businesses. We want to make other people happy.
It’s not a bad thing in and of itself but (and you know there is a but)…
Not everyone wants the same things from us or our businesses so by trying to please everyone, we stop becoming anything definitive. Who are you? What are your ethics? Your beliefs, what is it that you stand for as a person? If that answer changes depending on who is asking the question or who is standing around you, do you really stand for anything? Are your beliefs really yours or just a reflection of what your audience wants to see?
That is why so many people are shocked by Donald Trump – he is not a mirror and says what he thinks regardless of what other people want or expect (and don’t send my 1000 anti-Trump emails, I am not arguing politics, just making a point). We have become so accustomed to people acting as reflections to keep everyone around them happy, we don’t know what to do with someone who isn’t and no one wants to be the one making everyone else uncomfortable so we meld.
The same idea goes for your business. What are you? Are you a fusion of everyone who has ever requested anything? What are your policies? Your prices? Your goals? Are you consistent not only in your recipes but in your brand? Do people know what to expect or do you change based on reviews and opinions? Now I am not saying we shouldn’t consider feedback and opinions and use them to better ourselves and our practices but.. do we change every time anyone says anything or do we stick to our core beliefs, philosophies and vision? Do we even know what they are?
I do. And I say that with a firm backbone because I didn’t always have one. It has taken me a great deal of failures in both business and real life to figure out who I am, what I want, what message I have to share and how I want to share it – personally and professionally. Does everyone like me or what I have to say? Absolutely not. And I am ok with that, I truly and honestly am. The same dedication to my core is presented in my business operations. We can’t please everyone, we can’t always say yes and we can’t always give in. The customer may always be right, but the customer may not always be the right customer for us. It’s a fine line to determine and stick too. Even finer when faced with negative reviews, opinions and conflict.
Simple. Not easy, but simple.
And worth it.
(Originally published on Thursday, September 15th, 2016, www.butterflyconsultations.com)