Last week we sent out an email campaign offering a January special for the Pure Bookkeeping System (one of my businesses that I run with Debbie Roberts sells this system to bookkeepers). As well as generating some sales, we got the following response: "… I found that some of the rigours imposed by this system would really not suit me (or the way I work and my clients expect me to work) - they are very regimented and give NO scope for personal attention and individuality - a bit like 'Hitler's Nazi Germany' which my parents (who were German) taught me to detest. On a more personal note, I found your webinar (the only time I joined in), to be quite uninformative and 'useless' to someone in my position ..."
If you are going to be a Thought Leader, and have any sort of public profile, there are times that you are going to be attacked. When this happens (and it is when, not if) you need to work out how to deal with it.
Deb was quite hurt by the email, much more so than me, and I think that’s a result of me being in this game for a lot longer. It also helps that the response to the webinar has mostly been incredibly positive.
I emailed Deb saying “We are doing two things that are going to cause reactions - changing the industry and being successful. How people react to that is about them, not about us. Don't take it personally.”
Here are some beliefs that help me deal with this sort of response:
- Playing a big game and changing the status quo will trigger some people (either people who are attached to current status quo, or more likely people who have tried and failed to change something and become cynical as a result)
- If you are successful you will trigger some people (generally people who are not successful)
- Anything to do with money will trigger some people (we are all a bit weird about money)
- How people react when they are triggered is all about them, not about you
- Some people are angry at the world, and sometimes you will represent the world to them (again this is about them, not about you)
- Everyone (including me) is doing the best they can at their current state of consciousness given their current circumstances
- I want some people to love what I’m up to and some to hate it. If everyone is so-so I’m playing too safe.
When it comes to responding our natural reaction is either fight or flight – attack back or submit. I recommend an Aikido response, which is neither. In Aikido we are trained to move off the line of an attack, which means not fighting back, but also not giving in, giving the opponent nothing to fight again, just a hole for them to fall into. In this case moving off the line is simply unsubscribing the gentleman from our mailing list, not engaging him or defending ourselves.
Love to hear your thoughts and experiences – you can leave your comments below.