Why You Need To Learn To Disappoint Some People

A few weeks ago I’m walking out of a building with my kid, when the woman behind the front desk goes, “Aw hi Essie!”

My kid looks up. 6 months old. No response. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Total dead face. This kid gives zero fucks.

Trying to be polite, I apologized, “Essie! Be nice. Say hi to Dom, you love Dom!”

Dom goes, “Excuse me. Don’t do that.”

I was confused. Don’t do what? I was behaving according to the rules. You are nice and friendly to people who are nice and friendly to you.

“Excuse me,” Dom explained, “If she’s not in a mood to be friendly, then she’s not in the mood. Don’t you go changing yourself for other people, Essie. Don’t you apologize because she didn’t perform for you, Margo. Stand by your kid.”

Six-months-old and I’m already teaching my kid to please others before herself.

Unwittingly, I was saying, “You did a good job” if she performed for Dom. And “You did a bad job,” if she remained true to herself.

What I was inadvertently communicating was the SAME THING that’s keeping you from growing your platform and using your voice: Don’t disappoint people.

Well, that’s some shit.

To make a difference in this world you HAVE to be willing to disappoint some people. 

Fire a client you like, say no to that coffee meeting, take too long to respond to that nice person’s email, forget to call someone back, leave DM’s unanswered, abandon early adopters (not on purpose, pivots happen!).

Not everyone is going to like you. Which sucks because I REALLY WANT YOU TO LIKE ME. But that disease to please – to avoid disappointing others and letting them down – that shit is toxic and distracting.

And profoundly disrespectful.

*Note: This isn’t license to be a dick. You don’t get to show up and be a jerk and call it being “authentic.” There’s another word for that and the word is CHILDISH.

But you don’t get to the top by being liked by everyone. As my husband likes to joke, “you need more trolls.” If all you’re getting is praise, you’re not being loud enough.

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