Suck It Up and Ask Them to Their Face

Suck It Up and Ask Them to Their Face

“A true friend will tell you the truth to your face – not behind your back.”
– Sasha Azevedo

Imagine knowing someone for years – and slowly realizing that everyone else they know has a major flaw.  A flaw they have informed you about.  It slowly starts to click that every single person this friend knows is a loser.  I am sure you know someone who talks about others behind their back. Telling everyone they talk to, about the negative aspects of everyone else they know. These people can’t help themselves.

I have people like this in my circle. I can’t help but think “So… What is it this person has to say to others about me?” Let’s be honest, they’ve got to have something negative to say about you if they do about everyone else they know.

You can’t be the only squeaky clean person in the wide array of people they know.  It’s just not possible.  You know you’re not perfect, so this person obviously doesn’t think so either.

Here’s my suggestion. Pull up your pants, take a deep breath and ask these people, right to their face “I noticed that you have something to say about almost everyone you know. I’d really like to know what you say to others about me. I’d like to know so I can make myself a better person from it.”

If the person has any balls, they’ll tell you exactly what they say. It’s more likely they’ll hide behind a veiled kindness and say that they don’t really say anything about it. They could go so far as to do a weird compliment where they’ll say “oh This person’s biggest weakness is being a perfectionist.”

Suck It Up and Ask Them to Their Face

Whichever way your question is answered, you’ve learned something valuable.

“Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you’re two steps ahead!”
– Fannie Flagg

You either find out exactly what others think about you or you at least let this negative coward know that you know they’re talking about you behind your back. you have to believe

I’ve done this with exactly 2 people.  Sadly, the person I thought would have the integrity, to be honest with me couldn’t even do it. It’s hard to point out someone’s faults to their face. As it should be.  I don’t want to hear someone else’s opinion of me unless I actually care about that person’s opinion.  It shouldn’t be easy to tell someone what you think of them.  It takes more integrity to keep your mouth shut and not badmouth someone behind their back OR to their face unless they’ve requested it.

Look Forward To Your Future As Your Own Boss

Look Forward To Your Future As Your Own Boss

We’ve all heard how we can’t just be the technician in our business because we get caught up in the day-to-day and the tedious aspects.  We get stuck ‘Getting it all done.  We work IN the business instead of ON the business. (You HAVE heard this right?  From Michael Gerber of ‘The E-Myth’.  If not – go read a summary here: “The E-Myth Revisited: A Review” by the great ‘Men with Pens’

Here’s the thing: It’s okay to be the technician when you choose when that will be.

I’ve had a lot of hopeful projects in the past that haven’t done what all involved dreamed they would do. Because of that, I began to always doubt what the success and possibility of a project would be.  It had pretty much gotten to the point where I doubted the likelihood of the success of a project all the way along.

Here’s why: because I began to doubt my partners. I began to not know how it would go because I couldn’t put total faith in my partners like I could with myself believing.  And – alternatively (and it sucks to realize it) my partners couldn’t have total faith in me.  I wasn’t perfect all the time either.

Choose Your Partners Wisely

This isn’t saying my partners were bad. Far from it. I only chose to work with amazing people.  I’m pretty strict with who I choose to work with and I always did plenty of due diligence before moving forward.

But because of so many different elements, I began to doubt the success of each project’s future.

Today that is gone. I’m in control of my own future and I feel amazing. And I know where it’s going to lead. I know what my vision is and I know what I’m working on.  I know whatever step I take, is deliberate and I’ve thought it through.

Look Forward To Your Future As Your Own Boss

You need to do the same. You need to be in control.

The whole point is to be your own boss.

Whether you’re simply a freelance website developers Ireland or you’re operating a full-fledged web development business – you started it to be your own boss.  What happens when you start to take on partners?  They start to be your boss as well.  So how do you get around this?

I’ve developed a set of rules to follow when working with Partners on a project, and I’ve simplified them for consumption below:

  1. Be clear with your partners in how you work.  Let them know what your work schedule is and let them know when you have other things to work on.
  2. Institute a way to be contacted.  If you only wish to communicate via Basecamp, let them know.  You’re partnering for financial gain, treat it that way.
  3. Regurgitate often.  Getting clarity on expectations of you is the top priority.  If it ever seems out of whack, re-state what it is you hear them asking you to do.  When they hear it they’ll see the unbalance as well.
  4. Measure your success.  Is what you’re working on working for YOU?  If it’s not then be honest with all involved and explain why.  This includes being honest with yourself – if you’ve committed to more than you can chew you need to CHEW REALLY HARD or spit it out right away.
  5. Quit.  That’s right – if it’s sucking the life you need to quit.  It’s not helping anyone to hang on out of ‘integrity.  This is especially the case if there hasn’t been any gain after lots of up-front effort.  It’s okay to let go.

They’re simple and they rely heavily on your instinct – but if you’re in this for the long haul then you’re thinking for yourself anyway.  All you need to do is start following your instinct more often,

Say ‘No’ Early, but not Often.

I’ve all too often never uttered the word ‘No’ to a partner or a client.  It just wasn’t something I could bring myself to do.  It’s not nice.  I’m a nice guy.  It’s who I am.  Or at least – that’s what I told myself.

No, when something doesn’t work for me, I say ‘No’.  When it does, I agree to it.  Here’s what’s happened for me professionally since implementing this ‘strategy’ (which should really just be normal).  I’ve developed greater respect from partners and clients.  My time is more respected and trusted.  When I say I can do something – I actually can because I’ve let go of the things that always get in the way of that.

When I say ‘No’ my partners and clients believe it.  It is not questioned and it is actually respected to a much greater amount than I initially thought would be the case.

What comes from me saying ‘No’ is that my ‘Yes’ actually has more weight.

Now when I let a partner or client know I am available to work on a project – instead of it being expected it is appreciated.  So when I’m asked if I can make a change to a site in 2 days, and I say I can make it work – they’re extremely grateful for me taking the time to make sure their ‘whim’ is accommodated.

Saying ‘No’ when I first realize it’s something I shouldn’t commit to frees me to make sure I complete the things I’ve said ‘yes to.  And those things I said ‘Yes’ to are the projects I believe in.  This keeps Me in control and when I’m in control – I look forward to tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the day after that.

It Wasn’t Me, It Was The One-Armed Man!

It Wasn’t Me, It Was The One-Armed Man!

When I was 15 I was extremely excited about the movie with Jim Carrey ‘The Mask’.  I was a big Jim Carrey fan because of “Ace Venture: Pet Detective” and I was also nuts about computer-generated imagery.  At the time I wanted to be a 3D Animator and web designer.  So, naturally, “The Mask” was the coolest movie in the world in my books.

In that movie, there is a part where The Mask says “It wasn’t me! It was the one-armed man!” as he is about to be arrested.  I found this funny.  And I had no idea it was referencing something else.  It was years later when watching ‘The Fugitive” around the same time as “The Mask” that I realized they went together.

So here was something that most likely, everyone had heard before.  Most likely everyone got the joke.  And yet, I did not.

What? You DIDN’T already know this?

The other day, I was discussing with a fellow web person website stuff.  You know, shop talk.  Flash Websites came up and I said something like ‘Everyone knows Flash isn’t a good platform for your website anymore” – to which he replied “Says who? I haven’t heard that.  Why not?”

It Wasn’t Me, It Was The One-Armed Man!

At first, I was shocked.  Was he serious?  Does he believe it’s cool to develop a client’s website completely on Flash? Surely he would know why this isn’t very smart.

The thing is, he’s so in love with Flash that he wouldn’t be out hearing anything else.  He hadn’t heard it before – and I got to explain to him the many reasons it wasn’t such a hot item anymore.

So in realizing that not everyone has heard everything before – I realized I shouldn’t ever discount a thought or an idea based on others knowing its obvious existence.  It’s obvious to ME.  That doesn’t mean it’s obvious to YOU.

Here’s my challenge when you have something you want to share but you think ‘Everyone knows this”.  Do it – and do it better than anyone would have done it before.  Even those that find what you’ve created that already “know it” will appreciate your take on it.

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