Did I ever tell you about the time that I worked the phones for a PBS Pledge Drive?
Yep, it was a few years ago during UNC TV’s Fall Pledge drive here in North Carolina. I was the one waving, cheering, and otherwise interrupting your favorite PBS shows all night long. That was me, waiting with bated breath for all of you to pick up the phone and make a donation to your local PBS station. (Because we depend on “Viewers Like You”!)
During that VERY short stint I unexpectedly learned a few truths about the general public that I never forgot, and they would be as follows:
-Most people are pretty pleasant and just want to help out
-Some people have absolutely no idea what is going on around them
-Some people are very generous, passionate, and will join your cause with gusto
-Some people are just a little (or maybe a lot) crazy–and there’s not much you can do about it
While I had the pleasure of answering the phone for those few hours (during a presentation that showcased a performance by the ultimate tribute band, the Australian Pink Floyd), I got lots of calls—and all of the above cases were well represented.
The majority of calls came from people who simply wanted to make a donation. Some of the calls were from those who were confused, asking what was going on and was that band the real Pink Floyd. Then there were some calls from people who gave hundreds of dollars without batting an eyelash, telling me what great work we were doing for the world. And THEN, there were a few calls from angry people who demanded to know what the hell was going on on their PBS station and why BBC World News was being preempted (surely it was my fault). I even got a few people demanding to speak to the MC for the evening, cursing the the rise of technology for ruining the country, and slamming the phone down before I could respond.
Note that the latter weren’t prank-calling teenagers, either, but grown adults who took the time to call and scream their grievances at a stranger!
And it was strange how this category of people were the easiest to remember! I recall telling the veteran volunteer next to me what just happened after I’d hung up with a particularly vitriolic caller, and her answering that this sort of thing happens all the time (and that I’d be shocked by the number of crazy people who call on Saturday nights!).
So what does realization this have to do with you, the new entrepreneur, and the courageous act of getting out into the world and sharing your message?
A LOT, actually!
Let’s say you have your idea in line, and the next step is (ugh!) actually starting to “go public” with it. It can be a daunting prospect, for sure! But let’s say you override that fear and start talking, tweeting, posting, and sharing anyway. What happens next?
When you start sharing your message, the results might go something like this:
-Most people will be pretty well OK with it, and will probably at least admire your spirit
-It’ll be totally lost on others
-Some people it will REALLY resonate with and they’ll be dying to hear more from you
-Some people just might take the time to tell you how much they don’t like what you’re doing…and might not be that civil about it (often called “haters”!)
In fact, I’d wager that if there were a way to track all of the results you get from sharing what you need to share, that it might break down into a rather uniform bell curve. With the raving fans on one end and the insolent jerks on the other. And most everyone else right there in the middle.
And all of this is OK! What you have to say isn’t necessarily for the whole world, some people might not like it at all, but for the right people, it just might be exactly what they need to hear and at the right time. And it’s THESE people who make sharing the message all worth it.
You can also make a difference for the the ones who are almost there, too. The ones who are just beginning to awaken and become aware of what they want, and how you might help. The ones who you might win over eventually.
As for the rest of them, well….. maybe what you’re saying it’s not the message for them. Maybe they’re just not ready. Maybe they never will be. Or maybe they just aren’t your people.
That’s OK too. Just keep sharing. Just keep being you. You can’t be the answer for everybody. Just be the answer or the right people.
Have you ever been apprehensive to tell people what you do because you’re afraid of what they might respond? I have! But I’ve come to see that it really does break down to one of the four cases I’ve listed above. And the good news is that most of the time, the majority of responses will be anywhere from OK to fabulous….and that the true haters really don’t account for much of the whole. And even if they did, when people actually DO go out of their way to tell you you’re wrong, it is rarely–if EVER–really about you.
Why? Because when you’re coming from a place of your highest calling, of your highest good, and you’re selling it all to the world with your heart and soul, you’re doing what you are meant to do. Keep doing it. And if someone else doesn’t like it, and takes the time to berate you about it, it isn’t about you. It speaks volumes about THEM. Truly. Always remember this! (And some might say that if you have a hater or two, this means you must be doing something right!) 😉
What do you think? Have you been afraid to jump out there and show yourself and what you have to offer the world, have you actually done it and run into resistance, or have most people either loved or at least respected you for it? Tell me all about it!