Excuse Me, You’re Stepping on My Ego
Who hasn’t ever felt disrespected by a colleague, boss, business contact? Insulted by their tone of voice, implication, attitude? Have you felt they couldn’t resist the temptation to show others how knowledgeable they are – and put you down in the process? Sometimes that’s true. However, there may be more to it. Could your ego be getting in the way of learning something valuable?
Mine was. And it made me wonder what I was missing.
In some cases, it was the opportunity to reach potential clients.
Cost of Not Listening
For instance, I met a speaker who suggested we connect on linkedin. Following up, I sent an invitation to connect and requested we have coffee and exchange resources. We met. However, after answering my questions on how I could be of assistance, he turned around and gave me advice on how to run my business. My automatic reaction was defense mode: “I didn’t ask for advice! Is it because I’m a female entrepreneur? I thought I had set the stage for an exchange, not a teaching moment.”
My initial response – “I’ll show him. I won’t listen. I’ll switch off.” But who is that hurting? Him or me?
Instead, I took a different approach. What if I were to listen? Could I be missing any clues that would unlock mysteries I was unaware of? Perhaps, he wants to help and he’s sincerely trying to provide me with insights that he hopes won’t fall on deaf ears.
Taking a deep breath (figuratively), I listened. And, I learned.
I learned how to reach the ears of potential clients who need my services but aren’t being approached through their “hot-button”. I learned his was data: costs of losing people versus cost of training. If training could result in retaining a valued person and it was much less expensive than the costs of losing that person, that would get his attention. This insight was a gift; it opened up my ability to market to analytic and cost-conscious finance types, like him.
Visualizing the Criticism
Then, it happened again.
In a networking group, I raised a question to the members – “how could I better receive referrals?” One of the members exclaimed, “I don’t know what you do and how you do it.” My ego was shaken. My immediate response was to ask why hadn’t she asked me questions before? However, other people chimed in to assist. We moved on.
The next day, that person left a message on my phone. My defenses told me not to return the call as I would only receive more advice on how to run my business which suited her needs but surely didn’t suit mine. However, I considered my lesson with the networker. So, I bit the bullet and called.
Through our conversation it was clear she understood what I did, however she needed to further grasp for her processing: “what is the deliverable you give clients?” We discussed it further until she heard words that spoke to her. “Oh, you deliver custom programs to help companies retain their young talent.”
Her insight opened up my ability to market to potential clients like her, who need to visualize actually receiving a physical product, a report.
My lesson through this, in building my business, if I am not open to hearing valuable cues from people who are sincerely trying to help me market my services, I’m missing out.
Sometimes the best gifts only come when you open yourself enough to hear them, to receive them.
Imagine. What would happen if you were more open to receiving feedback from others? What would your life be like? Be open to the gifts. They may not always be waiting for you, but then again, how else would you ever know?
Want to share advice you were open enough to hear, email me at Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com
I work with clients everyday who are cultivating more engaged leaders and creating a vibrant culture for today’s needs. If you’d like to increase a sense of community and therefore retention in your organization, let’s talk. You can reach me at Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com