Who Are You For?
Trying to be everything for everyone isn't realistic or achievable
Not everyone likes me or what I do.
This past week I was reminded of that after receiving a text from an individual that I hadn’t had any contact with since last summer. The text was both direct and to the point in stating that my Introspective Candor blog from last week with both “very unoriginal and unprofessional" and that this person will "personally use it as a reminder of what not to do." As you might expect, this unexpected missile caught me off guard, and I began to wonder what I could have written to cause such a visceral reaction. After quickly rereading the blog in question for anything that might be construed as offensive, I realized that I hadn’t written anything wrong at all: this person simply doesn’t like me or what I do – and that’s okay.
For a good portion of my career – up until about ten years ago – I tried very hard to be everything for everyone. I was a pleaser, said yes to everything, and worked tirelessly to make everyone else happy. As you might predict, the results for me weren’t fabulous: I ended up making very few happy, and I lost sight of who I was in the process.
I see people – and brands – do this often. In trying to be everything to everyone, they end up alienating their core audience, creating very little in the way of substance, and blending into the crowded competition instead of standing apart.
Once I realized this, I had to rewire my brain and become comfortable with the fact that I’m not for everyone. Regardless of how hard I might try, there will be a segment of people who dislike the way I go about my business, how I present myself on social media, and, clearly, the manner in which I put digital pen to paper. However, by staying true to myself and embracing that I’m not for everyone, I have found a core group of people who appreciate me and what I do.
What the person who texted me out of the blue to criticize me and my writing doesn’t understand is this: I don’t write for him; he’s not my audience and likely never will be. Candidly, I’m good with that as I know my writing style doesn’t ring everyone’s bell. Even so, he is just as entitled to his opinion as anyone else. However, based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback I did receive from that same blog, I know I delivered value to the audience I did target.
Trying to please everyone extends to brands as well – including brandivate. We know we aren’t for everyone and won’t ever aspire to that unattainable goal. Instead, we know the specific things we do well and focus our efforts on the people and organizations that understand the value we provide and realize they can leverage that value to achieve their sales, marketing, and branding goals. Spending valuable time and energy on potential clients that will never understand the value we provide is time wasted.
When you try to be everything for everyone, you end up being nothing and no one.
So, who are YOU for?