STOP Trying to Please Everyone

superserve your raving fans instead

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We all know trying to please everyone is impossible, so why do we feel like failures when some people don’t like what we do? Why do we compromise on what we know would be our best work, in order to try to please a few more people? Why do we walk on eggshells trying to make sure we don’t say or do something “wrong”? Why are we so worried about what everyone else thinks? Why is it that even if 99% of the people we serve like what we do, we focus on the 1% who don’t?

I think it’s because we all want to be liked and we were raised to be polite. But being polite doesn’t mean you have to stop speaking the truth, giving your opinion, and displaying who you are. This used to be a huge struggle for me, and it still gets me when I don’t work on it.

When I give my presentations and seminars I want to keep the audience engaged and entertained. I want them in a state that allows them to easily pick up and use the ideas, takeaways, and action steps I’m giving them.

So I keep my eye on the reactions in the room. When I see people smiling, nodding, sitting up straight, reacting to what I’m saying, and responding to my questions I’m feeling good. But then I see someone looking at their phone – someone in the back just got up and left. My mind starts telling me stories:

“Greg, you’re blowing it. People are bored. They’re checking their email. That one person thinks you’re so bad that he got up and left! Why did you ever think you were a good speaker? You should give this up!” (That’s some real good self talk, isn’t it? I was killing my energy with my own thoughts.)

Even if I got a great response at the end of my talk and multiple people came up afterwards and told me how much they enjoyed it, I would still be thinking about the person who looked at their phone and the one who left.

Worrying about pleasing everyone in the room made me question everything I was doing and was hurting my ability to be a great speaker.

A friend helped me. He said, “Greg, no matter where you speak and no matter how great a speaker you are, you are never going to reach everyone. And you have to make peace with that. If you connect with 80% of the audience and help them get the outcome they were looking for, then you’ve done your job well.”

I also realized that if I tried to please everyone I would have to change my style, my personality, and maybe even my message. I would end up with a watered down, vanilla, luke warm thing that no one would really like anyway. So why not do what I love to do, in my style, and please my ideal audience and myself?

Then I had an epiphany at one of my events. During my hour long presentation there was a guy near the front who had a harsh look on his face. He often had his arms folded across his chest. At times he would pick up his phone and it looked like he was texting or checking his emails. I thought the guy hated my talk and I had to quit looking at him because he was freaking me out.

But after it was over he came up to me and told me how much he enjoyed my presentation. He even took notes on his phone for some of my points that he really liked. He couldn’t wait to try out some of my ideas in his business. Wait, WHAT?! That guy liked my talk? Maybe I should stop trying to read people’s minds and just do the best presentation I can do. That’s all I can do. Then it’s up to the audience to decide how they respond.

And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I still let the people who don’t like my stuff get me down a little. But, I focus on the people who do like it and I keep finding better ways to serve them.

You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

It’s time to STOP trying to please everyone. It’s time to try something different. Let’s figure out who we care the most about, who shares our values and give them our very best. Let’s get loyal, evangelical customers for life instead of aiming for the lowest common denominator who will drop us if the wind blows funny.

I’d rather have a smaller group of raving fans that I don’t have to constantly chase for repeat business, wouldn’t you?

Raving fans are special. They:

  • Feel like they’re part of your family
  • Tell everyone about you
  • Stick with you
  • Buy from you even when you’re not having a sale
  • Never go anywhere else

I’ve found that developing raving fans makes it easier to really enjoy what you do and increase your profits than trying to be all things to all people. It also comes with some extra bonuses. You get to love what you do and that leads to doing your best work. The hope is that you become so good at your work that to your raving fans, and to yourself, your work becomes art.

Questions for comments: How do you decide whom to please? How has narrowing your focus helped you?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

If You’re About to Give Up, Read THIS First!

A young looking pensive while covering his mouth with a clenched hand

You’ve been working really hard and you’re frustrated. All the big ideas, extra hours, sacrifices, and effort you’ve put in have gotten you…what?

Exactly Jack Squat!

Maybe.

But what if you’re this close to a breakthrough? What if that last little bit of work will put you on a path to something that could really change your life?

My first job in talk radio way back in the 90s was not as a talk show host. I was working for minimum wage doing all the grunt work and overnight shifts. I even had to buy time to get a chance to be on the air. Fairly quickly they were “kind” enough to let me provide a show for the station for free, but I still wasn’t getting paid.

YES! I always wanted to work for free! Ok, maybe not. I wasn’t exactly reaching my radio dreams…yet.

Even though my wife’s job and my part time job as a mental health counselor were earning enough to support us, I felt like I was letting her down. I told her I was about to quit the radio dream and get a full time counseling job.

She convinced me to stay at it at least until the end of the year. (She’s awesome.) She said, “Hey, you’re actually pretty good at this.” (Yeah, she’s funny, too.)

About a month later I was offered a full time job as a talk show host on the number one station in town. That was the start of my 21 year career as a radio talk show host including national syndication and stints in Dallas, Kansas City, and Jacksonville. What if I’d given up one month before my big break?

I was reminded of this while I was watching The Voice with my daughter. One of the contestants is married with children. He’s a teacher and sings on the side. He’s been doing it for over a decade without much success. He told his brother he was about to give up on the idea of a singing career – and then he got a spot on The Voice.

What if you’re that close?

Before you give up, do a double check:

1) Remember why you want this. Is that why still strong for you? Why are you working this hard? Why are you doing what other people aren’t willing to do? Isn’t is because then you will get to do what other people aren’t able to do?

2) Review the progress you’ve made so far. You might be surprised at what you’ve already accomplished.

3) Review your plan. What parts are working? What parts aren’t working? What could you change to get better results?

4) Imagine what your life would be like if this started turning around for you? What would change? How would that impact you, and those around you? How would it make you feel?

5) Give yourself some grace. Maybe you just need to slow down and take a bit more time on this. Maybe you’re burning yourself out and expecting too much too soon. Go for smaller successes and then build to bigger things. You’re human, and that’s ok.

6) Email me before you give up and see if I can help you! greg@gregorybknapp.com

“To conquer frustration, one must remain intensely focused on the outcome, not the obstacles.”
– T.F. Hodge

Question for comment: How do you keep going when you feel like giving up?

I want to give as many people as possible my free eBook, 5 Steps to Finding Your Purpose. Please forward this to a friend who needs it. If they click here, they can get the free eBook.

Let’s GO!

Once I Become Successful, Then I’ll Worry About Fulfilling My Purpose

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Greg, that idea about finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose sounds great, but haven’t you heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? You have to take care of the basics befor you go after self actualization. Once I’m a success, then I’ll worry about my purpose.

I’m a big believer in Maslow’s theory. If you don’t have anything to eat or a place to live, you’re probably not as concerned about going to a museum to look at a piece of art. I get it.

But, I think finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose helps you get everything else you need to live – not just to live better.

Most people have heard of Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search for Meaning. (If you’ve never read it, start reading it today.) He gives his account of what it was like to be in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, and then he turns to the importance of purpose.

Frankl found that if a prisoner had no purpose left in life – if he saw no hope – he was doomed. If, however, a prisoner saw a purpose in life he could cling to, his chances of survival dramatically improved.

Research in some of the poorest places in the world has supported the idea that a strong sense of purpose keeps people going in the direst of conditions. In many cases, it helps people live happy, healthy lives where we would think there would be no hope.

People living in third world countries have said their Passionate Purpose is to:

  • Help my family survive.
  • Educate the children in my village so they will have more opportunities.
  • Spread happiness to everyone I meet.
  • Get my village clean drinking water.
  • Be able to move my family to a better place where we will all be safe.

These purposes keep them motivated and inspired to live a life with meaning -to live a life that makes a difference.

In fact, finding and pursuing a Passionate Purpose may be more important before you become successful. It’s what gets you up when you really want to stay in bed. It’s what gives you optimism when your circumstances can’t justify it. It’s what gives you courage to face the tough situations. And, it’s what let’s you enjoy this life, when others would wallow in depression.

My belief is that finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose is at every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs scale. Regardless of where we live, or how much money we make, to live our best lives we need it in everything we do.

Let’s GO!

I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets.Click here for more details.

Find One Good Thing

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Greg, I know I should be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. I know that gratitude is good for my mental and physical health. I know that it helps me be a better person. But sometimes, I don’t want to be grateful. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything to be grateful for.

I hear you. I think we all feel like that sometimes. You have one of those days where nothing goes right. You oversleep, your hair won’t behave, you spill coffee on your freshly dry cleaned shirt, (or “top” for the ladies. BTW, why is it “top” for a ladies shirt and just shirt for us dudes. Things that make me say, hmmm…) you hit traffic on the way to work and it just goes downhill from there.

I’m not grateful right then. I’m ticked off.

Here’s an important question for those times: Does staying in that angry/depressed/miserable state help us or hurt us?

I’m not saying it’s easy to step back and think about that when you’re angry, but it’s critical that we do. If we can shift our focus from what’s going wrong to all the things that are going right, we can turn our day around. Do that often enough and you can turn your life around.

I thought of this today while I was watching the news. A woman from Louisiana who lost everything in the flooding was explaining how she may be down, but she is not out.

The floodwaters had gone three feet deep in her home. It destroyed everything she had. But, right in the middle of the living room, she found her glass angel – with no damage to it at all.

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“Try and find one good thing everyday,” she said. “No matter what happens, if you see one good thing, that’s enough to get you through.”

If a woman who has lost her home, and everything in it, can find something to be grateful for, why can’t we?

Don’t blow this off. Take a second and really think about 3 things that give you the warm fuzzies inside. It made a difference, didn’t it?

Let’s GO!

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

“All Feedback is Welcomed?” I disagree

Feedback is always good and you should always take feedback, right? That’s’ the conventional wisdom. We have to be able to take feedback if we want to be successful. We can learn a ton about what we’re doing right and wrong. We can learn more about our customers, audience, clients, and more. We can use feedback to improve our products, services, presentations, and sales calls. Feedback is awesome.

Hey, conventional wisdom on feedback – YOU’RE WRONG!

Yes, sometimes feedback helps us. Sometimes it’s awesome.

But sometimes it really sucks. Sometimes we should let it roll off our backs, or even totally ignore it.

How do you know when to listen and when not to?

Feedback to listen to and act on:

  • When someone specifically praises something you’ve done, you know you need to keep doing it, and maybe even do more of it.
  • When someone – who wants to help you improve – is telling you what they believe you’re doing wrong with your products or service. Even if the customer is mad at you, this feedback is valuable. You may be able to fix your customer’s problem and turn her into a loyal customer. She may have found a problem you didn’t know existed that now makes what you do better for everyone.

I get some great feedback from you:

Greg, I really liked the section in your book where you say you can overcome your fear by taking action. I finally figured out that fear was holding me back.

Greg, I love your FB posts. They really encourage me. Please keep them up.

Greg, the audio on one of your videos on YouTube isn’t very good. You should re-record it.

Greg, I bought your audiobook and the link didn’t work. (I got that email the day I released the audiobook. I fixed it right away. My customer was happy and he helped me, big time.)

To all of those examples I say, thanks for the feedback.

Feedback to ignore:

When someone just wants to hurt you. These people don’t want to help you. They aren’t looking for a solution to a problem with your product or service. They just want to be mean.

Greg, You’re radio show is the worst I’ve ever heard. You’re a %$&*!

Greg, you’re ideas are stupid. My dog is a better blogger than you.

There’s not much I can do with that, is there? I don’t even respond to that type of feedback. All that does is feed the trolls.

Have you noticed that you can have 99 pieces of great feedback and yet focus on the one jerk who told you how awful you are? I know I do that sometimes. Why? It does nothing to help us.

Remember: You get to decide if the feedback is valuable. You get to decide if you’re going to allow it to impact your day and your life.

  • Focus on the good.
  • Fix what you can.
  • Find ways to improve.
  • Ignore the trolls.

Let’s GO!

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

Come on, be realistic. What does that mean?

How many times have you been told your dream is not realistic? How many times have you told yourself you can’t do it?

Maybe you’re right, you’re not being realistic…

…But, maybe flying a plane, playing the piano, surfing, driving and earning a black belt in Tae Kwon Do – without arms – is realistic.

What?!

Jessica Cox has done all that and more. She was born without arms and refuses to see herself as disabled or as a victim.

“Naturally people saw me not having arms as a limiting factor – but I was there to prove them wrong.”
— Jessica Cox

Watch her must see video by clicking here.

The next time I start to get down and wonder if I’m being realistic or if I can do something, I’m going to slap myself and remember all that Jessica Cox has accomplished.

Let’s GO!

Nice Guys Finish…1st?

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Nice guys finish last, right? It’s what we see in the movies and what society tells us. You have to be ruthless and selfish to get what you want in this world.

That can be true in the short term.

You can push in line to be first. You can sell something to someone they don’t really need to get your commission. You can lie about someone to get that promotion.

It can work…for a while.

But as my dad says, “time wounds all heels.” Mean people don’t finish first most of the time. They end up burning bridges, getting a horrible reputation and living a miserable existence.

Sounds fun, huh?

Being nice wins out in the long run.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
― 
Mark Twain

Who would you rather do business with, hire, work with, or sell to? Someone you like or someone you dislike?

Wait a second, Greg, is this a trick question?

If we want to do business with, and be around, nice people, doesn’t it make sense for us to be as nice as possible in everything we do?

Nice guys finish first!

My last vacation was to NYC – the land of rude people. (Or so I’d been told.) Guess what my family found? Nice people.

Perhaps it was because we sent out kindness that we received kindness in return. I think it also had to do with the fact that we were looking for nice people.

We had nice people coming up to us explaining how to use the subway, helping us with directions and telling us about the best discounts.

We did meet a few rude employees at some of the businesses we went to and a few disgruntled people on the street, but we simply moved on until we found the next nice one. (Notice how the rude people lost our business and the nice people got it.)

And things just kept working out for us during the entire trip. My favorite was when we got the cheapest tickets available to a Broadway show simply because we were kind to the ticket agent at the box office. (I know it was a great price because of all the research we had done on it.)

Being nice “just because” will make you stand out with everyone you come in contact with. It will make people rave about you to their friends. It will get you more – and better – business. It will make you feel great. It will come back to you ten fold.

It’s the right thing to do.

And it doesn’t cost you a penny to do it.

Nice guys finish first.

Who can you be nice to today?

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

What If You Were Never Born?

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Do you ever feel like you aren’t making a difference? Maybe you think you’re replaceable and anyone could do what you do. Maybe you feel like a failure. We all feel like that from time to time. For some of us it gets so bad we wish we’d never been born.

When that happens, it’s time to George Bailey your life.

Remember George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life? He had so many things go wrong that he actually wished he’d never been born. God gave him that wish and he found out just how many lives he had touched and just how important he was. He stopped a pharmacist from giving a boy poison instead of medicine. He saved his brother’s life in childhood and his brother later saved a couple hundred men in WWII. He helped hundreds of people afford good homes. He and his wife created a beautiful family that wouldn’t have existed without him.

It was a wonderful life.

My preacher reminded me of that last Sunday. He was using the story to wonder how the world would be different if the church had never been created.

It got me to thinking, what would be different if I had never been born? What would be different if you hadn’t been? We can’t know for sure, but we do know some things. I know my two daughters, Faith and Summer would not exist. That’s enough reason for me to be born, right there. Of course, my wife could never have found as great a husband…ok, I better stop.

But let’s go deeper. How many people would have lost a friend, coworker, mentor, brother, sister, mother, father, or child if we hadn’t been born? What would have happened to your friend you helped get a job or the elderly lady down the street whose lawn you mowed last week?

Spend just a little time thinking about this and you will begin to realize how many lives you have touched. Each life you’ve influenced created ripple effects that carry on across countless lives.

As George Bailey’s angel, Clarence, put it, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Ask yourself, how many lives will you make an impact on today and for the rest of your life?

You know, it really is a wonderful life.

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose. You can also purchase my book, GO!

How Trying to Show How Smart I (think) I Am Hurt Me

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We all want to connect with people, right? We want to form good relationships in and out of the workplace. We want to be respected. We want people to know how smart and great we are!

Okay, Greg, you lost me on that last one.

Did I? Maybe it’s just me. Sometimes I notice that I have an unhealthy desire to make sure the people I’m dealing with know I’m smart, accomplished, successful…(Geez, just writing this out makes me feel like a jerk.) What adds insult to injury is that when I do this, it doesn’t help me it hurts me. It also hurts the person I’m trying to show up. So, why do I do it?

I rationalize that I mainly fall into this trap when the person I’m dealing with is putting out signals that he thinks he’s better than me. To which I brilliantly respond by thinking, “He thinks he’s better than me? Who does he think he is? I’ll show him!”

Yes, brilliant. That will get him to like me/buy from me/want to do business with me.

Wrong.

This kind of thing just happened the other day. I told myself a story that the guy I was talking with was acting like he was way better than me. So, I started talking, and talking, and talking to prove how much I knew, how smart I was, why he should listen to me, blah, blah, blah.

Then I realized what I was doing. I physically felt ill at my actions. So, I stopped. I apologized for dominating the conversation and started asking him questions. I learned a lot and actually started a friendship.

How many times do we tear down the relationships and influence we are trying to build with the need to make sure the other guy knows we’re pretty cool stuff?

We can fall into this trap with our bosses, the people we manage, our children, our spouses, our preachers…

What helps me with this is being secure in who I am, yet working at remaining humble. I remember that we are all equal in God’s eyes, that everyone knows something I don’t know, and that I will learn more and make more friends by asking questions and listening than by trying to show off.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
-C. S. Lewis

I also remember what my dad used to tell me, “Some people are thought to be fools. Others open their mouths and prove it.”

If this post resonated with you, Please subscribe to my blog and get my free eBook — 5 Steps to Finding Your Passionate Purpose.

“I’m Too Old To Live My Dream”

When I finished my presentation on Finding Your Passionate Purpose this morning. One of the men in the audience said, “Greg, I’m a little depressed now. You got me to think of a dream I gave up on because I’m too old.”

“What was the dream?” I asked.

“To be a Catholic priest.”

Now this guy looks to be in his late 50s, maybe early 60s. I said, “Too old? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a TON of old priests! Have you seen the Pope? This isn’t just a young man’s game. Why would you be too old?”

Are you telling yourself you’re too old? It’s only true if you believe it.

  • Grandma Moses didn’t START painting in earnest until she was 78.
  • Ray Croc didn’t start McDonald’s until he was 53.
  • Duncan Hines didn’t license the right to use his name to the company that developed his cake mixes until he was 73.
  • Julia Childs didn’t make her television debut until she was 51.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t get Little House in the Big Woods published until she was 65.
  • Fauja Singh didn’t run his first marathon until he was 89.
  • Audrey Crabtree went back and graduated high school at the age of 99.
  • Frank McCourt didn’t publish Angela’s Ashes until he was 66.
  • Diana Nyad didn’t swim from Florida to Cuba until she was 64.

You can still live your dream. Let’s GO!