Exhibit A:

Woman says to her coach: “I’m lowering the price on this package. Everyone says that number is too high.”

Coach pauses. Then she asks: “Everyone? How many people have said this?”

Woman thinks for a moment.  She says, “Well, there were two, actually.”

—-

Exhibit B:

Guy announces to his mastermind group, “People keep telling me I should offer this whole other service so I’m going to hire someone to make that happen.”

Coach squints her eyes and asks, “People? Who? How many?”

Guy looks up at the ceiling: “Um. Let’s see. In the past year, I think there were two – no, wait! – there were three!”

—-

So, you know how sometimes when you do a presentation or speech, they hand out these feedback forms to everyone in the room?

And of the 50 people in the room, everyone says positive things and maybe a few of them even rave?

But in that pile, there’s these two feedback forms that are not so nice?

So…

…which of those feedback forms will stick with you for, like, the next three weeks?

Yeah. I know. Me too.

Well, your lizard brain works that same way when it comes to ideas and changes in your business.

Enter “Everyone” and “People.”

The vague notion of “all things” is your lizard brain’s way to get an added punch when trying to distract you, persuade you or derail you for whatever random reasons it has.

As a coach, my motto is “Beware of ‘everyone’ and ‘people’.”  That means I am militant about the use of these two words when it comes to changing course, altering pricing, making decisions and supposed feedback.  When a client comes to me with a bright shiny new idea, or a reason to stop doing something, or a sudden change of direction, I start in with my questions.

If I ask the right ones, the truth often reveals itself.  And many times, the truth is that this new direction has been inspired by the infamous “everyone” or the ubiquitous “people.”

“Everyone tells me…”

“People keep saying…”

Maybe it’s because we have this neurological need to pay attention to every nit-picky, critical or even seemingly thoughtful idea that someone tosses at us.

Or maybe it’s because we’ve spent our lives giving more weight to our feelings than to the facts, or even to the proof.

Or maybe it’s because we are masters of doubting our own capabilities and ideas.

But for some reason, we often equate one or two people with the entire planet. Never mind that up til now, we’ve been building momentum, getting clients, and are otherwise totally on track.

Now, of course, there will be some feedback that’ll be the perfect information to take you to the next level. You will hear the same comment from tens or hundreds of ideal clients.  And you will be grateful.  And you will correct course and please more people and make more money.

And there will be products or offers that don’t hit their numbers.

BUT…

(and this is a big but… which is why it got its very own paragraph)

…until you have ACTUAL feedback, or a review of your marketing and sales sequences…

…all you’ve got is the drama queen in your head telling you that EVERYONE has offered this nebulous opinion and PEOPLE everywhere are waiting for you to do something about it.

“Everyone” and “people” are like “always” and “never.”  It’s the language of hysteria.  It’s not the language of truth. And certainly not the language of decision.

So, here’s what to do…

The next time you catch yourself saying, “Everyone has been telling me to…” Or “People keep saying I should…”

Do yourself a favor and ask yourself one simple question…

“How many exactly?”

And then follow it with one more…

“Is that number enough to justify making this big of a change or is there another way to look at this?”

Hey, maybe this isn’t something you even do.  Maybe I’m taking a few tiny instances and turning them into a great big deal.  Everyone keeps telling me I always do that.

36 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • Danny Head

    This destructive pattern starts early, for many, in the form of peer pressure. I hear it from my teenager, “Everyone says I need to…” or “everyone’s doing [enter activity of choice, here].

    I ask him, “Who is ‘everyone’? Give me some names.” It shuts down that process, quickly, and makes him think about it, or at least APPEAR to think about it.

  • Michael LaRocca

    This is the first of your blog posts to arrive in my mailbox, and I’m already sharing it.

  • Juliette robertson

    I do resonate so strongly with your blogs Christine. They go right to the heart of the truth, and peel away layers of assumptions. Humorous, candid, insightful, powerful, respectful, challenging, offering creative solutions. ….you are the steady wise well oiled hum in the engine room of small businesses around the globe. Thankyou .
    Mr Trump – pay attention!

  • Lisa Scott

    Wow, this was an eye opener for me! So very true, spot on! Thanks christine, love, love, love your coaching and insights!

    Lisa

  • Leslie

    Exhibit A reporting in from the field. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

    One mom said…

    One dad said…

    One youth director said…

    and I change my entire plan.

    It’s time I become the leader of my business. Not them.

    Got it. Thank you!

  • Gerry

    This is a great reminder to learn to speak in specifics rather than generalities. Look the numbers/facts and erase self doubt! Assumptions about situations and people are often based on the emotion of self doubt.

  • Jerri Shankler Therapist & Recovery Coach

    Oh My Christine, you hit this one right on the head! I see it so often in my practice, and it’s reared it’s scary head in my personal life also. Another scary word is “they”; what will they think or say when I offer non-conventional therapy techniques, like energy healing? Who the heck are “they” anyhow??? My colleagues? The bigger they of my field? What helps my clients is what matters in the end. Thank you, thank you for this thought provoking, inspiring and empowering post! Jerri

  • Joyce Teal

    Christine,
    We are taught to look for what is wrong from the time we entered kindergarten. Our school work came back marked in red pen, “four wrong.” Never a comment on how many we got right!
    I have spent over 20 years teaching and decided that I would never encourage my students to focus on the number “wrong” but focus on the number “right.” My students would say, “Miss Teal, you only marked that I got 8 right. How many did I get right?” It would take me weeks to teach them that the number that they got right was more important than the number they got wrong. It was a real mind shift for them. Once they focused on what was right, their grades improved!! They wanted papers that were 100% right rather than a paper with something wrong on it!!! This had a huge impact on the behavior and academics in my classes.
    I got a lot of pushback from administration and other teachers for not correcting my papers “appropriately and correctly” but I would always counter with my students’ improved grades. Can’t argue that point!!
    Thank you for this article!! I could share so much more about the power of focusing on what is right!

    PS. I never corrected in red pen. It always looked like someone “bled” all over their papers. I would use orange for October, November would be brown, December was Christmas green, January was crystal blue, February was hot pink,,,, I think you get the idea. My kids would always try to guess what color I would use as we went from one month to the next!!! Considering I usually taught middle school, it was a very positive adventure for my students! Now go write something with a brown glitter pen!!

    • Christine Kane

      Joyce – how amazing. You sound like the kind of teacher that lives on in people’s lives long after they stop being your students. What a fabulous approach!

  • Maw-Maw Kelli

    Wow how timely! And to tag on, why do we take business advice who have never been in business. (guilty I have done it)
    Thanks so much for this! You are AWESOME!

  • Raederle

    This was such a cute fun post! I love your ending. And you’re so right. I do that ALL the time… “I keep hearing…” “I’ve read in multiple places…” “People keep telling me…” And it’s usually less than four. FOUR!?! Or LESS? That is nothing up against the real needs/desires of the 7 billions of the planet. It IS the language of hysteria, just as you said. Perfect way to put that!

  • Ramona King

    Thanks, Christine. It’s amazing how one or two people can feel like 50 or a mob even. That statement “Everybody says…” has sent me curled up in fetal position. This article really puts this in perspective…emotions vs. what’s really going on here. I’ll be sure to check the numbers before I begin a statement with “everybody” or “Mostly everyone”. No doubt, it would save my career and sanity.

  • Eryn

    Thanks for this article, Christine. I had an episode of “this is never going to work” last night because the students I’ve spoken with aren’t saying yes. Debby asked me “How many students?” I said 4. And to me, that’s EVERY ONE OF THEM in the universe. Thanks for the reminder that I’m just getting started and that 4 does not equal Everyone!

  • Cindy

    Lol I LOVED this post! I felt as if you were talking directly to me because I take criticism to heart and am trying to make changes because “everyone” thinks it’s best all the time. Thanks for this!

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Cindy – Interestingly, this isn’t always about criticism! Sometimes it’s people telling you they want you to offer something that you don’t currently offer, and sometimes it’s just a whole new idea they have for you! I think the key piece here is to recognize when you are turning it into a “survey,” rather than an opinion! 🙂

  • Paula

    Trust your gut.
    Last month “they” said, Nice painting, but who will buy it?

    I hung it proudly in the show. Even though we had not met yet, I knew exactly who would buy it.
    And I put the largest price I had ever asked. I knew it was worth it.

    Then, “they” said “Great painting, but OMG, did you see the price?!?”
    Last week, “they” were there when that person walked in, fell in love with the work and wrote the check.

    Don’t listen to everyone, every time.

    • Christine Kane

      Wow Paula! This post, in and of itself could be its own blog post! You go girl! So happy to read this!

    • Paula

      Thanks Christine!
      When ever I doubt myself, I’m going to recall the moment I heard it sold. It’s a new foundation for trusting my instincts and viewing my value.

    • Yolanda Gray

      I love it! Congratulations for staying true to you.

  • Sandy Rees

    I’m busted. I’ve done this more than once. Thanks for helping me notice that behavior.

  • Dori

    So true! We tend to let the 1 or 2 negative comments stick with us. It’s important to take a step back and remind yourself that you can’t please everyone. If you ask for feedback about your biz and someone comes out with something way out of left field, fight the temptation to keep shifting gears.

    If that’s not where your heart is, don’t do it! I’ve recently begun saying “Thanks for your honest feedback.” It doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone, every time.

  • Thea van Dijk

    recognizable. Most of the time it’s because I feel insecure about the subject.

  • Julia Barnickle

    Brilliantly put, Christine. I know that I sometimes fall into that trap, although I’m good at picking it up in my clients – funny how that works, isn’t it? And I really identify with your comment about the one or two “not so nice” feedback forms. (Note to self…!)

  • Roxane Lessa

    Love this, raving…..Christine, I recently got a loooooooong email from one of my students in my new Sat. Artist Salon class. She offered to give her feedback and i accepted. I know her a little bit, so I took a lot of it with a grain of salt. But what was interesting is that I didn’t try to contort myself to change every thing according to her feedback. Some of it was good, some not. Also, “everyone” and “people” often come up with well intended suggestions, that I know are not what I want to do with my biz. It’s getting easier and easier to say, no, that’s not what I do.

  • Lauren

    Awesome! This is so true and yes it is amazing how we focus on the one or two not so nice comments! Oh to remember that it is JUST feedback and not our truth. Thanks Christine for this reminder. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    Such good insight and advice. This puts everyone in perspective!

  • Dr. Anna Garrett

    Having been exhibit A on more than one occasion, what I am finding is that when “everybody” comes up, it usually means I have some self-doubt about whatever the thing in question is (price, tagline, etc). So I’m learning to look more carefully at that and question it…in addition to the REAL evidence!

    Thanks as always!

    Dr. Anna

    • Christine Kane

      Hey Anna, I think we’ve all been both A and B! You’re not alone! And yeah, it really is the self-doubt, and you’re being called to come back to center and to intention and to what your real strategy is, rather than what other people think it should be!

      And of course, you’re doing awesome in the work you do!! 🙂

  • Karen

    What great advice, thanks!

  • Nav

    Thank you Christine, this was a brilliant and valuable post to read. 🙂

    • Christine Kane

      You are most welcome Nav!

    • Bonny Goetz

      I ALWAYS say words like everyone, always, never are big words. It’s nice to have your read on it as well.

      Always means Always, everyone means everyone, etc. I like to be true to my words

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