Thick Skin and Unsolicited Advice

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NOTE:  This article contains adult language for emphasis.  If you are offended by slang words used to describe poop and donkeys, please do not read this article.

Being uncomfortable prevents thousands, (maybe millions) of people from becoming financially free.  This is especially true of attorneys.
 
An example:  Most lawyers I meet tell me they use their current method of billing because “that’s the way everyone else does it”.  Essentially they fear the discomfort of being different.  This fear is so great they refuse to buck the current trend.
 
They tell me that people will not work with them if they are different.  They say they must conform or face financial ruin.

Of course that is a huge pile of crap.
 
It is just fear that prevents them from developing an alternative billing model.  Fear and insecurity.  Nothing more.

But this is not an article about billing.  It is an article about you and the way you deal with “unsolicited negative feedback”.
 
We all fall victim to unsolicited feedback offered by other people.
 
In many cases, the person who gives you “a little friendly advice” is not actually being friendly.  They are being destructive.

Why do they do this?  Why give you unsolicited advice that only serves to bring you down?

I don’t know the technical term for it but at a deep psychological level, for some people, making others feel less successful fills some kind of need.
 
It happens to everyone and it can get inside your head…if you let it.

I fell victim to this just the other day.

Click Continue Reading for more of my foolish behavior and learn how you can avoid the mistake I made

A local businessman, someone I respect and admire, sent me an email with the contact information of an attorney.  The email said:  “You guys should meet” and it had my email address and the attorney’s email address and phone number on it.

Appreciative of the introduction, I called the attorney immediately.  I left a voice mail message.  I also called a second time and left my name and contact info with the attorney’s assistant.

To close the loop, I sent a three sentence email stating who I was and what I did.  I copied the person who referred me as a courtesy.

The next day I saw the businessman who made the introduction.  He chastised me (under the guise of “constructive criticism”).  He said my email sounded like a “used car salesman”.  He said I should have offered to meet the attorney and develop a relationship without being solicitous.

I didn’t have a problem with the advice the businessman gave me.

What I had a problem with was his tone.  He was arrogant and condescending.  And that is what stuck with me after our conversation.
 
The businessman is successful.  And I respect that.  But in that one conversation he essentially belittled my 20 years of business development experience.  The fact that I have grown two businesses from scratch into 100-million-dollar-plus enterprises was suddenly worth nothing because I wrote an email with a direct approach.

I fumed about this for two days.

It really bothered me.

Then I came to a realization that helped me make peace with the situation and ultimately with myself.

The businessman’s attitude and tone of his friendly advice was not about me.

They were about him.
 
He felt like he had an opportunity to put me down and he took it.  He validated his success (with himself) by correcting what he perceived to be an error on my part.  In the process he made me feel like crap.

I let him do that.  It was my fault.
 
The bottom line on criticism is: If it is offered in a way that makes you feel less important, it is bull shit and it should be treated as such.
 
People can only make you feel bad if you let them.  Ignore jackasses who seek to get their needs met by making you feel less successful.
 
The advice of friends can be valuable.  Take it with a grain of salt and use it to help you grow.  Unsolicited advice is worthless.
 
Keep reminding yourself that thick skin is a key component to success.  I will do the same.