The other day, a client showed me an email she had received in reply to one of the emails she sent to her list.
And it was bad. Very bad.
It wasn’t just a sign of disapproval, it was much worse.
The sender got personal, derisive, offensive, and their email was completely out of order.
Totally uncalled for – and, how can someone send something like that and live with themselves?
Obviously, my client was saddened.
After all, the original email was quite good, it had a strong positive message, and it came 100% from the heart.
And yet, this particular recipient felt called to behave much like a highschool bully would.
At first sight, this kind of thing could be taken as a sign that you’re doing something wrong.
But actually, it means you’re doing something right.
You got hatemail?
Because that means you’re taking a stand, that you’re being you and boldly so.
And that isn’t only good, it’s essential when you’re building an audience and a business.
If you’re vanilla, and you go out of your way to avoid upsetting people, then not only are you being untrue to yourself – you’ll also fail to create the important and powerful resonance with people that your business needs.
Which probably means that I’m doing it wrong: I’ve never received hatemail.
At worst, someone will write ‘Please unsubscribe me’.
Which is odd, since there’s a perfectly functional unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email, but hey. Maybe they didn’t see it.
Now you might not think that polarising people, and taking a stand, are the thing to do.
But I’ll tell you this:
Practically each time someone unsubscribes from my list, another email comes in saying “Right on!” or something to that effect.
Which proves my point nicely:
If you polarise, and become unpalatable to one person, you become all the more inspiring to someone else.
In other words: it’s like a filter.
By being you, you automatically repel people who aren’t exactly right for you, and you create a fan out of the people who are right for you (and therefore, you for them).
Yes, I know that last sentence isn’t perfectly constructed.
Do forgive, I might be running a fever.
Anyway, never be afraid to be unequivocably you.
Whether in business or in daily life, it’s the one thing that causes you to be surrounded by the right people.
And as for the unsubscribes and the occasional hatemail?
Well, it may hurt but I’ve never seen anyone die from it.
The first ones are unpleasant, but I assure you it gets easier over time.
These days, I smile when people unsubscribe: they just made a good decision for themselves – what else could I be but happy?
As my client put it:
“Getting the hate mail was like taking an unpleasant pill… Didn’t last long and once swallowed, it was over.”
And that’s the truth.
Be you, and if that puts someone off: cheer.
They might not tell you right away, but there’s someone else out there who’ll be glad you took a stand.
Also published on Medium.