I’ve heard it all, or at least I thought I did!
As a coach, trainer and former psychotherapist I’ve had the privilege of being made privy to the most intimate thoughts and secrets of many, many people.
Little shocks me anymore.
Today I was not only shocked, I was deeply annoyed and more than a bit horrified. Let me explain…
While sifting through my email this morning, I noticed a subject line that compelled me to investigate (let’s give this guy credit for a good open rate). The subject line was “Nancy, Will you vouch for me?” My immediate thought was that someone needed me to provide a testimony for them; perhaps in a divorce or child custody suit. I love being helpful, so I clicked on the link thinking that it be would be my pleasure to support one of my clients.
This email was from a complete and total stranger. Here’s what he wrote:
I would really appreciate it if you would take a minute to support me on..xxxxxx. I hold myself to a high standard in business, and your review will help me establish trust with future clients.
Let’s get this straight: this person, who I didn’t know, not only began his correspondence with a request, but also wanted me to provide a made-up review for him. Really? Seriously? Apparently! I searched his name and, as it turns out, his expertise is ‘relationship intelligence.’ Yea, I know, I had the same thought you just did. His email was relationship idiocy.
Most often when things annoy me I spend a moment pondering why, and then I move on; I do my best to invest my energy in the things that bring me joy. Not this time!
While moving toward the delete button on the email, it occurred to me that, given my chosen field (human potential), it might be ‘chicken’ to just delete it; perhaps it would be more honest to speak up. So I responded with the following:
I’m going to take a minute out of my very busy day to let you know just how inappropriate and unprofessional it is to contact someone (me) whom you’ve never met, never done business with, and certainly never networked with to ask me for something as subjective as a review.
This is not relationship intelligence; it’s spam and it’s unwelcome. This is not a high standard of business nor will it establish trust.
The good news is that you gave me a great subject to address in my blog today.
It was risky to reply; perhaps he’d laugh at me as in, “Can you believe this b-word got her panties in a wad about this?” Maybe he’d send me a vitriolic email in response. Suppose I knew him and I forgot that I did? All of these things went through my mind before I remembered….
Speaking our truth is seldom easy.
Speaking our truth can be very frightening.
Speaking our truth can cause others to hate us.
Speaking our truth is what we do when we’re on purpose in our lives.
Speaking our truth is a philosophy, a way of life, and an act of courage.
That is why it is called ‘our truth’; no one needs to agree with us.
Remember this the next time you hold back so someone will like you. Remember this the next time you edit your opinion because stating the truth is too risky. Remember this the next time someone does you the HUGE favor of giving you the feedback you needed, but didn’t want.