How To Not Take Things Personally in Business
Photography by Matt Somerville Photography
Recently I seem to have found myself becoming quite irritated by own inability to not take things personally. Generally I am a very positive person and I will always try to see the good in everybody and everything. Personally over the years I have really got a hand on not giving a damn about what others think. However lately I have found it increasingly difficult to brush off some rather hurtful and inconsiderate comments about our business. I suppose the general rule of thumb is that the more you put yourself and your personality out there and into your business, the more you open yourself up to criticism and debate, right? Although we have been up and running for two years now, this whole running a business thing still feels pretty new and its fair to say both myself and Jess treat Bespoke Bride as our baby, so when someone says something hurtful about it, it can be difficult to know how to handle.
The reality is if I don’t grow a thicker skin and gain better control of how I interpret things soon than I going to run the risk of ruining potential business relationships in the future. Now I am not saying that you should just let people walk all over you or say whatever they like, but what I am saying is that there is a good chance that the reason we take things personally is because we are so darn critical of ourselves.
I have come to realise that these comments that I take so personally are the result of feeling threatened, jealous and more often than not and on the odd occasion people actually being truthful. There will be times when it would do you good to just ignore the comment, on other occasions you might actually need question it and for all the times when neither of those will do, it is probably best if you try to identify with the ‘REAL’ reason that personal has said such a hurtful thing, instead of letting it eating you up and make bad snap decisions.
It is high time that I come to terms with the fact that everyone has their own opinions and there is nothing that I can do about that. Worrying about making every single person happy would not only be a waste of time and energy but would also make for a very boring blog. So my challenge from now on is to think logically when I start feeling myself irritated at a nasty comment and take myself through a couple of steps.
Step 1: First consider whether or not the comment is even worth thinking about – most of the time I am pretty sure my answer should be no.
Step 2: If the comment is worth thinking about, is it because this is something that has been brought to your attention before, either by that person or someone else? It could actually be the case that someone is doing you a huge favour and drawing your attention to something that needs real consideration? So instead of feeling hurt use it as some constructive criticism.
Step 3: Try to the see the truth behind the comment for example…
You are at a wedding fair when someone makes a throwaway comment that your prices are too high? What do you do?
a.) Rush off and change all your prices
b.) Argue your pricing structure with the customer
c.) Consider the real truth – that person might well be struggling for money at that particular time which has left them feeling frustrated and embarrassed and so they have lashed out at you to make themselves feel better.
One of those answers will lead you to a bad business decision, another is going to leave you angry and the other is actually quite a satisfying thought as you realise it isn’t your fault that person feels that way.
I know this all seems like a rather backward way of going around it but it has already really helped me. I am sat here contemplating my recent experiences with this sort of thing and I am already beginning to see the truth behind the comments.
So tell me how do you go about not taking things personally? Have you identified with anything I have written about in this post? I would love to know if my steps have helped you or whether or not you think they are just plain weird!
Enjoy your weekends lovelies
Much Bespoke Love
“c.) Consider the real truth – that person might well be struggling for money at that particular time which has left them feeling frustrated and embarrassed and so they have lashed out at you to make themselves feel better”
It’s not even that, I don’t think. People place different values on things. Personally I’d never pay for a Mulberry handbag even though I think they’re lovely. To me, their loveliness doesn’t justify the price tag. I am happy with Top Shop.
It’s the same with wedding photography. For some people Top Shop is good enough and others want Mulberry. Just like the difference between Top Shop and Mulberry, only part of the difference in pricing comes down to the actual quality of the product. Part of it is about the kudos of the brand and also the customer experience; the intangible value of that Mulberry bag.
I might walk through Selfridges and think/say the Mulberry bags are too expensive which they are, for me, because owning a designer handbag isn’t a priority.
I have had people question my pricing at every price point. At £800 people told me I was out of their budget. At my current price point people tell me I’m out of their budget. I have also had people book me at both price points without a second thought. The people who think I’m too expensive just aren’t my clients and if you think that way about it, it’s really easy not to take it personally.
That was just one example of a situation and one example of something I might think, I wasn’t stating that every time somebody haggles with prices that they can’t afford it, I was merely trying to make a point of changing the way you think about negative comments so that they don’t make you feel bad about yourself. I really like your way of thinking though and it is certainly something I will be using when trying to not take things personally. It is a very positive way to think of a negative situation and I love it!
Thank you again!
Great wisdom here. I just randomly ran across your site looing for photo prop templates (thanks, great props, I’m using them this weekend!). I think you have nailed it. Whether than worrying about whether the possibility for the other person’s actions are reasonable, I think the point is CONSIDERING there to be an alternative motivation OTHER than the one that is coming across and really upsetting you. Just today, a guy was blasting his stereo in the car behind me. You know, the boom-boom bass stuff. I’m thinking, “you jerk! How selfish to force all of us drivers to endure this noise pollution! Don’t you know people have kids in their cars, headaches, hard days at work? UGH!”. I mean, is stereo was impressive but it practically made me nauseated, physically, to be so close to this pulsating, throbbing rumble of death. I wanted to throttle him, so I made up a quick story about him. I decided he was a stereo repair man. He had put all his heart into repairing someone’s stereo and was taking the vehicle on a test to make sure it sounded good on the freeway. Even though his bass still hurt my head, I was NOT ALSO PERSONALLY FURIOUS at him for being a jerk. And who knows, it could have been true. Either way, my blood pressure leveled out. That’s the point, to be at peace! Thanks for the post and for keepin it real!