A man walks into a French Bistro…
He sits down for lunch. After looking over the menu, he decides to try something new…Duck Confit. Oh, and he asks for it “well-done.”
Relative to the preparation of a sandwich, Duck confit is a labor of love. Cooking the duck takes several hours, on top of the prep work that precedes it. Many of the best restaurants often reuse the same duck fat for years. The flavor intensifies over time. This adds to the complexity of the dish.
The bell rings.
The server delivers a plate to the table featuring a beautifully crisp duck leg over wilted greens.
The man takes his first bite.
He doesn’t like it.
Perhaps it is too crispy, too dry, too fatty, too salty, or not salty enough.
Perhaps, since it is his first time eating duck confit, that the flavor is just new to him. Perhaps he doesn’t understand the cooking process, or maybe the flavor just isn’t for him.
Regardless, in that moment, this customer forms an opinion…
This restaurant is horrible!
They don’t pay attention, they haven’t got the skill. They are simply not good at what they do.
His lens dictates the reality.
Does this sound far-fetched?
Because something similar happens to me when I get into an Uber and they go one block out of the way.
“They don’t know where they’re going, they are idiots.”
Why did they go one block out of the way? It can’t possibly be because the Waze navigation system is helping us avoid traffic or road construction. No, obviously, I’m right…because I say so. Something happens, and we infer that we now know the whole story. More often than not this happens when we’re judging something outside of our area of expertise or with incomplete information.
The same thing can happen with clients, with colleagues, or with partners.
“They messed up. They don’t care. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re idiots.”
But that doesn’t deter us, right?
We like to think we have some control over our brands and reputations. We invest significant time and energy toward our craft. But because it’s so easy to brand others with our opinions, we’re subject to the same circumstance. And when they do it, much like when we do it, rarely do we consider how our opinion travels, influences, and shapes how others see the world.
The sad part is that collectively, we’re not nearly discerning enough when it comes to passing judgement and sharing it as fact.
For this reason, everyone does crappy work, because someone, somewhere, said so.
Don’t take it personally.
You could let all of this get you down. You could let it stop you from putting your heart in it fully.
But you don’t have to.
Maybe, you’re not perfect. Maybe, you didn’t set expectations. Maybe, the person is just a jerk. In any event, the world will keep spinning, and those few bad opinions in the midst of other accolades are likely not going to sink your ship. Keep your head up and remember that everyone does crappy work…to someone.