Hatemail, disclosure and belief

HatemailThis email went out to the smart folk on my list earlier today. I wasn’t going to share it here, but the feedback has been off the charts, so here it is.

(I send a lot of stuff out by email that never goes anywhere else. Be sure to sign up here if you don’t want to miss anything.)

Hatemail, Disclosure and Belief

The best hatemail I ever had was riddled with expletives and ended with the words “have a good one, fucker.”

Thankfully, they don’t come round that often.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a very polite email from a former subscriber that read like this:

“I’m unsubscribing from your list.

I find your language offensive and unnecessarily violent (beating yourself upside the head, refashioning your facial features with a blunt spoon, etc.), and I didn’t like your quip about the Law of Attraction being a pile of candy-coated nonsense. That remark had nothing to do with the message you were trying to convey.

You don’t speak my language, basically.

You’re probably trying to be funny and witty, but it’s really keeping me from wanting to read your stuff. And telling me I rock every email, and that you like my face is just over the top.

You probably have a great message, especially if you went through Michael Port’s training, but it’s not reaching me because of your style of delivery”

My response?

“Thanks for your feedback, sorry to see you go”.

My thought-process?

  1. Argh! I offended somebody.
  2. Probably best she’s not getting my emails any more. I can’t imagine sitting in the same room as this person, let alone working with her.

Luckily, she feels the same about me. Neither of us is holding a grudge.

You see, if you’re not being yourself, then you’re not doing yourself any favors.

There are some people you’re meant to serve, and some you’re not. It’s that simple.

But here’s where it got blurry for me:

Am I really being myself? Or am I being a hyped up version of myself?

I asked my friend Mirabai Galashan, who works in a similar industry to my erstwhile subscriber (and had described that particular email’s tone as “Gordon Gecko on ecstasy”) for her thoughts.

She said:

“I love your sense of humour, I think this style may put “people like me” off, not because of the jokes per se but because it is a little over-caffeinated and under-sincere at times.

To motivate my demographic I think you need to let them feel your heart/soul.  They need to connect to your depth – the most impressive fact to them is that you were a major mainstream success and then decided you wanted more meaning, to make a difference, be a great dad stuff. This doesn’t come through in a lot of your sales emails.”

So, here goes:

  • My entire working day is constructed around spending time with my two-year old son. Soon, he won’t want to hang out with me. Sincerely, that’s scary.
  • The reason I quit my “major mainstream success” was because I was miserable. Selling on price to disinterested multinationals wasn’t what I was put here to do.
  • Not a week goes by when I don’t wonder if I was selfish and stupid in walking away from something that had so much potential and to which I’d given almost four years of my life.
  • Writing these emails is the toughest thing I do each week. I do a fair bit of copywriting for other clients, and I don’t find it difficult. I find it enjoyable and, dare I say it, easy. Using my own voice is a different process, however, and one that leaves me feeling vulnerable and open to abuse, rather like I – and you – feel frequently as an entrepreneur.
  • Standing up alone and forging your own way in the world is simultaneously terrifying and exciting. Watch the first five minutes of this video to find out how likely it is that you are suffering from bipolar disorder.
  • When I tell you “you rock” at the end of my emails, it’s an expression of gratitude. It’s also a branding exercise.
  • The over-caffeinated version of myself that goes out in my emails is, on examination, most likely some kind of protection mechanism.
  • I believe in expressing gratitude. I believe in luck. I believe I am lucky to have been born a white guy in the south of England at the end of the 20th century. I also believe in making your own luck.
  • I frequently can’t believe my own luck.
  • I do not believe in the Law of Attraction. I think it is a pile of candy-coated nonsense.
  • I believe that what I believe should have no bearing on what you believe. I do not believe my beliefs to be any more valid or correct than yours. I will not pour scorn on you if you subscribe to the Law of Attraction, or Catholicism, or shamanism.
  • I believe we must disagree about these things.
  • I know my right people are more interested in what I can do for them, rather than whether we agree on everything. My wife and I disagree on most things. It’s the strengths we don’t share that make us a good team.
  • If your set of beliefs doesn’t impinge on the rights of others to live their life free from harassment or violence or coercion, then it’s possible that we can be friends.
  • Confidence can be learnt.
  • I fuck up a dozen times a week, if not more. This is not an attractive quality in a marketing expert. Experts, after all, are meant to be infallible. Right?
  • I have one big win each week – a new client, a long boozy lunch with friends, a good book. Ideally, all three.

Most importantly, I believe – I know – that my right people are out there.

Just as YOUR right people are out there. 

If you try to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing nobody. You’ll second guess yourself based on every piece of criticism and negative feedback and suggestion you receive.

That gets tiresome quickly.

The people that you identify to work with should be the same people that don’t fight that mutual feeling.

Imagine for a minute that you don’t have to sell, you don’t have to persuade or make a strong case for you instead of the competition.

That’s EXACTLY what happens when you have a clear message and a distinct personality.

You don’t have to water down your message. You shouldn’t do what everybody else is doing. You ARE capable of forging your own way in the world.

You are capable of doing what you love.

You rock (yes, really)

Matt