When what you see is not what’s there

Are you open to feedback?

This is one of my favorite snarky T-shirts. Unfortunately, most of us have probably declared this at some point (mentally, anyway), and I’ll bet the results were not pretty.

Any smart entrepreneur knows: You don’t create a new product or service for yourself; you create it for your ideal client. But what if the feedback from those ideal clients boils down to “your brainchild stinks”? Are you going to ignore those facts?

It’s awfully easy to fall in love with your own ideas. Sometimes they deserve your adoration, and sometimes they don’t. One of the hardest things to do is open to negative feedback and willingly act on it. And that requires us to develop an awareness that what we think is true sometimes isn’t.


Confidence = good. Obstinacy = bad.


Watch the following video and see how long it takes you to accept what you see:

How often do you insist the squares in your business are different colors, even when your market proves they’re the same color? How’s that going for you?

One of the most helpful ways I’ve come up with to open my mind to possibilities – even uncomfortable ones like “I’m wrong” – is to use the magic phrase, “What if”.

• What if I tweak this based on customer feedback?
• What if next time I do a beta test before a full-scale launch?
• What if this product could work, but just not for this particular market?

Once you get in the habit of using “What if” to challenge assumptions and tackle obstacles, your creativity – and your effectiveness – will skyrocket.

What experiences have you had where what you thought you saw was not what was really there? What impact did that have on your business? What did you learn? Any and all lessons shared below are welcome!

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