Skip to main content

Throughout our working lives, we must come to the simple conclusion that we cannot please everyone. No matter how hard we try, not all clients or customers will be happy with the value we provide. For most of us, we remain employed or remain successful in our businesses because of all the positive feedback and reviews we receive. Then why do we care so much when we get an occasional bad review?

My Bad Review: Angry Pink Phone Lady

I recall when I worked for a wireless phone company back in 2006 and laughed at a woman who asked if a particular smart phone (smart phones were a relatively new thing at the time) came in pink. I didn’t think anything of it. It was a funny question and selling phones in different colors, especially pink, was a very new thing in the industry at that time. That day, she left a scathing review with Corporate saying that I had insulted her and that she would never shop at the store again. That bothered me for weeks.

What if the Person Complaining is Right?

We could get 500 positive reviews, but what if that 1 negative review is right? What if I am a terrible doctor, lawyer, musician, teacher, customer service rep, manager, web designer, etc.? Most of us define ourselves by our careers. So, when someone criticizes your work, it’s almost as if this person is attacking you directly. If I am terrible at what I do, then I am useless as a human being. It sounds dramatic, but that is exactly what is going on internally when we get triggered by a bad review.

We Want a Chance to Defend Ourselves 

If I could have called Angry Pink Phone Lady back after she left the bad review, what would I have even said? I didn’t think I had done anything wrong and nothing could convince me otherwise. Similarly, she wasn’t going to change her mind about how insulted she was by me laughing at her. So, I was just doomed to have this negative review from Angry Pink Phone Lady for eternity. In reality, I left that job 10 years ago, and no one would have known or cared about that incident unless I had mentioned it.

That’s life. Sometimes we encounter unhappy customers and all we can do is learn from the experience and move on.

The Person Complaining May Not Be a Match To the Outcome that Your Value Provides

Last week, I talked about identifying the value that you provide to your customers in your business. By focusing on the value you provide instead of the money, you can attract more customers that will exchange money for that value.

This week, I want to tell you that not every customer you have will appreciate the value that you provide. This is the sad truth of being in business. You cannot please everyone. No matter how hard you try, some people will be unhappy with the value you provide.

Why is that? Because not every customer is a match to the outcome that you envision for them.

You can only create in your reality. And no matter how good you are, sometimes the people who you work with are not a match to the value you provide. For example, if I have a criminal client, my goal is to keep that client out of jail. But, if there is eyewitness testimony and video evidence of my client robbing a corner store, there is nothing I can do. That client is not a match to the value that I want to provide.

Similarly, if you are a personal trainer and your client refuses to follow your meal plans and workouts, that client is not a match to the value you are providing. If you are a social media strategist and your client ignores your business plan and refuses to implement any of your advice, your client is not a match to the value you are providing. If you are a teacher and you have a student who refuses to turn work in on time, that student is not a match to the value you are providing.

The fact that the person you were trying to help was not a match to the outcome you envisioned for them is not an indictment on your abilities. It simply means that that person was not a match to that outcome.

And those individuals may blame you for their inability to succeed. Some will give you those bad reviews you lose sleep over when, in reality, that person was never a match to the desired outcome due to their own choices and circumstances.

Change Your Focus  

So, instead of focusing on attracting good clients, students, or whomever you come into contact with in your daily work, focus on attracting people who are a match to what you provide. This subtle mindset shift will weed out all of the potential individuals who will waste your time and blame you for their failure. This will cause you to focus on how you will feel when all of your clients are happy with your services because they were a match to a successful outcome before they even came to you.


When I worked at the phone company back in 2006, I liked to joke with my customers and found that my sales increased when I connected with them. Clearly, Angry Pink Phone Lady was not a match to that method. However, the majority of my customers were a match to that method. I later realized that selling phones was not my gift in life and moved on to the law, but the same concept applies in the practice of law and in all business and trade.

Focus on the value that you provide. Then, focus on attracting clients who are a match to the outcome that your value provides. Once you start attracting clients who are a match to success, your success will follow.