Stop Caring What People Think

I once had a client who begged my boss to pull me off of a project on the second day of a huge-dollar, multi-month engagement. In her opinion, I was too young to have a significant role.

My boss told her “no.” Why he had faith in me and felt the need to take a stand is something I may never understand, but am incredibly thankful for. His belief in my ability to deliver quality for the client (and ultimately for him) gave me a sense of empowerment and the drive to over-deliver on the ask.

Regardless, the project went on for several months and finally winded down with a final executive dinner. The head of our business attended, and received a surprise when this particular woman pulled him aside for a quick conversation. According to him, the conversation went as follows:

“I have to thank you for your work on this. We’re really very happy with the results. I have to say — one highlight for me was Adam’s work. He really ‘gets it’ and carried us through some of the tougher parts. Thanks.”

I tell you this for two reasons. The first one is because as a leader of people or a manager of a business — the cultural lessons to be learned here are invaluable. My boss was confident in his team to deliver, and he did everything in his power to ensure we would be successful - including denying the client some of their requests for their own good. Secondly, my behavior became entirely focused on delivering great results as opposed to pleasing any one person, or satisfying the personality quirks that people tend to have. Instead, when fully committed to doing good work and making an impact we were able to block out all distractions and accomplish our goal.

This isn’t an ad for me or my great ability to conquer obstacles. Its a shout to my self and anyone else who struggles to please people above all else.

RELAX. Put your head down and do high quality work. Deliver incredible results. Everything else will be just fine.