A couple of weeks ago I was at a gas station. I happened to look over as I was pumping gas and there was this truck next to me, and they were in the other lane, and I noticed on the side of the truck it said something called Crosses For Losses. Now, you may or may not have heard of them, but this is a company out of Aurora, Illinois, where I live. The guy's dad goes around the country and builds crosses whenever there's a mass shooting. I walked over to the truck and I asked the kid, “Is that you?” He says, “No, it's my dad.” I just shook his hand, and I said, “Thank you for what you do,” and I walked back and finished pumping my gas.
I've seen them on national news over the last few years. As a matter of fact, I've spoken in Aurora, Colorado where there was a mass shooting in a theater, and my dad lived in Las Vegas, and there was a mass shooting there. So I've felt connected with this company on an emotional level because, first and foremost, they're based in my hometown, and I've seen them on the news, and also, I appreciate what they do. But, when that happened a few weeks ago, I never imagined that they would be making crosses for people in my town. So, you've probably heard by now, there was a shooting in Aurora, Illinois at a plant and five people died. Needless to say, not only did it rock my world, but also that of my community, my friends, and my daughter, who was connected to one of the guys that died. I mean, it's just so bizarre that two weeks ago I was there thanking them for what they did elsewhere. Little did I know I would see them on TV doing it here in my hometown.
Fuel On The Fire
Because of that, I broke my own rule. Now, I say all the time, never post about politics, religion, or sex, and when I say, sex, I mean, men versus women, because you're going to piss off 50% of your audience. But, this one hit too close to home, and I lost it, and I posted something on social media. The reason I posted it is because I was angry, and I was hurt, and I was feeling something. Normally, when I do these kind of things, which occasionally I do, I just get upset and I post something, and then people start getting angry and it just starts exploding. Normally, I take it down to stop all of the anger, and vitriol, and all this stuff.
Now, I'm not going to get into what it was, or why I did it, but it just exploded. All I was doing was sharing my feelings, and this time it was different. I said, I can't let other people beat me down and stop me from feeling what I'm feeling. Sometimes, you have to break your own rule, and I think that's okay. So, I want to talk about what to do or what I learned from people attacking me online. And I'm here to tell you, I got beat up. I mean, I got beat up bad.
I was told that, if you're going to be a good Christian, you need to do this. Then, of course, they went off on all these different tangents, like how do you call yourself a minister? Yes, I am a minister, but I'm not running a church. It doesn't matter. I mean, it's like attack, attack, attack, attack. I wanted to take it down, but then I couldn't because I was being honest, and integral, and raw, and I just couldn't let that happen.
Normally, I would just say, okay, it's not worth it, but this time I just could not do that. Let me tell you what to consider if you decide to go down the road that I did, when you really need to think about if you're going to post something that maybe other people won't agree with, and that's okay. Sometimes, it's just okay. Can it hurt your brand? Yes. Is it not the best way to do things when you're running a business? Yes. But, the bottom line is, we're all people. We feel things. And you cannot put that in a box just because you run a business, all the time.
Anyway, here are the things that I learned.
First and foremost, the people that are berating you or the people that are getting into arguments don't know the whole you. They don't know the whole story. It's not your job to tell them the whole story. If you feel that and you need to say it, say it, and let it go. That's it. Don't expect them to understand where you're coming from because they won't. And that's okay.
The thing that I did, which I think helped a little bit, is I put a why to how I was feeling. This is why I felt this way, and then I said, I own it. Now, I don't expect you to agree with me. I may not agree with you, but this is how I feel. I own it and if I offend you, I'm sorry, but this is what I said. And, it didn't stop the attacks. It kept coming and coming. As a matter of fact, even three days later I'm still getting beat up on this, but I'm not going to pull it down because I'm not going to let them win.
Here's the other thing that you have to think about: don't argue. Don't get into this tit for tat, back and forth, because here's the bottom line: you cannot win and they want to. They want to tell you that you're wrong for feeling what you're feeling, and you can't let them do that, but don't argue with them because there's no way you're going to win. 0% of people change people's minds on the internet by posting things. It's okay to be sincere and be yourself, but don't fight it.
The other thing that you have to do is you have to let them get it out and move on. And yeah, some people will get vicious, and some people will unfriend you, and some people may not do business with you, but that's okay. Be okay with the fact that you are who you are and you feel what you feel. Now, if you get in arguments with people, obviously, it's going to escalate, but just let it go, all right? Let them do what they have to say and just move on.
Then, the last piece is this: don't take it personally. We're all human and the internet is a very divisive place. This country is split in half. There's no question about it. There are lefts and there are rights, and there are pros and there are cons. Everybody's got their opinions, but some people are so ingrained in what they believe that they will tell you are wrong 100% of the time, even if you feel like you're right. You know what? You may be, and they may be too, but the thing you cannot do is take it personally.
If you're going to have that moment, the three things you have to think about is, number one, be integral. If you take it down, you lose and they win. It's not a competition, so it's up to you. If you feel like it's going to hurt your business, take it down. But, the bottom line is, realize that if people are beating you up, they've won. The second thing is, I buy things from people I disagree with and I expect the same from them. I don't necessarily have the same views as everybody else, but I don't let their views change the fact that they provide great customer service and I respect that. The last thing I want to say is, move on and be true to yourself. Don't let your feelings be affected by other people's vitriol, just be true to you.
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