Someone recently introduced me via email to a friend of theirs whom they thought would be a good fit for the show. For the sake of anonymity (even though with some quick due diligence you can find the real name), let’s call this person Steve.
After he was introduced, Steve sent me another email to “formally” introduce himself. Below is the screenshot:
So, as you may be able to imagine, this email intrigued me and I even found it was pretty funny and ingenious. But I wasn’t sure yet. Was this guy just skilled at getting noticed? Or was he worth passing over – I get a lot of submissions from people who want to be on the show, maybe he’s not worth it…maybe what I see is what I get.
I’ve learned a long time ago not to judge someone based on their initial email or even meeting them for the first time in person.
So I replied back.
Turns out, this individual was very professional, good natured, and legit. He had built an app from scratch to over 150,000 users, and had just finished raising a first round of financing at a pretty substantial valuation.
Turns out, his first email WAS just a tactic to get to the top of all the noise. This guy was actually pretty awesome, and could add a lot of value to the show.
During all of this, I decided to take a screenshot and post the email on my FB to see what people’s reactions would be:
I got almost all positive responses from people who were also intrigued, saying they would definitely reply back and that this guy most likely knew exactly what he was doing.
Others weren’t so sure, and said they wouldn’t ever want to take advice from this guy…that they weren’t impressed and that this was appalling.
Then I started to get a few emails and messages from well-meaning listeners of the show:
“I know you have young listeners and that a post like this is ‘cool’ and ‘entertaining’, but at what cost?” “
“I’m not so sure the parents of your listeners would appreciate their kids being exposed to someone who speaks like this.”
“…certainly most home school parents would not gravitate to something that appears to endorse using the F word and strip clubs…even if it’s for clever attention getting methods.”
“Don’t you think an initial email like this says a lot about who this person is? Do you really want this represented on your show?”
I’m always appreciative of feedback, and I’m always willing to admit my own mistakes and shortfalls.
This wasn’t one of them. I decided to turn this into a teachable moment.
Below is the response I gave to one of the people who contacted me privately about the post:
“I thought it through before I posted. People who know me and follow me know I’m (personally) not the type of person to say those things. I think people realize I’m not endorsing strip clubs and the f word, but rather, I support unconventionality.
When I have this guy on the show, people will see he is actually very accomplished and professional, with truth to share. We will certainly talk about the email, and the pros and cons of the approach, using it as a teachable moment.
If you ask “at what cost”, the reality is the kind of student or parent who would see or hear those words, overlook the accomplishments, the grains of truth, and the character that this person possesses, and instead immediately boycott…is not the type of person I necessarily want following me or apart of the community, and they also might miss some major opportunities in life long term.
I don’t try to shield things like this from my show (i.e. I don’t block out cussing or controversial topics). The purpose is not to make it “entertaining” or “cool”, the purpose is authenticity, no matter how controversial…and I count on my listeners to cultivate the kind of personal responsibility it takes to decide whether they agree or disagree and why, and to develop the maturity to see past things that might at first offend them in order to find what truth may exist. They may discover another point of view. Perspective is sometimes underrated.
If they cant rise to that occasion, they fall away.
So – I have had gay men on the show, I have had people drawing life lessons from how they pick up girls, I have had people condemning the Liberal Left which is probably a quarter of my audience, I have had people also condemn aspects of the Conservative Right which is probably a bigger chunk of my audience, and I have had plenty of people say four-letter-words…among several other “questionable moments” on the show.”
…And that concludes the response I gave to that individual.
So, what type of person are you, reader?
Are you quick to be offended, instead of quick to understand a different point of view?
Do you have beliefs that are so rigid, you miss out on vital truths and alienate entire groups of people?
Are you quick to judge people based off of first impressions, or do you always assume the best until proven otherwise?
Do you believe that you have it all figured out, or do you believe an exciting part of life is wrestling with your beliefs, assumptions, and reasoning?
One of these mentalities is healthier and more rewarding than the other, one of these mentalities is more in line with The Successful Dropout Philosophy. 🙂
Glad I could use this little email to expound on an important topic. Thanks, Steve. 😉