I tend to be as honest as I can be, especially in business.1 This causes me problems, especially when I’m trying to be honest while there’s a whisper campaign (or worse, Dilbert-esque corporatespeak) going on. I don’t – to put it mildly – do well in those situations.2
As my therapist put it recently:
Steve, this is the midwest. You’re not supposed to complain, you’re not supposed to point out what’s wrong with people or situations, and if you do, you’re trouble.
He even went on to quote Terms of Endearment!
I’m afraid he’s right – but I still think honesty is the best policy, especially when you’re more concerned with one’s own reputation for honesty. For example, my newest testimonial for my eBook conversion services.
The PDF I saw of Ms. Wendinger’s book is gorgeous. It looks the way history books would in a perfect universe. It’s just a really, really beautiful book.
And there was no way I could make it look that good as an ePub or Kindle book. Nobody could. So I told her the truth, and explained why.
She spontaneously sent me a note3 that became that testimonial. And as much as I value the other wonderful compliments that my clients have given me, that one holds a special bit of value for me.
Because back in 2007, I wrote about my own experiences on the other side of that relationship. And it was so awesome to realize that I had become the kind of businessperson that I praised back then.
1 I’m human and fallible, prone to overstimate my abilities, and generally screw up in that way – but I try to not lie.
2 Yes, I’m talking about my day job. And that’s as much as I’m going to say publicly about it right now.
3 She rewrote it at my request, but basically changed “you” to my name.