This morning I got an email. Nothing out of the ordinary, I get lots of email everyday. This one related to a project I was working on, so with great care I read the words. I didn’t like them. The email was meant to be the first of a two part marketing email, and in my opinion it was “campy”.
“Who wrote that email?” I asked later in a meeting. It came out a little more blunt than I intended it, but I went with it. Sitting across the table from me was Chris, a man I respect, and without flinching he looked me in the eye and said “I did”.
It was at this point that my brain conjured up an image of me lifting up my foot, sprinkling it with a dash of pepper, and inserting my foot into my mouth. Ignoring my brain, I tried to save myself, but the damage was done, and my opinion was out there. Chris, looking at me seriously asked “What did you not like about it?”
This time my brain showed me an image of a large metallic robot, who kept repeating loudly, “Danger, Danger, Danger Jason Heilpern!” I ignored the image. “I thought it was to campy, and I think we can do better.” I explained.
The robot in my head suddenly turned into a very disgusted looking midget who told me I was an idiot.
Chris nodded his head, and said “I am really open to feedback on the email. Thank you for sharing your opinion, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with for the second email of our campaign.”
The robot, the midget, and me all said at the same time “What?!” Chris repeated what he said, and I knew I had set myself up.
After the meeting I took a walk to get some coffee, and think about what just happened. I had expressed an opinion, and felt my opinion was valid. Chris could have reacted 10 different ways, but instead he chose to react in what I felt was the best way possible. I said we could do better, and he was giving me the very chance to do so.
So I got my coffee, and with determination the robot, the midget, and I headed back to my computer to back up my opinion with action.
Later in the day I sent out the email, but that is not really the point. The point is I learned a valuable lesson today. Anything I say, opinion or otherwise, I need to be prepared to back up with actions. My Dad always said “Actions speak louder than words.” So today I vowed to be more careful about the opinions I express. Especially if it has to do with the work of another person, because if I am not fully committed and prepared to get in there, and do a better job, I had better keep my opinions to my self.