The best way to deal with that frustrating client

No matter where you are in your career or business, we’ve all experienced that nightmare client.

You know, the one who always shows up late to the meeting…

Or the one who never speaks up and tells you how they honestly feel about that mock-up…

Even worse, the client who wants a revision you don’t want to make, yet they believe the client is always right. (By the way, this is not true – they are not always right)

Or maybe it’s something else …

But as you think about the frustration, aggravation or annoyance, ask yourself – is it reasonable? What exactly is making you believe that you have to have that expectation of them?

Read that again. 

(And guess what – spoiler alert: it’s probably rooted in an expectation that you have of yourself.)

A wonderful friend of mine, Anthony, gave me this advice many moons ago, and I live by it today:

You can’t expect of others what you expect of yourself, for there, you will always find pain.

In other words, we tend to want people to see things our way, do it our way, read our minds, show up as we expect them to show up, BUT we don’t always tell them what we expect of them in the first place. 

When that frustrating client scenario hits, rarely is the immediate gut reaction to look into ourselves. Instead, we  look out at someone else and think: What did THEY do? Why are THEY doing this TO me? 

It’s time to shift the way we evaluate and reflect. Remember: No one will know what you need or want or expect if you do not speak up. 

Extra Credit

As you go about your day, thinking of that annoying client, think about these questions:

  1. Who told you that you need to have that expectation of others? And who are they to tell you what’s right for you in your relationships with others? 
  2. What is the actual frustration? 
  3. Where did you come up with this expectation come from? Is it a good expectation to have? Is it reasonable? Possible? Achievable? 
  4. Why do you have this expectation? Why does it exist? What does society expect, that you’ve somehow internalized? Why does it matter?
  5. When did they start NOT meeting this expectation? What was going on? When did this issue start popping up? 
  6. How can you start to shift that expectation of others into one that is more manageable, more compassionate, kinder and more reasonable for them and for you? What is ONE baby step you can take today to start changing this expectation?

Next Steps

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