I got an email today from a client cancelling a service because they felt they weren’t getting value from it. And when I read it I felt the sweat on my upper lip and the sinking feeling in my stomach.
In the past when this kind of thing happened I clammed up, and went into denial mode.
If I close the email it didn’t happen- you can’t prove it did, I can’t hear you, LALALALAA, etc.
My mind started racing.
What if they’re really upset? What if they complain? What if I get in trouble? What if I get FIRED!? WHAT IF I’M FIRED AND I CAN NEVER FIND ANOTHER JOB?
All of these thoughts and about a thousand more ran through my head. Then I start swallowing because my throat is dry.
How can I hide this from everyone at work? They’ll think you’re a failure.
It’s pretty bad. The judgement is swirling around now in my head. And then, I take a deep breath. What do I know? They want to cancel at the end of the contract. OK. Send them a polite email acknowledging that you received the email, ask if there’s a reason, Breathe. One more time. OK, read the email back. Reread it. Breathe. Send.
Deal with what you know. What else can you do? Let someone else know about the email. Get their opinion. Breathe. OK. Is it really that bad? No. It’s not good, but it’s far from the end of the world. Breathe. OK. Is there still a chance you can get them to change their mind? Maybe. OK. Not so bad. Breathe. Is it necessarily your fault they’re cancelling? No, they may have found a cheaper alternative, they may be cutting costs across the board, it may be a service they’ve decided they can perform in house. It is not all about you. Breathe.
So yeah, it was a pretty shitty afternoon from one perspective and I felt like I got hit in the gut when I read the email. But I didn’t panic. I calmed myself down. I took positive action.
I took the punch, and I am still in the ring.