When you take a risk, there is not only yourself that you have to deal with. There are also the crowds and their largely unsubstantiated opinions. If you listen too carelessly, your internal rudder can get misdirected and your substance can become diluted.
There are indeed opinions that do count. Someone who is a raving fan, truly cares and invests emotionally is far different than the careful onlooker that slightly gets you. In a me-focused world, the discernment to differentiate and ascribe the right weighting factor to people’s opinions is important not only for sanity but effectiveness. Serve the masses and you end up in a place that could be far from what you intended in the first place. Listen to the right voices, including your own, and you may have something distinct, scarce and valuable.
It sounds paradoxical, but I think the true artist, leader or entrepreneur understands what I am talking about. You only have to weather a few episodes to see the strata of different opinions and input.
Listening to the Outer Voice
Trying to win everyone is a sure recipe for failure. Someone who doesn’t have a horse in the race is at the bottom of the opinion ladder in my mind.
However, for those that are true fans their voice does count. They are the sounding board for the experimental and daring. I find a lot of value entrusting new ideas to those that can act as advisors and constitute my audience. Having narrower communication channels that allows for interchange and dialogue is great to tap into this outer voice. Mixing this in with what your inner voice is saying has a counterbalancing effect on what gets put out in the world.
I like the people that swim upstream and build trust and credibility with substance rather than merely try and win a popularity contest. Doing business with the few rather than the many keeps your compass pointing true north on your own journey.
Ever get caught in this tension? How do you manage?