What My 1 Star Review Taught Me.
Updated: Apr 15
There it was below the 5 star ( glowing! ) reviews. That singular, yellow star that no business owner ever wants to see. It felt like a swift kick in the 'nads—or ovaries, in my case.
Believe it or not, I don't ask for reviews or even check online for them. Okay, there was a period where I rather timidly ( if you have the time, you don't have to if you don't want to! ) asked a few clients to post a review and share their positive experiences when we were caught up in the moment, but then I'd forget all about it.
Yeah, my lack of follow up is why I'm not in sales anymore.
On the day that I offhandedly googled myself, I was surprised and pleased to see the wonderful words of thanks and gratitude. As soon as I saw that blunt, negative one sentence review, and the date from a year prior, I knew exactly who wrote it.
I won't go into details about the session or the person who hereafter I'll identify as "they".
It started out poorly from the get go, and I should have nipped it in the bud right then and there. They got lost and were late. They didn't bring their completed intake form. They didn't know the cost or time required for the session, and, as I found out an hour into it, had basically no idea what a past life regression even was.
They had been referred to me by a former client who was friends with this person and thought that they could benefit from a session with me.
I had emailed them directions, an explanation of the session, including my fee and the aforementioned intake form. They never bothered to open the emails.
During our introductory period, they complained bitterly about their job, their relationships and how nothing was going right in their life.
I was patient. I was undertsanding. I'm a highly experienced past life therapist, and by God I was going to make this work.
But it didn't happen. There were too many negative factors, and after two hours, I finally threw in the towel and we called it quits.
I asked for a third of the fee amount. Part of me wanted to say, " Oh, no you don't owe me anything, because even though you came totally unprepared, and didn't listen or follow my instructions, I just want to end this thing now." The other part, said, "Your time is valuable, and by asking for a smaller amount, you're at least saying you deserve something !"
When I told my husband about the review, he asked why I was so hurt. "Because, it's me, my reputation, and it's out there now for the world to see!"
"Did you give it your best?," he asked.
"Yes," I responded. "I tried sooo hard to make it work, but it just didn't."
Still, there was something nagging at me; a feeling that I had left something out of the story, or didn't want to acknowledge my part in it.
I had done everything right—hadn't I?
"You've helped so many people Barb,"he continued."You've changed their lives. Why do you give a sh*t what one person thinks?"
Why did I give a sh*t? I wondered.
My husband is that person who truly doesn't give a sh*t what other's think about him.
He's an award winning filmmaker, with the work ethic of a gladiator, who makes bodily noises at will, with no apologies.
I thought about that review for a while, caught between anger ( I did my best, dammit! people love me, dammit! ) and pathetic resignation ( well, that's it, I'm giving up my practice, nobody appreciates me...boo-friggin'-hoo )
Then, I finally got it.
What I needed to learn began to slowly dawn on me— uncomfortably at first, but then it solidified into a formidable truth.
I'd made the cardinal sin of assuming.
Like my mother used to say, when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.
I was a people pleaser, and people pleasers like me tend to assume, so they can gloss over the discomfort of directness.
I'd assumed they knew what to expect, I'd assumed they understood what I was talking about. I'd assumed they were spiritually mature enough for past life exploration, just because they were referred by another client who had been.
I'd also assumed I could help them.
What I've learned most from that experience is this—
I'm not here to help everyone. That's not my job.
My job is to work with the people who are truly ready, and who truly resonate with what
I have to offer.
I'm now as direct as I can be about my capabilities, my clients' expectations, and most importantly, what's required of them to fully participate in their own healing experience.
I'm selective about who I see, and who I spend my time with.
We are ultimately on this Earth to learn and to grow.
In the big picture, that one star review was a tiddily wink.
Have I ever given a negative online review?
Sure, I've had some crappy meals, bad service and have attended pricey workshops and trainings that weren't worth the price I paid.
Maybe I'm just lazy, but I never got around to venting my disappointment on yelp or google.
Mostly, though, I figured, why ruin someone's day, when I can just chalk it up to experience and choose to never go there again?
Because you never really know how powerful those written words can be that you can't take back.
And karma can be a bitch.