Everyone vs. The Complainers

I had a bad pool experience this weekend.

My house was on lock down due to a baby shower, so my three older boys and I headed to our neighborhood pool for a few fun hours of sun and swimming.

Unfortunately the lifeguard had other plans.

This lady was a lifeguard’s lifeguard. Her whistle could be heard from the parking lot. She knew all of the rules and even gave herself the authority to make some up.

I watched from my pool chair perch as she circled the pool making sure splashing, jumping, and movement were kept to a minimum.

In one of these laps, she asked my son and his friend to stop throwing a pool football because there were too many people around. I stepped in.

“Excuse me, ma’am?” I was being polite.

She turned around and looked at me.

“You are a great life guard. You do a wonderful job keeping an eye on what is going on.”

“Thank you,” she said.

“It’s just that, these kids have been throwing their ball for about half an hour. When they started, they made sure no one was around. And now, it seems, people are gathering in this area. They have not hit anyone. Would you mind if they kept playing? I will keep an eye on them?”

“It’s my job to make the pool is fun for everyone,” she replied. “Just make sure they do not hit anyone.

“Oh, no doubt. I will keep them under control. Thank you again for the work that you do.” She did not return my smile and walked away.

Perhaps she had not had her lifeguard authority challenged like this before. I decided it didn’t matter. Instead, my mind was stuck on the comment she made in her defense.

“It’s my job to make the pool is fun for everyone.”

You have no doubt heard this said before. Is it possible? Can you make something fun for everyone? Can you make something appeal to everyone?

Too often we live our lives and run our businesses with this mindset. If we are honest we would say this.

“I am trying to make my life easier my keeping the complainers happy.”

This is as honest a statement as it is a misguided strategy.

In this case the lifeguard spent 95% over her time to keep 5% of the people at the pool from complaining. The problem is the return she got was 95% of the pool-goers were becoming annoyed with her constant whistle blowing.

How often do you do this? How often do you wasted an incredible amount of energy keeping a small group of people happy?

What if you focused on the larger, easier to please group? You would spend less time and have greater rewards.

Don’t cater to the complainers in your life. They will only demand more of your time. Instead, take care of the people who add value to your life by adding value to their lives in return.