Google Local, too. No kidding.
A friend of mine brought it to my attention a few weeks ago, as delicately as she could: “You have a Yelp problem.”
It took a moment for it to click. I hadn’t even remembered that I was on Yelp, so the concept of having a problem with Yelp was a bit of a puzzle. It turns out it was one of those things my web designer encouraged me to do a few years back when she built my site.
I hadn’t even thought about it since.
I tracked down my page on the site and saw what my friend had spotted: A seriously unflattering review. About me. On the internet.
I won’t lie. I was upset. I had a lot of reactions. For one, it seems like someone really doesn’t like me. (I should mention now that I have no idea who wrote this, and I’m not interested in guessing).
I worried, too, about the consequences: Will people be afraid to call me for therapy? Will my current patients spot this and begin to wonder about their choice to work with me? Would colleagues see the reviews and lose respect for me?
“We have to move quickly on this,” my friend warned, interrupting my panic to urge an aggressive campaign to encourage more people, presumably those who’ve had a very positive experience with me, to go onto Yelp and Google Local and add reviews that would balance out the negative one. It turns out there are a number of companies who do this for you (presumably by posting made-up reviews). It’s a sort of disaster-recover plan for small businesses.
I took some time to think.
Getting over myself
People have been ragging on one another since the stone age, I’m certain. What’s changed is that there’s now more access than ever to places where that ragging (and some raving) can happen, and be found by a lot more people.
Once my bruised ego began to heal, I got some perspective on the situation. For one, I reminded myself that I do good work. While I can be prone to as much doubt as anyone, I’m pretty confident about that. At the same time, I’m not so foolish as to think that everyone I’ve worked with likes me or has gotten the help they’ve needed from me. I’m into growth, and that involves being open to hearing about ways I’ve fallen short, and recognizing that doing hard work involves a fair amount of failure.
Would I have preferred to hear about this particular failure differently? Of course. But being reminded that I can fail, even if it is in a more public way than I’d like, simply isn’t a disaster.
In fact, it’s worth celebrating!
Failure is one of those hot topics in my therapy practice. I’ve often said that if you’re not failing, you’re probably not challenging yourself enough.
I in no way mean to make light of my failure with whomever posted the bad review. Because this person (if in fact it was someone I’ve worked with) hasn’t talked directly to me about it, I don’t have much chance to make amends. Failure can really sting, and can come with very real consequences. It is that sense of failure, the big whopper of a failure, that I mean to celebrate. Not because I don’t wish I hadn’t failed–I’m not proposing we should set out to fail, of course–but because even the seriously big, seriously messy failures are worth celebrating. Perhaps those especially.
And maybe doing that in a very public way is the best way to do it.
So, here’s what I’ve decided to do about my Yelp problem: I’m going to tell everyone I know. Right here on my blog. And I’m going to post it on Facebook, and Twitter and LinkedIn. Why? Because if I’m going to advocate doing big things that carry a decent risk of failure, and encourage people around me to celebrate those failures, I need to put my money where my mouth is.
Feel free to tell your friends.