optimism bias. business coaching

People make comments about my Pollyanna attitude, and I do have to say it is a quality that I really do like about myself. Being negative just doesn’t feel good at all, to me. And I feel it helps m shift other people to a better place, yet there are many times when my optimism bias lets me down. Hard.

Family outings have always been a strong case in point. In my head they are always going to be a joyous kumbaya kind of experience, and inevitably, with three children the same age (at least for half the year), it usually ends up in sniping, arguing and griping, with me yelling some sort of version of “Don’t you make me stop this car!”

But of course, it extends further than my personal family experiences and I would say my biggest business disappointment was a direct result of this optimism bias.

I was going to launch my first online course and it was, naturally, going to be amazing!

My whole purpose is to inspire people and help them take the steps I know they can make, so they can achieve their purpose and reach their goals. This course was going to help me deliver that to even more people. And wouldn’t that make the world just that much better?!

Everything was in place:

  • Great material to inspire people and bring confidence, in an easy step-by-step process (hadn’t I been doing that for years with my clients? It was PROVEN to work!)
  • Had a mailing list (small, but people will be motivated to share it just like I do with their stuff. Perfect!)
  • Social media strategy ready to go (simply follow Guy Kawasaki’s strategy – four posts a day – can’t go wrong following the master!)
  • Shot awesome high end videos (and I know my stuff! Almost 20 years of experience in video production was now going to finally for me not just my clients!)
  • I have an amazing network of people (and obviously they are going to be so happy to recommend me because they KNOW me and what I can do! I had helped so many of them before and they’re going to LOVE doing the same for me!)
  • Called in favours from friends to fill the gaps where I didn’t have the know-how (now I had the expertise, what could go wrong?!)
  • Facebook ads would get the message out to people outside my network (one webinar under my belt  and I was armed with everything I needed to know to reach exactly the right people!  Easy peasy!)

Like me now, you’re probably shaking your head and laughing inwardly while silently agreeing that Pollyanna is a pretty good descriptor of me.

As a business coach, I know how important it is to consider all options, and set realistic expectations. I coach people how to improve business from a variety of different angles and a big part of my job is to reign them in and help them figure out the contingency plan, or point out where the strategy needs to be strengthened. I’ve coached a lot on not relying on other people to market your business. But when I’m working for myself it sure is hard to do it on my own. And in this case, the lack of that check in made for a disastrous and very disappointing launch.

The first let down came creating the new website. It didn’t even dawn on me that the way I handle my promises and commitments is not the way everyone else handles them. Deadlines were missed from the get go and panic on my part ensued. There were many tears and a lot of frustration, but we managed to recover and get the site up, albeit a little later than planned. But that was okay. All things for a reason, right? The universe would help me launch this exactly at the right time.

More air slowly leaked out of my balloon, when my network wasn’t sharing my stuff. A few close friends did. Pretty much everybody else didn’t. My email list, which hadn’t been really active remained inactive, which shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. The Facebook ads got some attention (the videos were pretty good afterall) but not a single sign up. And the result of my social media plan (which a friend was kind enough relay) pissed off my network because they had been “blasted” with it.

I learned so much from because it impacted me in so many ways. I would sure do it differently now.

And hey, I literally just saw a Facebook ad in my feed on “Why most new online courses flop.” The universe is talking…that’s gotta be the ticket!! 😉


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