How will you react when you’re let down?


RE: WP Engine & iThemes

The other day an excellent comparison of hosting providers was published. In it, my current hosting provider – WP Engine – scored less well than it might have in the past. It scored less well than others. In the end, it didn't shine as bright as I am sure they wanted to, or as much as I had hoped they would have.

A couple of days ago my friends at iThemes released a big update to a security plugin. While it was improved in many ways, there were a few bugs that caused some negative reviews. It scored less well than it had in the past.

This raises a question – but not a question for them.

The question it raises has nothing to do with WP Engine and how they'll face their growing pain. It has nothing to do with iThemes and how they'll navigate the next update or release of any of their plugins.

No, the question is for me. And, I think, for you.

I remember when John Grisham, of The Firm, A Time to Kill and Pelican Brief fame, published a non-mystery. For a brief moment I considered hating him. I mean, you wait a year or two for a good legal thriller and end up with a Christmas book (Skipping Christmas).

And you can guess the result, right?

It scored less well than others in his past. It scored less well than other books published at the same time. And it didn't shine as bright as the publishers hoped for (they called it a modern A Christmas Carol).

Guess what?

We all try things. We all work at stuff that doesn't come out perfectly. And even though we want everything to work out better than ever before, it doesn't always do that.

Right now WP Engine is working to get better.
Right now iThemes is working to get better.
Right now (I hope), Grisham is working on another legal thriller.

But this isn't about them. There are no questions for them that aren't predictable:

  1. Did you want to deliver anything less than excellence? No.
  2. Are you working hard to delight current and future customers? Yes.
  3. Do you care that we want the best from you? Absolutely.

See, those questions are boring. Because they're predictable.

No, the real question isn't about them. It's a question for me. And for you.

What will you do, and how will you react, when something disappoints you?

I know you'll tell me it's different – that my comparison of a $5 book, an $80 plugin, and hosting that can cost you $99/month isn't useful.

But that's because you're looking in the wrong direction. You're looking at them.

And right now I'm asking myself (and maybe you), to look into the mirror and look at ourselves.

How will we react when we're disappointed? How do we interact with anything less than perfect?

  • Do we go looking to switch? To change?
  • To shift over to something else that is better? Cheaper? Faster?
  • Do we write angry notes or scathing blog posts?
  • Do we speak negatively in a way that hurts others?

Or do we embrace the reality that we can all acknowledge from our own stories?

We're all far from perfect

No one and nothing can be put on that scale for evaluation. That in the end, we would rather be known for grace.

I don't know about you, but I know something about me. I know I've been the recipient of countless amounts of grace from others who weren't exacting in their evaluation of my performance.

And I know that I'm a parent raising two children who need to learn that I value grace more than perfection.

So when they watch me, and they always are, I choose grace.

Grace with my hosting provider.
Grace with plugin providers.
Grace with my favorite authors.

And grace with you. I choose grace.
And I hope you will too.