“We are all serving a life sentence, and good behavior is our only hope for a pardon.” ~Douglas Horton

Point!Aren’t you tired of the relentless whimpering you hear in social media from people? You know the sob story: “Big bad Facebook/Google/PayPal banned me! All I did was violate their selfish, ridiculous rules that stand in the way of my God given right to do whatever pleases me.”

Yeah, yeah, you are the scrappy entrepreneur and they are the evil overlords. We get it.

Why Won’t PayPal Just Love Me?

I got smacked once by PayPal about 14 years ago. I honestly don’t remember what I did. I do remember that whatever it was, I did it innocently and in ignorance. When I went to them tissue in hand with a picture of my starving children, they just said, “You did X. We don’t allow X.”

The thing is, I had done X.

At this point I could have launched into how silly it is to disallow X. I could have argued how in my case X shouldn’t be a problem for them. I could have shouted that I was going to eviscerate them in every chat room I could find for their overreaching ways.

Fortunately it took me all of a split second to recognize where any of those arguments would get me. Instead, I tried out something else: humility.

That’s right, I admitted that I was ignorant of their rules. I resolved before them to study their requirements carefully. I pledged to never, ever violate their rules again, and especially not the particular one in question.

The result? They turned my account back on immediately.

Your Anecdotal Evidence Vs. Reality: The Cage Match

I know, I know, your cousin begged for forgiveness and they cut his heart out. Your brother-in-law wasn’t even allowed to have a conversation with them about it. Your neighbor said they didn’t even correspond with him, they just tossed him to the wolves.

But I will bet there is context there that matters. Like it wasn’t their first offense. Like they argued and cajoled. Like they did not take responsibility for their actions.

When Twitter or the Apple Store or Authorize.net gives you a time out, you have to ask yourself a question: What is my role in this? And what does this service provider want? Remember, they have an agenda of their own, usually one that is quite transparent and well documented. You have to get out of your own little world for a hot second and consider the other person.

Treat the Overlord Like a Human Being

Yes, LinkedIn/Yahoo/Youtube is a person, at least so far as this conversation goes. They have interests of their own. Many of these services that we are ticking off are offering whatever it is that they do for free. For crying out loud, when somebody hands you something at no cost you don’t get to dictate terms. Usually we are not their “market”. Their market is the people who pay them. So we have to get clear that we must serve both the service provider and their market if we want to be the recipients of their largesse.

“Own your own behavior.” click to tweet

I am constantly amazed when I see bright, successful people gripe in public that some big outfit did them so very wrong. Half the time after only hearing their very biased side of the story I still find myself siding with the Goliath in this David & Goliath story. Let it go, folks. Make it right with them if you can. When you make it more important to be right than to get along, you are the one who suffers. I am pretty sure no one at Facebook is losing sleep over your lost business.

Where have you kissed and made up with the overlords? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Photo credit: a2gemma

How to Own Your Own Behavior
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