5 stars

Seth Godin had a wonderful post on his excellent blog this week.

The two-review technique

As you work on your project (your presentation, your plan, your speech, your recipe, your…) imagine that it’s the sort of thing that could be reviewed on Amazon.

Now, write (actually write down) two different reviews:

First, a 5 star review, a review by someone who gets it, who is moved, who is eager to applaud your guts and vision.

And then, a 1 star review, an angry screed, not from the usual flyby troll, but from someone who actually experienced your work and hated it.

Okay, you’ve got two reviews, here’s the question:

Are you working to make it more likely that the 5 star reviews are more intense, more numerous and more truthful than ever, or…

Are you working to minimize the number of 1 star reviews?

Very hard to obsess about both, since they tend to happen together.

The thing is, if you work to minimize criticism, you have surrendered the beauty and greatness of what you’ve set out to build.

I shared this post with a group of friends who I’ve been working with over the past months. We’ve had many a discussion about this and Seth put it beautifully.

There were two learnings that jumped out to me as I read it  –
1. A big part of aiming to do 5 star work is accepting that there will be those who will give you 1 star. It isn’t an easy thing to do accept by any means and requires you to be able to give yourself entirely to your art… and then completely let go.

2. And, perhaps, more interestingly, I think a big part of being a 5 star person by your own values/measures of success requires you to accept that there will be 1 star reviewers. So, we ought to consider spending less time rounding ourselves out to reduce the 1 star reviews. Perfection isn’t the point. Being human and authentic is.

Thanks as always, Seth.