Challenging Our Assumptions

Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.
– Alan Alda

Whether we mean to or not we all make assumptions from time to time.  We might assume we know what a person is thinking, believing, or how somebody might react to a certain situation.  When something is a little out of the norm our minds can easily come up with all kinds of wild ideas.  At least I know mine can! While I believe it is very important, beneficial and fun to run “what if” scenarios through threw our minds, I also think it can be downright dangerous if we are not able to recognize and regularly challenge our assumptions; especially if they involve situations in our business.

The Facebook Ad That Didn’t Work

I was on the phone talking with a business owner when all of a sudden I heard her say “Oh boy, my Facebook Ad is due again… and it doesn’t even work.”  Intrigued, I asked her to clarify what was going on with her Facebook Ad.  “I just received a bill for over $80 for Ads I am placing on Facebook” she said, “but this is just a big waste of money because I am not receiving any phone calls from this Ad.  No business at all.”

“I thought those Facebook Ads cost you money ONLY if somebody actually clicks on your ad?” I asked her.  “That’s correct” She said, “but they don’t work because nobody is calling me from my website.”  Puzzled, I asked her to send me her reports and a copy of the Ad she was using.  To my surprise, I learned that people had been clicking on her Ad… over 130 times to be exact!


The Problem is Not With Your Ad, It’s With Your Website!

What I told her next came as a shock and a surprise to her.  “You made an assumption that your Facebook Ad wasn’t working because it is not getting your phone to ring.”  She nodded in agreement.  “The problem is not with the Facebook Ad” I replied, “The problem is with your website!”

Her Facebook Ad created an image of her as a very likeable person offering a professional service with personalized friendly service.  It was warm and charming.  However, as soon as you clicked on the Ad you were directed to her website where the image of the warm friendly personalized service had vanished, and had been replaced by an image that appeared stark, cold, and very corporate.  There was no call to action telling the visitor what they should do next.  The Ad just dumped them onto the homepage in a state of visual confusion.  I was not the least bit surprised her phone hadn’t been ringing.


There Are Millions of Possibilities

Because she believed her assumption about her Facebook Ad to be true, this woman focused her time and attention in the wrong area.  In business, I see this happen all the time and it can be extremely costly.  So, how can we become aware that we are making an assumption in the first place so we can begin to challenge it?  One of my favorite methods is to say to myself “there are millions of possibilities.”

I repeat this statement over and over again whenever a situation triggers my overactive imagination, which is nothing more than running a wild assortment of assumptions through my head.  “Why haven’t they called me?”  “Are they mad?”  “Did they forget?”  “Don’t they care about my feelings?” “Did something terrible happen?” On and on it goes.

If I don’t become aware of this the thoughts in my head can easily speed out of control.  When I do catch myself, I simply repeat “There are a millions of possibilities…as to why this person might not have called.” It is at this time I start to realize assumptions are really short sided and quite stupid for me to believe in.  How do I know what is really going on?  I don’t have a crystal ball!  Until I find one I think it is best for me to leave my assumptions alone.

By being proactive at challenging my assumptions has really helped me. I find that my initial assumptions are usually completely wrong.  Challenging my assumptions has prevented me on multiple occasions from making a complete ass out of myself!  If you haven’t gained the awareness of challenging your assumptions I encourage you to try.  It can bring a peace of mind, and there are literally millions of possibilities that can happen when you do.

To your SUCCESS,

Daryl Murrow

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