I know. Even as I type it, I can imagine the side eyes I’m getting from people that will read this post. It’s true though. Not every baby is beautiful. There are lots of beautiful babies, but not all of them are.
We don’t like people to say that out loud, because we know what we’re really saying is that something someone created (from their own DNA) isn’t perfect, and that feels awkward, mean. After all, it’s a human being we’re discussing. But it’s really no different when talking about a piece of work, a product or a business.
We still feel awkward telling someone their idea doesn’t resonate with us. They put effort into it. They labored over it. They took a personal idea and brought it into the world, so we want them to feel good about it. We don’t want to tell them their baby is ugly.
Sometimes, I get paid to do just that. Entrepreneurs ask me all the time for feedback on their new idea (which isn’t always new) or their startup company (which isn’t getting past the starting line). Although I try to use tact, I’m committed to helping others by being honest about their ideas, my concerns and my thoughts on how they should proceed. Even though I may try to couch the feedback in very positive terms, sometimes I have to tell them the thing they’re most proud of – this idea they are sure will make them millions – is really a flop.
It’s true: Not every baby is beautiful. Some babies are ugly. Similarly, not every idea is incredible. Some ideas are just bad.
Here’s the good news though: some ugly babies grow up and become beautiful adults. They just need a little more time and attention.
Do you have what it takes to nurture them?