By Steven G. Mehta

Mediators often feel like they have to please everyone.  I don’t think this is true.  I used to agonize over a decision after the fact fearing that I may not have pleased everyone with the actions in a difficult mediation.  But I soon came to realize that you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.  No matter what, mediation involves tension, and tense times.  People in tense times often may not see your efforts for what they are worth.  They may not be happy with the outcome.

This doesn’t mean that it is you — the mediator.  The parties come to the mediation train with a lot of baggage.  Their unhappiness is not necessarily a reflection on the mediator.  This is not to say that the mediator shouldn’t reflect on his or her own actions to make sure that something they did didn’t cause the ire. But in most occasions, the party’s anger or disappointment is not with you, but instead with the situation that they face.

In that light, I saw some mottos about pleasing everyone and continuing the work that matters.

A motto for those doing work that matters:

The math here is simple. As soon as you work hard to please everyone, you have no choice but to sand off the edges, pleasing some people less in order to please others a bit more. And it drives you crazy at the same time.

To see more mottos, see Seth Godin’s blog.