One of the rules of thumb I use to judge the quality of my work is how much interacting with community members feels like interacting with friends. This is especially evident in how you handle disappointing people.
If I have to let my community down (which at some point will be inevitable), it should feel like I’m having to disappoint people who know me, put their trust in me, and who expect better. Uncomfortable? Absolutely. But the discomfort far outweighs the value. By the same token, if I do a gut check, and it doesn’t feel pretty much synonymous, that’s a sign that I need to reorient my approach. Time to reassess.
The irony of course, is using a more emotionally difficult feeling as a rule of thumb for something positive. It’s something you find a lot when you work with communities – embracing difficult moments with your members is one of your greatest strengths. It ultimately put you on the path for a deeper, happier connection with them.