On Monday night last week, I was fiddling with the admin panel on the SmartDD.com site.

I’d just been reading something that looked like a good idea when I read it (ahh, the power of good sales copy…), but after I’d almost implemented it, I had a change of heart.

So I exited out of the admin panel, without (or so I thought) saving it, and I packed in for the night and went off to bed.

Imagine my horror the following morning to find that the web site software had decided to send out my partially completed email to some people.  Not everyone mind, just *some* people.  I know that because I have several test accounts and not all of them received the email.

Worse, instead of using the first name from the database, it used the name Richard.  So every email that went out was addressed to "Richard".  Maybe you received the email, maybe not.

I spent the next two days apologising to those people that were sent the email and replied back to me, I have no idea and no way of finding out who or how many people it was sent out to.

A week later, and I can smile at what happened.

There were three interesting things that came out of my mistake (it wasn’t really a mistake, but there you go, that’s life).

But before I tell you, I’d first of all like to make something clear.

*Everyone* on my mailing list has double opted in.  If you’re not sure what that entails, it means after the initial sign up, you clicked a confirmation link in the sign up email to tell me it was okay for me to send you messages.

This is in compliance with several international laws.  What I’m really trying to say is, I don’t spam anyone.  You’re on my list because you chose to join it, and you can unsubscribe easily at the bottom of this email and every email I send out.

Okay.

So I had three kinds of response from people that received the email that was never meant to go out.  And it’s a great learning point for me, so I’m sharing it with you.

It’s a mindset thing, and it’s really all about how you live your life and your attitude towards other people.

Group 1 – I was called a spammer, and had some abuse hurled at me.  It’s hurtful, because I’m not, and I always answer my emails, and I always try to help people when they ask for it.  Interestingly, the people that called me a spammer used names like "anon" etc.

Maybe they’ve been the victims of real spammers (who hasn’t) and are just tired of receiving email from anyone.  I don’t know.  These people were in the minority, and it seemed to me like they were just lashing out at anyone who came close.

Group 2 – I was politely told I’d made a mistake and that the receivers name wasn’t Richard.  These were in the majority, so hurrah for the good guys!

Group 3 – I was told about the email going out incorrectly, and also had some words of encouragement from people who’d received it.

This result I think would take most people by surprise, I may be wrong.  Clearly here, the majority of people are out to help other people.

I think these results are a small reflection of our society, wherever we live.

Most people are gracious and friendly and want to help and get along with others.  A few just aren’t that way inclined.

And here’s the thing.  Don’t you think you tend to focus more on those negative people?  Don’t you worry more about what they say and do?

I do, even though I know they should be the people I pay least attention to.

It took me several days to realise that I only had THREE people in group 1.   The other forty-odd emails I received were in the other two groups.  And yet my focus was on group 1 and my mind and had blown it up to gargantuan proportions.

Why was that?  I already know I can’t be all things to all people.  No-one can, it’s impossible.

And yet again, it’s the petty, agressive and unfriendly comments I received that occupied most of my attention.

Well, no more.  I’ve taken a concious decision to not expend any more of my mental energy in that direction.   It’s destructive.  From now on, I’m only going to focus on the positive.

Maybe you’re like me, and worry excessively about what people might think of your actions…

But like I said earlier, you can’t be all things to all people, it’s just not possible.

I’m here to help, because I strongly believe that you have to give to get.  I’ll give you any help that I’m able, all you need to do is ask.

And on that note, I’ll shortly be opening a forum where you can contact me directly and we can share ideas and experiences like the one in this message.

The forum was originally going to be for technical support for my software only, but I think it would benefit you more if it was wider in scope.

More on that soon, and also on the support desk I’m currently setting up.

Finally, the really great thing that came out of this disaster is I made new friends.

Isn’t that cool?  I had people write back to me after I’d explained what had happened offering help and advice.

That’s just so heartwarming that so many people want to help each other.  Thank you.

And really finally, I sincerely apologise if you were one of the "Richards" that received the email last week.