The older I’ve got, the simpler it’s become. When saying YES will be a complete waste of your time and/or goodwill.
How many of us think that we need to spread our net far and wide as you never know where that one hour coffee may lead to in the future? How many of us fall for the modern myth of giving something away because we will reap the rewards later? And how many of us think we should go for every opportunity that comes up because ‘someone’s got to win it’?
If that’s you then stop it. Step back and take a long hard look at WHERE your real and profitable work comes from. Think about all the people who have asked for your help in the past. Are they the ones who’ve come up trumps for you? If you’re someone who is naturally helpful and optimistic to the point of idiocy (like me) watch out for these danger signals.
- Someone keeps cancelling or not returning calls. Simple rule – 3 strikes and out. Years ago, 1 in 14 of my week’s sales appointments cancelled. Now? Don’t ask. Even people who want me to help them cancel with aplomb. Actually, make that 2 strikes. On the same principle, leave if they keep you waiting more than 15 minutes in reception with no explanation. (Every time I’ve done that I’ve felt better about myself and there has been abject grovelling. Don’t fall for it.)
- Winning a bid or delivering a short list is a long shot but you might just be in with a chance. Maybe. However, isn’t it better to use that time more judiciously (or frivolously)? Create your own scoring system of what must be in place before you’ll bid. I have and if it’s not 23 or more out of 27, I don’t. As for Invitations To Tender…what do you think?
- Your client doesn’t treat you as an equal. They need you as much as you need them – because you are great at what you do and don’t let them down. You’re in this together. It’s the same when you go for a job interview or a pitch. If they don’t respect you at the ‘courting’ stage, they never will. Don’t be a pathetic partner.
- Someone who always needs your help but they don’t ever help you. There are a lot of princesses in the world (male and female). Don’t kiss them because they’ll turn into a frog. Get to know the signs: A huge ask up front when you don’t know them; complete and utter lack of interest in you (or anyone else); a heightened sense of drama about themselves and a jaw-dropping expectation that you will do your professional work for them for free. Get out the frog repellent and back away.
Many of you will say that the world doesn’t work like that. You can’t afford to be high-handed. Is it being high-handed? Well, perhaps a little bit, but it’s really about self-esteem and personal standards and it’s making sure that you use your time to the best effect. Don’t fall for ‘the universe will provide’. It won’t. You will.
Find those people who are as generous and as courteous as you. Create real relationships with them over time and see what a virtuous circle it becomes. If you don’t think that’s possible, well there’s 180 of us here at http://www.interimity.com who believe that it is ….and are working damn hard to prove it.