29 – January 29
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”—Mark Twain
A bright, talented attorney in my workshop was having a terrible time. John had been hired by a client who was giving him many headaches. Nothing was ever good enough, fast enough, or cheap enough. He told the story in great detail one class session, looking for ideas and creative help from the group on how he could turn around this situation.
As he started describing the details of the interaction with this terrible client, I drew a red flag on the white board. He continued his impassioned, anxious narrative. I drew some waves under the red flag. He described the next problem. I drew a shark fin amongst the waves. He went on. I drew “Doo-doo-doo-doo” under the waves. He kept going. Then the whole class, as one voice, started singing the theme music from Jaws. He burst out laughing. He said, “Okay, I get it. He’s a shark, he’s not a dolphin, and there isn’t anything I can do with him but send him on his way.”
The class cheered.
Do you want to work and not get paid? Or not work and not get paid? You don’t have to work for the crazy client or the rage-aholic boss. Who told you that you had to make the best of a bad situation? Get out! Go swimming in a different ocean with better fish. You don’t have to put up with bad behavior from anyone. You don’t have to pay any more dues.
“All my dues are paid in full.”
“Hi! Welcome to our networking group,” I said to the guest, a tall gentleman in a business suit who had introduced himself as a financial planner. “I’m glad you could join us this morning.”
“Thank you,” he replied with a smile.
He should have stopped there. Instead, he said, “I’m glad they had a breakfast to attend instead of those dinners—they are way too expensive!”
I was thinking to myself, wow, he’s a financial planner and he thinks the dinner is too expensive? I said, “Well, yes, the dinners aren’t cheap, but it doesn’t matter—think of all the business leads you will get. That more than makes up for the price of the dinner…”
He was shaking his head before I finished speaking. He wasn’t having any of it.
“They’re marking up the price of the dinner a lot and they must be making a fortune. I don’t want to be contributing to the profit of the organization!”
Okay, let’s add this up. He’s either worried about money (Tuna) or doesn’t want to spend any (Shark), and he doesn’t want anyone else to make a profit from his payment (Shark). This man was off my referral list in a heartbeat. I want to work with people who are happy to pay premium prices for good value, and happy that other people are making a good living around him.
Some of you may read this story and think, “What a great money manager! He’s careful with his money and I’d like someone like that working with me.” But I operate from a different premise: I want everyone around me to spend money with joy, happily blessing others with their contribution, and receiving the valuable service or product they paid for with equal blessing. It’s called sharing. Any other attitude comes from a belief that money is scarce and fear there won’t be enough. This man’s attitude told me that, if we did business together, he would be looking out for himself first above all, and me second if at all. That doesn’t make me feel comfortable about giving him my money to manage—how about you?
Wouldn’t you like your clients to pay you happily, with praise for a job well-done, rather than pay begrudgingly or complaining that it cost too much or wasn’t good enough? Then do the same in your own life. Pay for every product or service with joy and praise—or don’t buy it. Pay the light bill with appreciation for Thomas Edison and the electric company that keeps your lights and computer working. Pay for gasoline with gratitude that there are people in the world whose job it is to make available the stuff that makes your car go. Bless every dollar out as much as you bless every dollar in. The money goes out anyway—why not send it out joyfully instead of resentfully?
Dolphins are fond of tithing, donating to charity, and contributing to those in need. That is great. But they also know that every dollar you spend is a blessing to someone and a contribution to people who are working, providing some product or service to make your life better and easier. Buy a piece of jewelry or a painting or a hand-knit scarf at a crafts fair and see how the seller lights up. They are just as happy to make a sale as you are. It’s a contribution! Yes, yes, keep within your budget, but then enjoy every dollar you spend. You will increase the flow of money into your own life when you do.
Sharks can afford to pay you, but they don’t want to. Sharks want to rip you off. I once knew a businessman who never felt a negotiation had gone well unless the other party to the transaction was hurting. You know you’ve been with a Shark when your bank account is empty and you are in pain, hurt, abused, embarrassed, unhappy, or destitute.