It is not always easy to live a joyful life. Sometimes, life or people get in the way. Divorce. The death of a spouse. An illness. A setback of any kind can do you in -- at least, temporarily. And it's not just the big things that can threaten to take you down. More often than not, it's the little things. Maybe a dead battery in your car, your computer crashes, bad news in the mail.
You deal with it the best way you know how at the time, and it feels great when you notice, "Hey, I'm over that now."
I cannot count how many times that's happened to me. It just happened to me yesterday. A business coach called, wanting to discuss what she can do for me. By the end of our conversation, she literally said to me, "I don't think you're ready yet."
What she meant, or at least how I'm translating this was, You're not ready to pay me.
And she was right about that. I'm not. I'm actually working with a coach right now, someone who would not think to insult a potential client like that. And I'm certainly not going to pay someone who applies that kind of tactic on me to get business. I could tell it was a tactic by her next line: "I'll call you next week to see where you're at then." Oh really? Will I be ready then? That's what I was thinking at that point. And she went on -- too late -- to try to schmooze me.
How are you supposed to respond to a comment like that? I asked her, "What do you mean I'm not ready?" She replied something to the effect that I need to be willing to apply time and attention to the big picture. Was she kidding? Was she implying that I wasn't giving my own career enough thought? And she would know this how? She's not marketing my business, sending out the pitches, researching the ideas, reworking pitches that don't work, investigating new markets, contacting potential speaking venues, planning future workshops, meeting with designers about a new logo, vetting potential publishers for the new book, studying markets for the next assignment, following up on invoices, joining associations, volunteering for organizations, and on and on till I'm fretting over what's not working and reassessing everything to determine what does -- all of which is part of my big picture.
After that comment, she totally lost me. I mean, what had I just been telling her? I had shared my goals with her. I've written about them here several times. She gave me input that I already knew and had done. And yet, here she is, telling me I'm not applying time and attention to the process. And she was assessing this based on what? I think she could tell I wasn't willing to hire her on the spot; therefore, her response was to suggest I'm not ready.
When I finally got her off the phone, I called a friend to vent.
I told my friend that this woman (who she's aware of) spent so much time on the phone talking about herself and what she did with another client that I couldn't really get a word in edgewise. She kept talking over my attempt to question anything. I wrote down in my notebook the following word: LISTEN. In all caps. That's right. She wasn't listening. If someone wants to learn about you and your business and how they might be able to help, they need to listen. Instead, I just heard this woman spewing on about her work. I could tell she had no idea what I do or what my background is because the detail she was feeding me was stuff I'm aware of already. It was information I'd already determined for myself. It was information I've learned from my own associations and research and resourcefulness. Bored with her talk, I started to scroll through my emails.
As I've mentioned here, I am in the midst of re-branding. I've been working on the process on my own, and with someone I trust. It's exactly where I need to be right now. So why would I want to be ready to work with someone who has doesn't know me and yet is so quick to judge. At best, it's disconcerting. At worst, it's insulting.
Instead of waiting for her follow-up next week, I decided to let her know right away that we wouldn't make a good match. There's no need to follow up with that. It's best to move on. Maintaining joy in life also means you consciously decide to include people who support you in your efforts, and to get rid of the naysayers.
Now, tell me about a time someone underestimated or insulted you. How did you bounce back?