“There is nothing so precious as our sense of worth” – Elizabeth Crook
In my consulting business, the end of the year is a time to renew agreements with client companies. We look at their needs for the year, where I can add most value, we consider their budget and come up with something that seems fair to both of us.
Sometimes what companies can benefit from and what they are willing to pay for are two different things.
The company that represented our largest source of income actually didn’t have a great year. Although we’d just had what they described as “the best retreat”, they asked me to submit a proposal for various options from all the bells and whistles to no bells and whistles. I did so. The bigger the engagement, the more aggressively I discounted the rates.
I was surprised when they selected the “skinniest” package. That would have been fine, but they wanted to add one more day to the skinny package and reduce the price.
Wait a minute!
I felt sure I’d talk to Ryan, the operations director, and point out that I’d over-delivered this year and that my thinking was the right way. But when we got on the phone, there was a tinge of threat in his voice, our deal or no deal.
So… I had a choice to make.
Part of me wanted to blurt out, sorry but you can’t have what you want at that price. I was triggered. I felt angry, unvalued, afraid, and uncertain. Fortunately I said, “Let me think about this”. The five magic words.
All of us get triggered; it’s part of being human. Regardless of how self-aware, how much therapy you’ve had, it happens. The goal is not to never feel triggered. The goal is to be able to recognize it and create a space to get untriggered BEFORE taking action.
The triggered part of us is a like a child. I like to say that I don’t let my child drive the car, make decisions or talk on the phone.
First – I got off the phone
Second – I had a moment of righteous indignation; a few “how dare they’s’”
Third – I took a breath or two
Fourth – I looked at the numbers, what was my real loss. I actually I would spend less time and make more money in this scenario than in the heavily discounted ones. AND since I wanted to spend more time on the Yippee Index, this was actually a good thing!
Fifth – I looked at the involvement I really wanted to have – I would be doing the kind of work with them I MOST wanted to do, not least.
Sixth – they had already sent me one very good client and hinted they would like to continue to do that in the coming year.
Seventh – Could I feel good, not resentful about working with them? The answer was ABSOLUTELY. And also Yippee!
Most of us can’t process fast when we’re triggered. That’s why finding a way to say “Let me think about that,” is a valuable tool. It lets you act in your own best interest. It allows your “adult” to make decisions, not “your child”.
Can you remember a time you were triggered?
What did you do?
If you had it to do over again, what would you do differently?
If you get triggered and act on it, do you know how to forgive yourself?
Do you know how to take a step back and ask some questions about what you want and what’s going to get you there?
Tell me what you discovered.
Next Tuesday is Christmas Day. If this is a day you celebrate, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. See you New Year’s Day.