We Teach Each Other

As I was falling asleep my mind raced over the events of the day.  Something that I’d say as the very first guest on Chalk Talk was poking at me.  I hadn’t meant to say it.  It just popped out, a mostly formed thought about what it means to be a Fearless Thought Leader.

Sleep was futile once the idea caught hold of my brain.  Here’s the video of  my chat with social media maven and parentpreneur, Stephanie Shaterian.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQRyhURf0WI?rel=0]

We pack a lot of fun in just 20 minutes.  Somewhere towards the middle  (11:45*) you’ll hear me laying out the steps to firing a client that sparks the idea.  After noodling into the wee hours of the morning, this is what I know -

Fearless Thought Leader Maxim

If you fire a client it’s part of your responsibility to tell the other person what behaviors caused the split and the impact on you and their work.

That’s a big a** statement that demands extra durable big girl panties.  But I stand by it.  It’s not easy to do.  It is right, however, if you’re interested in having great client relationships yourself AND improving relationships for all entrepreneurs.  Imagine what would happen if women entrepreneurs everywhere said, ‘You know what? Here’s how I roll- love it or leave it!’   And, then meant it.  How much more joy, respect and money would there be in our lives??

We teach each other

We teach other people how to treat us.  Each conversation is a mini-lesson in what works, what doesn’t and how to get along.  It’s so natural, so engrained we don’t even have to actually say the words. (Louie CK explains on Inside Comedy about this routine where he gets his girlfriend to break up with him just by sighing and looking away.)    It’s often in a tone, turn of a phrase, silence- the intangible, unconscious stuff- that communicates what we will and won’t tolerate.  It’s all sub-text and mirrors…

That’s too dicey and unreliable.  There will be misunderstandings.  Being direct (in a compassionate way) is so much easier than beating around the bush, hoping the other person will miraculously get the message.  Yes, it’s risky to be honest and explicit about what went wrong just like in most break ups.  Trouble is, unless somebody tells the truth, nobody grows from the experience.

I’d rather say something useful and sleep easier knowing I spoke my truth and did the mitzpah (good deed) of putting someone back on the path.  The whole ‘each one, teach one’ thing.  Here’s a model of what a virtual assistant might say to her challenging client.

You know what? Based on what happened with your Linkedin campaign I think you’re going to be better served by someone else.  We don’t seem to be compatible.  When you  don’t answer my emails when I have a question, it means  I can’t move further on your project so we get behind, and I have to juggle other work later to fit your needs back into my schedule, which isn’t fair to my other clients. We tried solutions, like chat, that didnt work.  It’s time for us both to move on.  This is a lot for me to say and you to hear.  I have ideas for next steps.  Would you like to talk about them now or set another date?

I consider this a kindness and something that a thought leader would do.  After all, we got into this business to serve others right?  Of course, I want to hear what you think.  Please share this discussion via the buttons below.  I’d be so grateful if you’d leave a comment.



*Watch until the end for a surprise performance!


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