A few days ago I had an opportunity to test myself. There’s a business we’ve been working on for quite some time. They appear to be an almost perfect fit our business and vice versa. After working on them for well over a year we got an opportunity to help them out. We had an appointment set for Tuesday, but due to an unexpected issue they had to re-schedule. When they reached out to let us know they asked about meeting late in the afternoon today. And that’s where my test started.
One of the reasons I love the book Essentialism is the sharing of a couple of deeply personal stories. In one the author shares the story of leaving his only hours old daughter at the hospital with his wife to attend a business meeting. The meeting doesn’t go well and he is guilt ridden over making the wrong choice.
Later in the book he shares the example of someone else who’s promised his daughter to spend the night together going out to eat and having fun with just the two of them. As luck would have he runs into some colleagues who invite him out to spend time with them that night. He starts his response by saying that sounds wonderful… but he’s already promised his daughter he would be spending the night with her and he wasn’t going to break that promise.
What a contrast, right? Which one would you like to think you would do? Which one would you actually emulate if the opportunity presented itself? As I’ve learned from past experience it’s always more difficult to live into the right answer in reality than it is in a vacuum.
Back to my conversation from Tuesday. When I got the email asking if we could meet at 3pm I paused for a second. In less than a second I had the two previous stories running through my head. I smiled, trusted the universe, and composed an email along these lines:
“Thank you for the opportunity to meet, we appreciate the chance to work with you. Unfortunately I will not be able to meet after noon on Friday as I promised my two boys I’d take them up north for youth deer hunting. Would it be possible to meet prior to noon or would next week be better? Thank you for your flexibility, I hope you can understand my need to consider a different time.”
What happened next had me smiling even bigger… Not only did I get an immediate email saying that would work, he started a conversation that”s now gone several emails long talking about hunting and life up north. We set the new time AND built a stronger relationship AND I was able to keep my commitment to my boys. How awesome is that?
I’m so grateful for learning from those two stories, they helped me choose the right path.