In your mind, your self respect is directly correlated to whether or not you’ve made your numbers, received that promotion or won that round of Angel investment.
Each day includes a combination of High Anxiety and Uncertainty peppered with the occasional deep dive into Self Doubt.
Last weekend I (finally) sat down with a huge stack of magazines. I like paper-printed reading material in my hand on Saturday mornings accompanied by a large pot of Peet’s® coffee.
I read an article about Amy Poehler from the March 11, 2015 issue of Fast Company. Here’s the quote that caught my eye:
I’ve listened to notes that I knew weren’t right. I’ve pitched ideas and let other people change them, knowing that it was the wrong choice. The question you have to ask yourself is: How do you want to fail? Do you want to fail in a way that feels like it respects your tastes and value system? ~ Amy Poehler
As a Business Person of Worth, your career is not a straight shot towards whatever you think is supposed to be on your horizon (usually someone else’s definition). Your true path often is circuitous. It involves avoiding obstacles and learning to identify healthier opportunities.
Along the way, you get caught up taking jobs and pursuing careers that put you in the line of fire of individuals who constantly measure, assess and compare you to others.
You chase deals involving customers who have no interest in leveraging your expertise for any other purpose than their own gain. There’s no value in that tack.
You utilize a scatter-bomb approach to pitching your startup to any investors who will give you an audience. There’s no strategy in your trajectory.
Your business model has you in a death-roll and keeps spinning you around. It was time to pivot a year ago, but you didn’t want to admit failure to anyone. (Or admit your wisdom, alternatively?)
What role does self respect serve in your actions?
When you are willing to embrace failure in a way that respects your ethics, tastes and value system, you will start to draw your personal line in the professional sand.
That’s self respect.
You will recognize and walk away from people and scenarios which drag you along with no resolution. With your view of the horizon cleared, you will be better able to identify relevant opportunities for your inherent talent, skills and intellect.
Years ago I sat across the restaurant table from a VP of Sales who offered me a sales role in a new region. After 7 years selling for this company, I sat back in my chair, looked him in the eye, and said: “I can’t continue working with your organization. Their actions compromise me morally, spiritually and ethically.”
His jaw dropped. He collected himself. He told me he respected my decision.
What he had to say to me didn’t matter at that point. I had learned to respect myself. I drew my personal line in the professional sand.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, that defining conversation heralded the birth of my Sales Aerobics for Engineers® Blog.
Self respect won’t make you or me bullet-proof to failure. Self respect will provide the framework for identifying risk and limiting the duration of our association with opportunities that are going south.
Utilize self respect as your North Star. Create your frame of reference for assessing whether there are better opportunities out there than the ones you currently are chasing and obsessing about.
Self respect is powerful. Got some?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps companies, startups and family-owned businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. She and her clients co-create Playbooks, resulting in more productive, profitable and healthy organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.