Here I am at 30,000 feet…… again. Headed to Kentucky for my first vacation in a year. Kentucky? Vacation? The two don’t quite mix, but if you go back and read my last post, you’ll know why. Horses. Lots of horses for sale. Yes, I could buy a horse in California. Yes, I could even find a Rocky Mountain Gaited horse (Lexs’ breed and the breed we seek,) but we just needed to get away. So here I am on Frontier Airlines, (the choices to Louisville are limited.) Not my first choice of travel. Their slogan is “Frontier, a whole different animal,” which is curious at best. So far, my experience is so frills free and makes you quickly feel that someone with a chicken in a cage may sit next to you, that I came up with a new slogan for them: “Frontier, covered wagons, now this.” I firmly believe that an onboard cholera epidemic is starting in one of the exit rows.
Why so sarcastic this week? Obviously, it’s all about me! You see, budget travel just screams in your face: ” it’s NOT about you, we’ll get you there dammit, but it’s not about you!” Thus, my blog topic for this week, ‘It’s Not About You.’
Now, I’m not talking about your big breakup when your partner said “it’s not you, it’s me. You’re great.” In fact, that was about you, because well, you weren’t so great. I’m talking about business primarily, but there is a definite takeaway for life.
When Ari Emmanuel dumped Mel Gibson soon after the Endeavor/William Morris merger, it wasn’t about Mel’s douchey anti-semetic rants. It was about the negative publicity effect that his antics would have on the new WME brand and the comfort of other big stars repped there. Those who were just more important than Mel. It wasn’t a moral or ethical decision, it was hard business and in the end, it wasn’t about Mel, it was good for Ari.
While we’re on Emmanuels, let’s look at Rahm for a second. When he was getting knocked off the Chicago mayoral ballot as a non resident because of working in Washington for Obama, he didn’t take it personally. He knew it wasn’t about him. It was about the other candidates doing their best to secure a job for themselves.
Thus my thesis. Don’t take it personally. When I started my first agency years ago, I had left an old school Beverly Hills agency followed by many of the agency’s clients. Long story short, they sued me. I thought I had things pretty well covered but they kept looking until they found a minor issue that was actionable. At first I was incensed and depressed that they would come after ME so hard. Then I remembered the words of a good friend who had been in business for many years. He gave me the best advice of my career. When you get sued “and you will” (he called it) don’t take it personally, it’s just business.
I took his advice to heart and made it through the ordeal. Turns out that once I was able to step back from it, I found they were a lot more emotionally attached to the situation than I was. That allowed me to make well thought out decisions about how to proceed at each step, while they made emotional mistake after emotional mistake. I realized early on that it wasn’t about me, it was about that I hurt their feelings. Eventually, it wore them down and I did very well in the settlement.
The lesson here is: how do you feel about rejection? When you don’t get a job you were hoping for that your friend was directing or people are getting upset at you because your department is over budget, remember that those things are never about you. It’s about the other person’s fear about how any situation affects or reflects on them. It’s about their personal criteria and prejudices that lead to decisions that will propel THEM forward. It can be about personal history for sure, but on a primal level we are wired for self preservation. Conversely, When they do bring you along on a job, that’s about them also and what you can do for them. That’s why when people do heroic things that aren’t about themselves it’s such big news.
We all do it. No one is above it. We all make the majority of our decisions based on the outcome for US. For instance, I’ll never fly Frontier Airlines again. Why? It’s not that they’re a bad airline, they just didn’t meet my criteria for comfort, and when I look out the window I don’t want to see wings that are made of wood and canvas.
When I take on a client or not, the main consideration is if I feel I can sell them. If I misjudge this it could turn uncomfortable later if I am not having success, or should I say I get uncomfortable as the situation becomes more tense. See, me, me, me!
If you really look at it closely, you’ll begin to see these patterns everywhere. I’m often asked, what the key to negotiating is. My answer is this: whomever speaks more loses. For the simple fact that the more people speak, the more they reveal their personal agenda. What it is about the deal that is about them. Left to speak long enough, people will tell you all about their Mom, their dog, their strategy, or lack thereof. As an agent, I wait in silence for the cues they will give me. More often than not I will get everything I want by them offering it without any prodding at all. I’m not silent in a creepy way, I do a lot of “uh hus” and “I sees.”. People just love to talk about themselves and I let them do it. In the course of things I get a deal done.
See? That whole last paragraph was about me and my philosophy. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the way we are wired, although the world would be a happier place if we were wired to think of others first. I’m just saying you can save yourself a lot of wear and tear if you notice that in almost every situation, people are most driven by the outcome for themselves and underneath it all it’s rarely about money, and almost never about you. Capiche?