I was helping a friend and her team with a seminar.
There was a sell at the end but no hard sell. We only spoke to people if they wanted to be spoken to. We were selling a programme that would show customers how to establish themselves in a business that my friend is expert in.
The programme we were selling is genuinely great and definitely has the very real potential to be life-changing (for the better :-D).
But darling you don’t understand…
We made some good sales but there were an irritatingly high number of people who had given decision making authority over themselves to another.
They had given their bed partner a veto over their life choices.
Now, I am aware that saying “the wife/husband isn’t up for it” could just be an excuse. But remember, we were not selling. We only engaged them if they approached us.
So I suspect the bed partner is often the problem.
Listen. Life’s quite hard enough without handing a veto to your lover.
(Just a word of caution here – if you are thinking of selling the house and putting the proceeds on Baseless Optimism in the 4-30 race at Redcar do not use this blog as your justification. You are, in fact, nuts and I am surprised you have a bed partner.)
Last year I worked with three businesses that were partnerships. Each had between three and five partners. All the partners had equal stature within the business and decision making was based on unanimity – all had to agree or nothing was agreed.
Each of these organisations was fond of telling me that their partnership was like a marriage. Yes. In two of the cases they got on like a house on fire – stuck inside together slowly suffocating.
They had effectively given the veto on all planning and progress to any partner who chose to use it. This means that the rate of progress is determined by the most cautious, the most risk averse, the most frightened and the most meek.
In sickness and health…
Where did this approach take them?
It took them to frustration. And bitterness. And bad behaviour. Yup – bad behaviour. And they’re grown-ups.
Now these people had been “married” for some time.
Yet, I saw the beginnings of this on Friday, in younger people.
I saw individuals who had taken the initiative to come to an event, to stay to the end, to be sufficiently interested in the programme we were selling to approach us, and then to bail out after a call to the bed partner. (Damn those mobile phones.)
You looking at me..?
One of the big issues in psychology that determines how happy someone will be is how assertive they are. The passive, passive aggressive and the aggressive cannot be happy. They’re finished. Game over.
Only the assertive can be happy.
Now being assertive is not about being a tough cookie or bombastic.
Being assertive is about sticking up for yourself and happily backing down in the face of a superior argument. But if no such argument exists, sticking to your guns.
If that’s OK with you…
I saw plenty of assertiveness on Friday. But I also saw plenty of people who had handed the veto to another. This is being passive. And passive loses. Eight days a week.
We all have, or should have, others we need to bring with us. But bring them with you through assertion, not through “settling” or “meeting half-way” or “avoiding conflict”. That’s passive.
The phrase be yourself has become undervalued through casual use.
There are two key words within it –