Therein Lies the Rub
(One of the 83 quick and practical life & work lessons from Sh*t Sandwich: Quick & Practical Success Lessons for Practically Anyone.)
You Can’t Control What You Get Out
So, you tried being “nice” for a couple days based on the last lesson and “it didn’t work.”
Ugh, of course “it didn’t work,” because you were expecting your life to change overnight just because you started halfheartedly saying “please” and “thank you.” Perhaps you should reread that lesson and try again – for the long term – and expect nothing in return but the satisfaction of being a more courteous and respectful person.
You can’t control what you get out, only what you put in.
As you embark on this journey of personal and business success, remember that axiom; and work to put in way more than you expect to get out.
Not sure what I mean? Then, try this: answer business emails and voicemails quickly – especially when it’s just someone trying to sell you something. I never could understand one of my peers who seemed afraid to return calls to pushy salespeople. He’s also one of my best friends, but he has a reputation in his industry of being a complete ass. People truly do hate the guy because he almost never returns phone calls or voicemails. They assume he is an elitist. I think he just doesn’t like to deliver bad news, so he puts off making unpleasant calls where he will have to say “no” to someone.
He’s also looked upon as someone who is unreliable, because he will occasionally promise to deliver something only to seemingly disappear off the face of the earth for weeks at a time. Again, this is probably because he doesn’t want to deliver bad news; so he just drops this unpleasantness from his schedule and goes on with his day. Of course, this further buries his reputation and hurts his company. No one wants to cut him a deal, including me, because we’ve all been burned too many times by his non-responsiveness.
There is a reason that I am absolutely loved by (other people’s) receptionists, administrative assistants and rank-and-file employees: I am quick to respond and overly courteous. I go out of my way to add “thank you” and “you’re welcome” to my daily vocabulary – especially when dealing with entry-level employees. I smile (when I remember to) and I always look these hardworking folks in the eye when I address them. I am genuinely happy to do what I can for them.
Returning a call or an email to a pushy salesman to let him know that you’re not interested literally takes less than a minute. And, as I’ve discovered over the years, spending that minute now saves you an hour later – when you no longer have to absorb and delete messages from that salesman. Moreover, extending courtesy to someone else’s administrative assistant takes even less time and reaps even greater rewards.
Treating others with respect may not always get you more than you put in, but it will always get you more than the opposite behavior.