When authenticity trumps efficiency

Today is hot in Galilee, in more ways than one… and it has taught me a great lesson that I’d like to share with you.

“Sometimes”, they say, “the road to hell can be paved with good intentions…”
Such was the case this morning when a colleague of mine called to fill me in on the details of the evening event I am scheduled to attend to celebrate a local networking group. Many people are slated to attend, and my offer to provide a live music piece at some point during the ceremony was accepted, even though, I am not a part of this particular networking group.

My colleague asked if I plan to bring cds to sell. “Of course”, I answered. She said that this evening is a celebration, not a networking and sales event, so it will not be appropriate. I was suprised, and of course, I accepted. Yet when I hung up the phone, I felt an uncomfortable tug in my gut. I was counting on this large event to account for a major part of my income this week. I am going through a buisness building process and have made commitments which I need to be responsible for following through on.

I sat quietly and reflected what to do? If I go to this event, I won’t make the cd sales. Perhaps I should go to another group, which is focused upon marketing? I silently debated with the various voices, and decided to follow the voice of “responsiblity and efficiency”. I am committed to my goal, and have made commitments to others… I called back the colleague and told her the truth: I have a financial commitment to complete, I did not know there would be no cd sales, therefore, I will go to another group this evening, and come to them next week, after the celebration party, when business returns to normal. She agreed.

Then I wrote an email to the head of the group, apologizing that I will not be able to make it, and explaining my situation. I then made arrangements to attend an alternative event this evening, dedicated to networking, presentations, and sales of gifts for the holidays (here in Israel, we are at the brink of the Jewish New Year, which is equivalent to Christmas and New Years in Europe and N. America). It’s big gift giving time.

A few minutes after I arranged to travel to the center of the country to the other meeting, the head of the networking group called and said: “I know you have made your decision and that is fine. I just want to let you know that it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and changes the way I look at you.”

GULP…

I listened to him speak, at first, bracing myself for standing up for my decision. After all, I knew I was letting them down. On the other hand, if I did not follow through on my commitment to myself, then I would be letting ME down, not able to be there for anyone else, anyway… I just listened and listened.

Something inside of me shifted. Through his sharing, I realized how much he cared about me. He took the time to express his dissappointment. He took the time to say what he honestly feels. Through listening to him, I realized that I had made a mistake.

So instead of defending myself, and my decision, I shared with him my decision making process and let him in on my quandry.

As a result, I changed my mind. I ended up cancelling the other meeting, which was also embarrassing, yet I learned a big lesson… That following through on a commitment, means following through on caring.

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The results don’t neccessarily come from how the mind expects that it should. Networking, in the truest sense, is made of building relationships.

They were kind enough to include me in the ceremony. This is a great opportunity for many to hear the special music I have to give. By my showing up to celebrate, I may just find that the abundance of good, and the results might be even better than I expect.

The heat of the conversation, actually melted my heart…

How to turn heated conversations into melted hearts:
1) Listen
2) Don’t run when you want to… keep listening with an open heart
3) Be willing to be wrong… this can make things right…

What have you learned in this area for yourself?

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