As some of you know my business logo is a starfish based on the story of the little boy rescuing starfish who had washed up on the beach one by one. Click Here to read entire story. That applied to how I wanted to run my business. Focused on each individual client and the impact we could make with them and hoping that by making their world a better place they would then continue that movement ultimately created a better world that we live in.
Recently I was referred to a client who had the potential to meet our company’s financial goal for the quarter just with one contract. For client confidentiality we will not divulge who the client is but it was the largest company and referral that our consulting firm had ever received and had the potential to continue to provide a financial impact that would launch our business to an entire new level IF I did a great job. That is what we pride ourselves on for each of our clients and have amazing testimonials on the change that A Better Place Consulting has had for large companies all the way to individual owners but with a company and a need this large it was a whole new ask. I was the consultant paired with the client for the initial meeting and after asking some basic questions and discussing expectations I realized that I was no longer helping small starfish safely return to the professional ocean they had washed up from. I had come face to face with what as a surfer girl growing up was what my nightmares were made of. A Better Place Consulting had it’s first encounter with a Great White Shark. What I mean by that is that this client was so unwilling to realize that he was up on that beach, starving for air that I could not lead him back to the ocean before him and his business were destroyed in the normal means that we do for most of our clients.
Normally when we get that phone call from a client it is because they see the beach they are on and the ocean where they want to be and just need some support to get there. But this “shark” was so turned around he could no longer see the ocean and was thrashing and biting at anyone who attempted to turn him around.
I had two choices, walk away and continue with the thousands of starfish that were left on the beach that were waiting for my support, and allow this shark to destroy everything he had built and the company and team he was in charge of, or sit down with the shark, be careful not to get bit and begin to support this major client in his turn back towards the ocean, safety, and success. He had a lot of others try to pick him up and turn him back, which had not worked and I was aware of that going into it. I also knew I was not capable of forcing this shark back to the ocean and even if I did that he would end up beached again in no time which would be damaging to ABP’s reputation. This would take longer as I needed to sit and learn about the shark in a world where I had primarily helped starfish. So I did. And we are a month in and by no means back to the ocean BUT our shark has slowly stopped fighting and started to turn and now has a beautiful view of that ocean that he did not even realize that he wanted not only for his company but for himself. It takes a strong person to support a starfish, it takes a patient person to support a shark. In business and life you will encounter both. And with the proper mindset and focus, you will excel at both.
Often times in life, that struggle can he the hardest part of change. Taking the opportunity to stop, realize that you are not going the way you want to or that your business is not going in the direction that you want, begin to change direction and find that view that you never want to take your eyes off of.
Whether you are a starfish or a shark, find your ocean. Go towards it. And in the words of a very smart fish “Just Keep Swimming”.
Bunny Sumner Young enjoys sharing insights into professional experiences and personal encounters to support change, empower leaders, and create a positive outlook in our world. She provides professional speaking for conferences, workshops, motivational seminars, and classes. Visit the Contact Page to request a list of current speaking topics and selections.