That applied to how I wanted to run my business. Focus 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 and make the world a better place.
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. It was the largest company and referral that our 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.
I was the consultant paired with the client for the initial meeting. After asking some basic questions and discussing expectations I realized that I was no longer helping a small starfish safely return to the ocean it had washed up from. I had come face to face with what as a surfer girl growing up was my biggest nightmare.
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 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:
1) walk away and continue with the thousands of starfish that were left on the beach that were waiting for my support, and risk this shark destroying everything he had built and the company and team he was in charge of
2) or sit down with the shark, adjust my approach and begin to support his turning back towards the ocean, safety, and success.
I was aware that he had many other professionals attempt to pick him up and turn him back. 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.
I decided to take on this shark. I started learning about the shark, adjusting my approach and crafting my strategy. Now a month into the consulting engagement, I’m happy to say that our shark has slowly stopped fighting and started to turn. He now has a beautiful view of the ocean, which he just realized that he wants for his company and himself personally.
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 be the hardest part of change. Taking the opportunity to stop and realize that you are not going the way you want to or that your business is not going in the direction that you want is the first step. Once you begin to change direction and find that view, try to never take your eyes off.
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”.