Reading time: 5 – 8 minutes
I let people walk all over me. In elementary school I felt alone at times because many people said I talked funny. On top of that I was skinny which didn’t help.
In junior high there were days when I felt the whole world was against me.
I remembered being invited to a party by one of the “cool” kids and ended up being the brunt of all their jokes. I almost drowned in the swimming pool and they mocked me for being weak though I have always been a good swimmer.
Over the course of my life I let people take advantage of me time and time again.
And yet, despite all this, one thing never changed – I have always believed in who I was.
I have my parents to thank for that.
And over time I have understood just what are good people.
People who know me often say I want things my way and I don’t listen to others. While I admit I talk too much, contrary to what others say, I don’t want things my way; I just want things done right.
If someone else is the right person for the job then great, less work for me.
But when it’s my ass on the line I’m not willing to let people who are incompetent take me down with them.
Business for me is no joke. Neither is education.
You see, time is valuable for me and it should be for you as well.
We aren’t given an unlimited amount. We can’t put more coins in the machine and add time like videos games.
No, each of us is given one lifetime. No more, no less.
So why would I want to live a life less than the one I want? Why should I let people take advantage of my kindness, my time, or my knowledge?
The answers – I wouldn’t and I shouldn’t.
Amazingly it has taken me 30 years or so to realize this simple fact.
Is it too much to demand that people treat us with respect?
Shouldn’t we have mutual respect for one another’s time, money and effort?
I remember once asking my father if he liked everyone who my mother had invited over as she invited a lot of people over the years being the social butterfly that she still is today.
I have never forgotten what he said to me, “There was one man. He came over and was quite disrespectful to your mother so at the end of the evening I told him, in no uncertain terms, that he was not welcome back in our house.”
That was my father and I guess that slowly that part is coming out in me as well.
When we are young we think we need to please everyone but having been around for 37 years now I realize that that’s just not possible. In fact, as Bill Cosby says, “ I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.“
For much of my life I guess I was failing.
We can’t make everyone happy because we all have different values.
As such we need to find people that respect the things in life that we feel are important. If not, you’ll find yourselves at wit’s end more than once.
Now I realize that people do make mistakes. To err is human after all.
But what is critical is that people learn from their mistakes. You may have heard me say this before but it bears repeating, there are three key points to apologizing.
- A sincere apology does go a long way. The key word in being SINCERE. Half-assed apologies will only make things worse.
- Doing something to make up for their mistake does help smooth things over.
- We all need to make an effort to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. If we make the same mistake again people are likely to connect the dots thereby making a seemingly small event much worse.
The other day I posed a question to a few of my close clients, “What would you rather have – no friend or a lousy friend?”
Everyone went with “no friend.”
By letting ourselves be taken advantage of by some people we are taking time away from the people who truly care about us or the opportunity to meet such people.
We should all, as Earl Shoaff once said, “Be sure to stand guard at the door of your mind.”
We all need to understand that we design the life we live by the choices we make.
We must be careful who and what we let in.
I value myself enough to protect myself from those things that aren’t helping me get where I want to go. I hope you do, too.