Integrity, kindness, dignity, and confidence may not fit in my bag, but unlike the power red lipstick or mints that mysteriously go AWOL in to my tote's bottomless pockets-these ride or die items are always within reach.
Almost a decade ago, I presented my company’s capabilities and promotional products to a client at a major consumer packaged goods company. Our discussion took a deep dive into his specific objectives and challenges, and it soon became clear that what I was selling was not going to fix his problem.
So I recused myself from the opportunity.
I told him to table my services and explore the product line of a competitor.
I made the conscious decision to walk away from a potential sale because it didn't contribute to his success or fix his problem. At all.
The potential to win the war but lose the battle far outweighed a short term sale.
Fast forward a bit, this client became a business partner and advocate. As I climbed the ladder, I would check in with him, got tabs on his current needs and challenges and eventually we did do business together. This business ultimately translated into a prominent three year corporate deal which really propelled my career.
Recently, at a well attended business get together, this client took the time to share the story of how I opted myself out years ago because it was best for his business that I do so. He reiterated how I had earned his respect and support because of it. Since then, he has been a cornerstone to my professional triumphs.
As soon as I realized I was selling life jackets in a desert, I didn't spin some absurd tale about a long overdue flood on the horizon just to make the sale. Instead, I fell on my sword, realized that I was of no value to him at the time, and got out of the way so he could fix his problem.
Integrity, kindness, dignity and confidence were my motor here. Not money or trophies.
Assume that everyone you interact with is going to give an exit interview about you. Imagine what they will say, what impression you gave them, and act accordingly.
You carry your most valuable assets with you daily, you just may not realize they're within.