Make magic with your clients and you’ll never feel like you’re working
Let me tell you a story. Each week I receive accountability emails from my mentoring clients on a Friday and reply on a Monday. Their emails are about the goals they have set for themselves, what they have achieved, and note the work they still need to do. Recently, after facilitating a Retreat for One for a client, I received her requisite Friday accountability email. I read it with interest, having spent a very intense time with her. One paragraph stopped me in my tracks. It read:
“I sincerely appreciate the level of depth and respect in our conversations. I need to foster these relationships more in my life: relationships that support my passions and love of depth of dialogue.”
I felt as if the world stood still as I re-read her words.
She was right. I realised I could easily have sent the same message to her, so great was my enjoyment of my time facilitating her process.
Yes, it’s a two-way street. There’s nothing more enriching in business than when the work is both a service to your client and a gift to yourself. Attracting people who really want deep conversations that are based on respect will make it never seem like work. There is a powerful win-win there. The Triple Win, then, becomes obvious. There are wins for you, for those you work with, and wins for the world. By freeing people to be the best they can be you are helping them to do their best work and make their best contribution.
Many years ago when I was the national manager of restorative justice for a not for profit in South Africa, my colleagues were so inspiring that I raced to work each morning to experience whatever incredible adventures were in store for that day. The mood was exhilarating: bouncing ideas off one another and using the best strengths of each of us, we were able to bring about changes legal change for young people in trouble with the law and start diversion programs to reduce the harm of the criminal justice system and make kids accountable for their actions. We were fueled by the connections between us and the mutual respect.
It is that kind of exhilaration we all need in our work to challenge us to do our best and stay motivated. It’s another Triple Win: it doesn’t feel like hard work, the enthusiasm is contagious, so the other person loves being part of it, and you both feel free and light so that you can use that freed energy to make a powerful positive impact on the world.
Nowadays I hardly notice whether my interactions are paid or unpaid. I notice what I feel about the time spent, as time is the one thing you can never get back. I don’t want to waste a moment of it.
If there is a deep connection, if we are building of powerful community, and strategic change is happening through meaningful conversation and carefully chosen action, then there is a great meaning. It just doesn’t feel like hard work.
I challenge you to choose your interactions wisely, and surround yourself with people you connect really well with. As a business owner, take the time to deepen your knowledge of the people you serve. Take time to understand their motivation, and help them (when necessary) to help them to get out of their own way. And along the way, pause and check if you are having a great time.
Go and make magic with your clients. That way, I guarantee, you’ll never feel like you’re working.