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Don't Take That Business Matter Personally !

Updated on October 16, 2013

The Thinking Man

Don't Take It Personally

I always like to try to keep this story as funny and upbeat as possible, but still I wanted to cover a bit of a serious topic. Have your ever heard the saying; “If you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t be in the business.”? It’s something that I’ve heard often, and in jest, in many business situations.

Some of the best advice I can ever offer is to never take situations in the business world personally. It's just not worth it.

I came from a real estate family. My parents had their own successful real estate business in a small suburban town for more than twenty five years. To have success in the real estate business you have to know people, a lot of people, and my folks knew everyone.

As I mentioned, our family valued our time together and every night we’d get together at our dinner table at 6PM. We all made it a point as best we could NOT to talk about business at dinner; this was family time, and was a time for us to relax.

After 20 or 25 minutes, I would sneak away from the table to feed the dog, the cats, and do my other chores; while doing these, I would often hear my Dad saying to my Mom; “You’re taking this business situation too personally Eleanor.

My mom was an outstandingly smart salesperson and she wanted so hard to achieve in the business world. At times, she could not understand why she’d be having particular problems with a customer, or maybe even lose a deal that she had going with some of her close friends, a neighbor, or a golfing buddy.

Nevertheless, this is the nature of the business and sometimes, due to some hidden element, things would go wrong and the deal would collapse.

Ahh, but this is just human nature. How do you not take business personally?

It is easy to say it, but it is just a state of mind.

Yes, we want to achieve; Yes, we have objectives; Yes, we have to put bread on the table - we all have mouths to feed; but just because they don’t want to deal with you, or buy that widget from you, it doesn’t make it personal, so don’t take it personally.

There are other factors in that person’s life that we can’t possibly know about, and these will have led them to their decision, and caused them to act or react in the manner that they have. You didn’t anticipate it and, quite frankly, it would be nigh on impossible for anyone to have done so – so don’t take it personally.

Once I was traveling on the road visiting my customers and having a very productive day. I arrived for a 1:30PM meeting and, on this occasion, was kept waiting. After 30 minutes had gone by I was told; “We are sorry we just don’t have time to see you today.”

So what did I do? What could I do?

I smiled politely, said thank you, got in my car and went to my next appointment.

I did my best to shrug off what I sensed as negative sales karma; but, still I felt a bit down. It wasn’t my fault the appointment got cancelled, but I’m sure they had their reasons. However, I kept my cool, I was polite, I didn’t get angry – that’s business.

Interestingly enough, starting later that day (and continuing for the next few months) I got more quotes and orders from that particular customer than I ever did before – all because I didn’t take it personally.

My Best Advice

If you’re at home at night and unable to sleep, as a business deal is keeping you up wondering about it, then I suggest you repeat this to yourself; “I am calm, cool and tranquil, and I will succeed at everything I do tomorrow.


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      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I can see where a family would have an impact on your personal view of success and life options. You are so right, we must remain positive and encourage ourselves to succeed.