A Year Long Business Experiment

My Blog posts have a reputation for being, on occasion, inspiring.  Today, I hope to publish a blog that will be valuable and informative.

For the last year, I’ve participated in a one-person experiment using goodwill as a tool to forge professional connections.  It’s not that I set out to do this for the purposes of experimentation, but I’ve approached establishing myself in Screenwriting and Film with goodwill as my calling card.  It hasn’t been hard to do, or foreign to me.  It’s admittedly, part of who I am.

Today, I will disclose the results of the experiment, and its implications for Business.

First, let’s just get it out of the way:  Nice is often seen as weakness.  The belief goes that nice people don’t possess the savvy needed to succeed.  Otherwise they’d bear their sharp, canine fangs.  Nice people are chiffon in the world of business – can’t hold a crease, right?

That’s quite a stereotype to live down.  A nice person ignites a response in another to mull “the Nice’ around and determine what it means.  For some, the fact that a person appears to be nice means that they can assemble their vultures on a nearby tree, and wait for the right chance to exploit it.

For others, it means that nice negates whatever other skills might be present.  Nice, the perception goes,  throws water on any fire needed to gain advantage.  Nice could never go into battle.  Nice is seen as a weakness, straight up.

I met a producer at a premiere last year.  When he knew me well enough to admit the following, he shed the emotion like a too-warm coat.  He confessed, “When I met you, I was so put off.  You were so nice.  It was..disturbing.”  Truth be told, now we’re true friends.

But, putting anyone off with too nice, can be disturbing to the nice person.  It can cause ‘Sharing Remorse’.  A nice woman, G*d forbid, should be ready for the “She’s really sweet.”

In truth, she may wear a steel spiked nipple ring and chew on nails for fun.  But appear sweet, and a person would seem to have become a business eunuch, incapable of the balls needed to get something done or better, achieve a Business Coup.

Prior to committing to Screenwriting and Fiction Writing, I committed myself to a self-employed life as a Medical Intuitive and a Healer.  I built a worldwide practice based on referrals, received referrals from doctors, even a University Medical School Clinic.  Good at my job, and nice, too.  A health practitioner who has a poor bedside manner will not generate referrals.  Lucky for me that I’m just nice.

Or, has nice been a choice for me?  When I was five, I poked a hamster with my finger…

Put my finger in through the bars in his pitiful cage and poked him.  He bit me.  My first exposure to cause and effect when a stick is wielded.

When I was in college, my Orange County mentality of Sun, Sand, Malls, and Pools fell to the awareness that people starved, lamented a lack of freedom, suffered.

My response, become more human.  Give a shit.  And, I’ve been caring ever since.

I see the suffering in everyone – not just the obvious, but the fact that in all of us, we are a three year-old who wants a hug from our parent, we are an eight-year old who wants to feel liked, we are a fifteen year-old who wishes acne were invisible, we are the adult who wants to feel valuable.

So, the nice has been the ‘I see you’.  But, the problem is, lots of people, especially in Business, want you to notice the big gun in their pocket.

So, what’s a nice person to do?

I’ve never been one to follow established systems.  If I think it can be done another way, I just create the path.

So, when it’s come to Business, I’ve decided to be nice.  My Business Gun does sit cocked, lest it be needed.  But, I have rarely had to pull it.

Yesterday, I watched a person pull a Business Gun to get what he wanted.  Sort of the hammer when a feather would have worked approach.  The stunt was pulled on someone I care about.  I had forged a business relationship with this person with goodwill.  Then, this person, who wasn’t going to get what he wanted after trying to manipulate to get it, pulled the “I have no choice but to…”, then finished it with “Of course, I’ll honor…”  But, the truth is, that after the gunfire of sorts, the person I cared about lie bleeding out, and no amount of mention of honor was going to plug the bullet hole.

Actions like that stem from someone believing he or she will not get what she wants another way.  In the scenario above, the person I reference who pulled the business ‘gun’ completely glossed over suggesting the option that would have given the desired result, because he believed that the option would be refused.  Surprisingly, the option he wanted ultimately but did not believe he would get, is the very option that will now be proposed to him.

The bottom line on business negotiations: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in the form you need it, in a way that is honest.  Allow the other party in business to collaborate at your needs level, and strategize to give you what you need.

A year of observation has reduced my results to the following:

If you’re at school and want to make a friend, do you offer to trade your Ding-Dong for an apple?
Is it possible that the kid will grab it from you and run off?
But, the Math of the Ding-Dong says that at some point on the graph of giving, you will encounter a grateful kid glad to trade.

You have to offer a lot of Ding-Dongs to get an apple.

But, a Ding-Dong offered and taken with a smile, and an apple handed over, is what creates Business relationships on your terms.

During the summer, a well-known author put out on Twitter that she had a hand injury and could not type.
I replied with “I’ll help.”  A conversation occurred.
“How much do you want per hour?”
“Nothing”, I replied.
“What do you mean nothing?”
“I’d like to help you.  In return, if I ever had a question or needed your guidance, I’d like to be able to contact you.”
You know what she said?
“You’ve just articulated how my lasting relationships have all been made.  You have a connection for life in me.”

Nice finishing last, indeed.

The result of the experiment is, that Nice is not Yes.  It’s not Sweet.  It’s not a push-over.  Nice is “Do you have an apple?  Here’s a Ding-Dong.”

See you on the Streets of Business:

I’m the one with a pocket full of apples, a Ding-Dong in her hand, and a smile on her face.

I look forward to imagining that your incorporation of any of this blog’s info will bring you great results in Business and Life.

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