We all know what the Golden Rule is, right? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This rule was a big part of the foundation of my moral conditioning as a kid. The thing about the Golden Rule is that it calls on you to be the bigger person… to turn the other cheek, to forgive and forget, etc, etc..
However, over the years I have found that my conditioning has often set me up to be taken advantage of, cheated on, and ripped off. I used to attribute this to me just being overly trusting, an eternal optimist who sees the best in everything. I would end up blaming myself when someone harmed me, not them.
Recently though, as in the last 5 years, I’ve had some major stuff go sideways on me. People whom I had entrusted to run my businesses, decided to lie, cheat, and steal, costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars. Initially, the shock of their actions forced me into denial mode as I tried to rationalize their behavior.
Here’s one example: In 2010, I partnered with 9-time New York Times best selling author David Bach to launch a product line based on his best-seller, “The Automatic Millionaire.” After almost a year of preparations, building out the products, developing the marketing materials, shooting video, etc., we were ready to launch. The week of the launch, my general manager (and marketing director) decided to pull one of the most brutal stunts, leaving me in the lurch.
I got up one morning and as I was sipping my coffee, checked my inbox. There was an email there from him at 5 AM. Basically, it read: “I’m at the airport, just checked in. Heading to Utah for the week. Emergency- will explain when I land.”
At first, my reaction was, “Geez- I hope everything is ok!” My first reaction wasn’t anger or upset, not the least… My partner on the other hand, flipped the fuck out. He was livid! His reaction was immediate and uncensored, trust me. There were expletives, sputtering, the whole 9 yards. In retrospect, considering the gravity of the situation and what was at stake, even his response was likely less angry than it justifiably could have been.
Turns out the “emergency” was an upset girlfriend, nothing life threatening and certainly nothing to justify dropping everything on launch week and bolting for Utah, the day before the biggest launch in our company’s history. Life goes on and less than 24 hours later we launched. 20,000 people hit our server the first hour and the firewall overloaded and locked the site. Long story short, this could have well happened even if he had been in the office. However, the principle of his absence and how he failed to communicate properly was an issue.
And, you guessed it… Not being held accountable for this incident gave this guy the permission to continue his behavior, eventually costing him his job.
I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. I am flexible, accommodating, and likely the world’s best boss. My personal assistants make more money than I ever did working a job! As long as people pull 150% of their weight and give their best effort, everything is good. The reward is tons of job freedom and strong compensation. But, take it for granted and start slacking off…? Zap!
Since this WAKE UP! call I have learned the “Platinum Rule” the hard way…
Do for yourself what you do for others.
(I totally made up this rule, by the way.) In other words, expect the same of others as you expect of yourself: honesty, work ethic, quality of work, accountability, etc..
Further, don’t let people walk all over you, disrespect you, lie, cheat, steal, etc. and let them get away with it. Stand up for yourself and demand the same respect from them as you give. DO NOT do it out of entitlement or ego based arrogance- do it out of self respect. Do it based on the principle that if you don’t stand up for yourself and demand what is yours, no one else will do it for you. No one will look after you (your time, money, finances, investments, etc.) like you would look after yourself.
People will only respect you and your boundaries if you respect yourself enough to enforce them.
There is nothing noble about being the martyr and constantly compensating for other people’s failures and lack of integrity. Yes, the Golden Rule is the rule to start with- I am still a trusting person and I still give people the benefit of the doubt- but, there has to be a limit to how far you let people get away with things once that trust has been breached.
“Lie to me once, shame on you… Lie to me twice, shame on me!”
This was the big lesson for me in 2010 with WAKE UP! call #1988: Don’t let your attachment to comfort make you so nonconfrontational and passive that you fail to stand up for yourself, your business, your family, or your rights.
“Give a man an inch and he will take a mile”, the old saying goes.
I can confidently say that finding the delicate balance between grace and nature is a wonderful, empowering, and satisfying place to be.
With that WAKE UP! call survived and lesson learned, I’d like to ask you a few questions:
What are the things in your life that you tolerate that you know you shouldn’t?
Do you put up with people dissing you, crossing the line without consequence?
Do you tolerate being compensated less than you are worth?
Do you let everyone else have their dibs on your paycheck before you even see it?
Have you fallen for the con and bought into the lie that you are only worth as much as others are willing to pay you?
Just because there are 10 people in line, willing to take your job should you vacate your position, does this mean that you should be “lucky” to have work? Or, is it time to WAKE UP! and stop disrespecting yourself by cashing those pencil whipped paychecks!? Aren’t you insulting yourself every time you do so…?
Think about it for a second. You are likely worth 100 times more than anyone could ever pay you. Your life experience is vast, you have a good work ethic, you are persistent, you always do your best… Do not think for a second that you have no other options!
You have alternatives.
The question is whether or not you are willing to seriously consider your options and make the tough decisions. Or, will you get sucked back into your comfort zone? It’s 2013 for goodness’ sake and you can literally build an empire with little more than a smartphone!
Are you willing to ask yourself the tough questions? Are you willing to handle the truth; the honest answers?
All my best!
Check out this WAKE UP! podcast “The Platinum Rule”