One of the first lessons I learned when I started out in business was this:
“Always think really hard, before you slam the door of opportunity behind you!”
It was 1995, I was 29 years of age and my marketing business was just a few months old. My former employer wrote me a letter, suggesting I was wrong to leave such a highly-paid job, to go into business for myself. He wanted me to know that I could come back, WHEN my business failed. I wrote him a pretty sarcastic letter in response, ruining our relationship.
Later that year, I needed his help with an introduction to a contact of his, that would have been really useful for my new business. I was unable to ask for it, because I had burned my bridges. I was angry about his letter, I responded way too quickly and never understood at the time that he was simply trying to get his most successful salesperson back.
I never made the same mistake again! From that point on, I have always left the window of opportunity open. This has led to hundreds of opportunities over the past decade and a half, which would never have existed.
Be the bigger person
Let small minded people do what they do. That’s not good enough for you, though! You need to hold yourself up to a higher standard than they do, if you want to develop a successful business. Yes, it may make you feel better for a few moments, to rant about how angry they made you feel, but ultimately it’s self-limiting. It’s a waste of energy. It kills relationships and creates nothing, other than negativity and bad feeling.
Each time you damage your relationship with someone, you also risk them sharing their experience of you, with their network. No one needs a vibe like that circulating in the marketplace. Be the bigger person. Remember that your success in business is directly linked to your commercial relationships and the way people think and feel about you.
Yes, if someone steals from you or has set out to cause you direct harm or there has been a major issue, disassociate from them. But when it’s a difference of opinion or simply time to move on, wish them well and get on with your business. Let them know that the door is open, even if only ajar!