Have you done your duty today?
What the heck am I talking about you may be asking?
No, I’m not flashing back to my time in the Marines.
Whether you work for yourself, someone else, or don’t work at all, you have a duty to perform today.
What is it?
It’s what you’re responsible for.
What and whom are you responsible for? That’s up to you. It depends on who you are and who you want to become.
As for me, I choose to be responsible for a number of things; myself, my family, my friends (to a degree) and my clients (to a degree).
My duty falls into two categories. To Protect. To Provide.
I have a self-assigned duty to protect those I care about.
In the world of protection, I look out for, in varying degress, the emotional, spiritual, physical and financial welfare of; myself, my family, my friends and my clients.
I’m protecting myself, and others, from threats and perceived threats.
Physical threats are probably the easiest to understand. Let’s say we’re out walking in the neighborhood, I’ll keep myself between the street and my family. And if we’re approached by bad people intending bad things, well, I’m prepared mentally, physically and emotionally for that as well.
While there are many threats to consider, emotional threats are also compelling. Am I being too hard on them? Too soft? Am I interfering too much, too little? Have I noticed how hard she is on herself and how I might help?
With my clients, one of the ways I help protect them is financially. I’m very protective of my clients money and if I see them about to invest $10,000 in something they could get for a fraction of the cost, I’ll advise them.
And honestly, most of my business work involves emotional protection. Clients are people first. And if we treated others, the way we treat ourselves sometimes, we’d probably have no friends.
Sometimes, the best thing I can do for a client is to listen and understand where they’re coming from.
To provide means to provide adequate supply.
Again, with my family it’s easy. Do I provide adequate (or more) supply of the basic necessities; food, water, shelter, emotional support, love, laughter and leadership.
Am I reliable in my love to provide a stable foundation in which they can rest or feel comforted.
Do I pay the bills, look out for our financial needs? Sometimes better than others.
Do they have enough to eat? Are they offered an opportunity to explore God and their beliefs, and do they feel loved.
With clients, my duty is to provide adequate supply of what they requested. I don’t like the word “adequate” so I like to overdeliver to my clients.
Are they getting the latest tips, tools and strategies? Do they feel glad they work with me (like they got a huge bargain) or do they question or doubt it?
My duty is to provide them my absolute best efforts based on my knowledge, experience and research.
Do they feel provided for?
Is their rapidly growing business causing some discomfort? I hope so, because you can’t grow a business without growing yourself, and let’s face it, that’s uncomfortable.
But the protector in me monitors this and finds a balance.
Speaking of balance, this article would not be complete without talking about…
What’s the dividing line between “my business” and “their business.”
Great question, and one I’m constantly evaluating.
What is my business? Your business?
What I have control over is my business. What I don’t have control over is your business.
With my children, it’s easier (until the teenage years) because I’m responsible for both protecting and providing. While I am not a dictator, sometimes I have to make decisions like one.
But with adult s, family, spouse or clients, where’s the line? I can only protect so much. I can only provide so much.
For me, it’s about making suggestions and detaching from the outcomes. Gets easier with practice.
Let’s take a recent example. A client showed me new system he was looking at that could help with his internal operation and organization. The price tag was around $8,000.
I listened and learned about the system, what it could do, and the reasons he was looking to buy it.
I then pointed out the existing systems his business has, that aren’t being utilized, that do about the same things.
What he chose to do after hearing my thoughts is up to him. If he buys the system, I’ll do my best to help him implement and train his team.
If he decides he wants to forgo the expense and utilize what he already has, I’ll do my best to help implement and train his team.
I do my duty, share my knowledge and experience and let the client make the decision.
My ultimate duty is to myself. Am I happy with what I’m responsible for, and am I fulfilling those responsibilities?
If the answer is an overwhelming yes, then I’m doing my duty.
What’s your answer?