Conventional wisdom says we all need to compromise. If only the politicians, bosses, clients, customers, spouses would compromise. Then…what?
The implied promise is that everything would be great! Sure, neither side would get everything, but both sides would get something, and at least we would be getting things done.
Yes, that’s necessary sometimes. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the better.
But many times, compromise is overrated – and wrong.
It starts with the premise that we are on different sides. Why do we have to be? It moves to the idea that we can’t get what we want and need. Who says? It suggests that if you don’t give in a little, you’re wrong. We’re even shamed into thinking it’s selfish not to compromise.
But, what if you’re right? What if compromising hurts you and those you are trying to help?
All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is surrender. For it is all give and no take.
You shouldn’t compromise on fundamentals. Would you compromise with a serial killer? “How about instead of killing 28 people, you just kill 14. Can’t you meet me half way here?” That just doesn’t work.
For me, I won’t compromise on who I am, what work I do, who I will take on as a client, how I treat others, and how I allow myself to be treated.
When I compromise on these for money, convenience, or lack of a backbone I lose respect for myself and decrease the value of what I have to offer this world. I hate myself when I do it.
I feel great when I reject the idea that life is about compromise. Instead I look to create relationships and work where I’m not competing with another “side.” We’re working together for the same outcomes.
When I’m at my best, I blog about what I value with an honest, vulnerable, but strong voice. I choose my clients carefully. I choose the stories and opinions I talk about on my radio show carefully. I am transparent. I am real.
Of course we can all compromise on the little things that aren’t very important to us. But, if we think everything is a compromise we become ungrounded, disillusioned and fake. That leads to work that isn’t our best and strained relationships with people we don’t even want to be around anymore.
- Define your fundamentals that you will not compromise on
- Determine who you will – and won’t – work with
- Give away the clients who are draining you – You will attract ones who will energize you
Questions for comments: What are your fundamentals you won’t compromise on? How do you feel when you agree to compromise on them anyway? How will you prepare yourself to deal with a situation like that in the future?
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