With the latest edition of the REIN Report Magazine out on the stands now and me being featured as one half of a ‘power’ couple in it… I thought I would tackle a topic that is often misunderstood… and once understood fully can make a big difference in a relationship whether in marriage or business.
We are often told that we need to compromise as we work our way through life that way everything will work out for the better for everyone. Well after helping to run many many businesses and having been successfully married for 27 years… I beg to differ.
Compromise is Selfish
Compromise is the easy way out… or… actually… the selfish way out. Think about it. Compromise is not committing. Compromise often entails inaction. If you compromise… you believe it smooths the waters and you won’t be criticised for trying to keep everyone happy (“ah, what a ‘nice’ girl she is”) Continual compromise, instead of standing up and saying NO or YES becomes a wishy-washy route through life. Sure it helps you, externally, look a bit self-righteous and noble for ‘doing’ the right thing, but if you are not strong in your beliefs and convictions, your strength of character and who you are begins to disappear… until one day you wake up and say “How did I get here?”
Conversely Sacrifice means you actually took a stand.
In the world in which most people live the word sacrifice means giving up something, becoming an emotional or business martyr. In fact, sacrifice, when done correctly, means you took a thoughtful stand for something or someone that matters to you. When you consciously make what people call a ‘sacrifice’ you were willing to drop something or give up an opportunity because you felt strong enough about why you were doing it OR for whom you were doing the sacrificing. It shows empathy, it shows thoughtful decisions and it shows that the issue or other person meant a lot to you.
In a compromise, both parties give up something… both parties go away feeling a bit disappointed, but the expected outcome was reached. That of no real solution. And as human beings, we tend to dwell on the negative… you know that compromise that made you a bit mad? Well guess what? It is likely to make you a little madder with time. And as the continual compromises we are asked to make pile up well you can see the bad place that would eventually lead to.
Sacrifice means that you fully and consciously give up something. Sometimes it is because you want something in the future… or maybe even in the present and that thing…. is worth it. But mostly it is because of who or what the sacrifice is for. It works great if the people who are in your life have the same philosophy.
The other form of sacrifice is that you give up something for someone else. Imagine that… you make someone’s day, life, hour, minute…by sacrificing your needs or wants…. not only are they really happy, you have the satisfaction of being the person that made it happen. Its win win.
The typical emotion associated with compromise is frustration,
The Typical Emotion associated with sacrifice is sympathy and compassion. That sure puts it into another light.
I know the argument is often… ‘but what if I am the only one doing the sacrificing?’ Well then maybe you need to re-think that relationship. Sacrifice is one sided…but not always by the same person. If it is that imbalanced, then it is not a true and healthy relationship. Once you give up something for someone else… (with a smile on your face and NOT looking for a constant reminder of your good deed)…. you will find that you will have a lot given back in return. Believe me. Try it. You will be surprised.
Marriage Vow of Entrepreneurs: “To have and to hold, from this day forward, In Business or in Health…”
When my husband and I had an opportunity to take over a business (REIN) that we had been managing, we decided to run with it. Literally. You want to be all-encompassed? Try owning a business that is so unique in its structure that there were no others out there to get advice from… add to that we decided to expand it into 4 cities (from the existing 2). That meant that we travelled to 4 cities 12 times a year. You want hotel and airline points? Let me tell you how to do it, I have become a master ;)
When they say that a business is actually a separate living being… they aren’t lying. This business definitely had its own identity. It morphed, it grew, it grew some more, it gained staff, the business even got its own attitude… and along with all of this it also got headaches, it got belly aches, growing pains… (hmmm, sounds like a teenager. I wonder if that is why we didn’t have kids because we were raising a business instead?).
Sacrifice? HA! Travelling to 4 cities took up 2 weeks out of each month and that meant that life just flew by. Social engagements took a back seat, golfing ended, movie dates were on the TV. And we went full tilt. If we wanted more than just a few days of holidays to recharge (so we could continue to give the business our all), we had to take them in July and December. So we established European holidays in July and Caribbean ones in December. Those were the months that REIN clients didn’t want to see us. The other months they were ready and raring to go ….and their collective being and our full commitment to them dictated the way the business ran. Remember when I said that businesses are alive entities? (I wasn’t lying)
Compromise? HA! That would not have worked in this situation. Well for one thing… a business is a jealous lover. There is not a lot of compromising that goes on. She demands sacrifice of time, money, lifestyle. So that’s what we did. It didn’t feel like a sacrifice it felt like a lifestyle choice. We saw where it could go and we gave it our all.
Our business also became our social life and social circle. If you are contemplating doing a crazy thing like running a business….remember… you do finally block out or get immune to all the comments from your social network and family that repeatedly say…. ‘you work too hard.’
From the outside looking in, from those who aren’t willing to sacrifice today to win in the long term, of course it looks like you “work too hard” or “work too much”. But because, inside looking out, you know that you are living your passion and the supposed ‘sacrifices’ aren’t really sacrifice as they bring their own rewards from the choices we made.
What is the quote that now shows up all the time? ‘Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy’. That’s pretty black and white but you do actually have to work to accomplish things… great things. Wild things. Things you never thought you could accomplish. But you can. And it takes sacrifice. Not compromise.
Let me give you another example of the difference between the two. A few years back I was travelling to Vegas and as we got to the airport we were informed that our airplane was fine but that an earlier one had broken. So in their infinite wisdom the airline (Allegiant) decided that instead of having 120 people unhappy that day… they compromised everyone travelling to Vegas that day.
They just moved each group to the next airplane. Instead of sacrificing 120, they compromised 600+ instead and ruined everyone’s first day of holidays and even then 100 didn’t make it. Oh yes that was such a pleasant time at that airport. The entire lot of us left with a bad taste in our mouth. I don’t fly them anymore and neither do many others because of those types of decisions. Their business motto does not match mine and I ended up upset every time I flew with them. Life is just too short.
Expected Compromise in Politics Costs us Millions
Politicians are another lot who like to believe that compromise is a productive solution. You want to get a major bill passed? You will need to get the votes of all the rest of the politicians with their own agendas and that means that compromise will occur repeatedly when all those “side deals” get added onto the bill. Those side bills are the biggest compromises and end up costing the city/province/country tax payers millions of unnecessary dollars.
Ever wonder how come we now consume genetically modified food on a regular basis? Or that antibiotics are in our meat and milk? Or why we consume pesticide-ready wheat? Lobbyists are the loudest lot and you can be certain they will get their agendas through as they promise you the sun, moon and stars. But that is different topic for another day.
Our current federal government is highly criticized for a lot of things… but one thing they are good at is saying– ‘my way or the highway’– who wants leaders who are all over the map and not all on the same page? Not me. They are in the party together. They need to get it done. Leaders lead, they don’t follow a vocal minority and that means they have to sacrifice “good press” for policies they were elected on. No major compromises. As a nation, we hardly were affected by the ONGOING recession that devastated the US and Europe and that was singlehandedly due to our leadership before and after the financial collapse. They are sacrificing votes and opinions but they have kept us on the right track due to not compromising their stance. Are they right all the time? no, of course not, but are they doing the job they were elected to do? Absolutely. Yet, once again… the negative will be remembered when they have left their offices.
Look at the results the previous BC gov’t created, by holding an uncompromising stance on transportation improvements. We are now enjoying the fruits of this uncompromising vision. I wonder if all those people who fought so vehemently against the new bridges, road widening and skytrain extensions are using these advancements to improve their lives? You can bet many of them are! It now takes far less time to get into the City as a result of our beautiful new bridges and our new connector routes. But are they remembered for it? They sacrificed popular opinion and got it done. Then they lost their jobs. My and hundreds of thousands of people’s quality of life has vastly improved whenever we have to get somewhere in the Lower Mainland on one of the new routes. And I say “Thank you for your political sacrifices” every time I do.
So back to the personal side of things. Begin looking at compromise and sacrifice in a different light. Where, in your life, could a simple sacrifice today make for a much, much better tomorrow? Where are the little daily compromises chipping away at who you really are? If you don’t like something… then consciously make a decision under the new ‘rules’ of compromise and sacrifice. But before you make that call make sure you have measured the consequences of you making a stand. Remember there are repercussions for all your decisions…..AND those repercussions are sometimes so absolutely fantasticly positive they make your cry……and sometimes they absolutely suck. And they also make you cry.
So when you decide where and when you till take a stand….make a sacrifice… make sure it’s worth it. Make sure you are sacrificing without compromise or expectation. Although it goes against the current mass thinking – you will be surprised at just how wrong that thinking really is.