The Peer Success Group (www.peersuccessgroup.com) defines the master mind as “a group of like-minded individuals who come together on a regular basis to help and support one another to grow their respective businesses”.
A friend of mine, Kay, got fired from her work and decided to continue that same type of work independently. Since she needed to build up her clientele and her income, I wanted to help her. I happened to need some work done in her area of expertise, so I saw an opportunity to help my friend and myself.
For years, I had previously used a trusted professional to do this type of work. I considered this person a strong master mind alliance of mine, tried and true. However, in Kay’s case, switching professionals was justifiable. After all, she was my friend. I believed she would work even harder for me than my master mind ally did, and she would also deliver better results than I had ever received. In addition, Kay would make money as a result of the work she performed for me and I would get a goal accomplished: a win-win situation.
The seven weeks that followed were nothing short of a nightmare. I had completely placed my trust in Kay to perform this work with a deadline, and she failed me miserably. In fact, she was negligent in so many ways, it made my head spin.
At first I was in denial. During the initial four weeks of the assignment, I completely ignored the fact that she had done almost nothing to accomplish my goal. I was a bit uncomfortable as I received two emails from her during this time. One was that she was going on vacation for ten days and the later was for another, shorter excursion out of town. I assumed that she knew what she was doing, she was the professional, and I shouldn’t second-guess her actions.
Over the next three weeks, I began to ask if we could change a few things. Kay agreed with all the suggestions I made. But why was she so passive for a whole month? Why didn’t she voice these ideas herself? Wasn’t she the professional in this industry, able to see things her clients couldn’t? Why was I the one telling her how to do her work? This whole thing seemed completely lopsided to me. Where was her assertiveness, her proactive nature that was so clearly evident in the friend I knew? I felt I was working with a stranger.
I wasn’t just shocked Kay didn’t come through for me regarding this assignment. More important, I felt betrayed by her. She had been my friend, so I thought. Wouldn’t that automatically mean that she would be painstaking in her approach to deliver fantastic service? After all, she was getting paid the standard rate for her services. I was simply baffled.
I would have done anything for Kay. On this day, it was clear to me that she wouldn’t do anything for me, even if I paid her to do it. After all the time lost, money lost and stress unnecessarily placed on myself by using Kay instead of the trusted source I had used for years, I returned to my master mind ally with my tail tucked between my legs. I had betrayed my alliance, despite my good intentions for Kay. The job was completed in two weeks.
And what do you think happened next? After firing her, Kay acted as if I was the one who had betrayed her! She didn’t even make eye contact when we crossed each other’s paths. Instead, she poked her nose up to the sky, stiffened her posture and sped by.
After some time, I considered calling her to amend our friendship. I felt that we could communicate, get everything on the table to heal. But after thinking it through, I decided not to contact her. I didn’t do anything wrong. I terminated her for self-preservation, to stop the bleeding and to stop losing money. I fired Kay so that I could hire someone I had confidence in to do the work quickly and professionally. If Kay valued our friendship, she would have approached me by now. Since she didn’t, I had to conclude she felt she had done nothing wrong – or worse yet – she didn’t care about mending the friendship. I felt like it was best to leave the whole thing alone.
# Lessons Learned #
- Going out of your way to help a friend doesn’t guarantee that when they have the opportunity to go out of their way for you, they will do it.
- Don’t blur the lines between friendships and business master mind alliances. Keep them separate.
- When money is involved, stick with the winners, the ones you know you can trust. No one cares more about your finances than you do.
- If your friends need help, assist them in ways that don’t jeopardize you personally. Maybe start with a smaller project to gauge their abilities.
- Relationships can be messy, and some relationships can abruptly end in unresolvable circumstances. Learn to accept a lack of closure in these situations and let go of the relationship. However, be open to reconciliation if the opportunity arises in the future. Maintain a forgiving spirit, holding no grudge. If you harbor ill feelings toward someone, this will hurt you, not the other person.
It’s good to learn from the mistakes of others, for we can benefit from their wisdom. On the other hand, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we will be doomed to repeat them.