The Voice of Potential Consequences (Issue 1013)

In which we’re reminded to help our clients see what may happen if they don’t change course.

“It’s harder being the parent of a 20-year-old than it is being the parent of a 2-year-old.”

We were discussing my friend’s feelings about her daughter’s departure for a college junior year semester in Europe.

“Why is that?”, I asked.

“Because the risks are greater. When she was 2, I was in control. Now that she’s 20, I have no control. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me and she’s her own person now and it’s hard to see her make mistakes.”

“Yes, I know. Mine are a little older and, yes, I know.”

She sighed. “When I was her age, I did a lot of stupid stuff… a LOT of stupid stuff… I turned out OK. I just had more of a struggle than many other people did.”

“Well,” I said, “as long as her mistakes fall in a range you can live with, you’re probably OK.”

“Yes, that’s true, and they’re different kinds of mistakes. She’s making lots of short-term mistakes and she’s missing the big picture.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I said to her the other night, ‘Look, you’re making your own decisions and that’s fine. However, if you want to do the Federal government policy-making work you’ve described, getting a ‘C’ in chemistry for a biology major is not on track, particularly since it’s the only course you took this summer. If you want to get there, you won’t get there from here.”

“Well,” I said, “that’s clear.”

“Yeah, I don’t have much influence. All I can be is the voice of potential consequences.”

Sometimes, that’s the best, most valuable role we can play and, sometimes, that’s the only role we can play for our kids and our clients – the voice of potential consequences, hoping that the potential “ill that will befall you” motivates them to change course toward better outcomes.

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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