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What You DID Build

There is a lot of furor over President Obama’s statement,

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.”

I know when I first read it, it made my blood boil.  Then I stopped, took a deep breath and went looking for the complete quote to see how it had to have been taken out of context.  Did you, too?  The next thing I did was look for all the usual rants and raves from all sides.  Predictable.

I think the best take on the whole matter was written by The Washington Examiner’s Senior Editorial Writer Philip Klein (great first name).  Enough said on that issue.

Instead of my own rants on the subject, I have two other thoughts.

First, we can argue until the cows come home about what he actually meant.  And that won’t accomplish a single thing.  Arguing won’t build a road or a business.  Businesses have to be built by someone who is willing to quit arguing and start doing.  You cannot argue or complain yourself to success. You should also get all the help you can. There are resources out there for you.  I like to remember what Harry S. Truman said,

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”.

So go out there and build.  Build what you can.  Build with your heart.  Build with your mind.  Build with passion.  Be proud of what you build.  Be amazed.  Be humble.  Yes, you took all the risks and did all the heavy lifting, and you got some help along the way.  As Sir Isaac Newton reminds us,

“If I have seen farther than others, it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Second, although passion drove you to build your business, control your passion enough to let wisdom and patience guide you as well.  When a customer or sales rep or vendor (or President) says something that makes your blood boil, stop, take a deep breath and try to see the other side of the story.  You cannot control what other people say, only how you respond to them.

The one thing we all can build is goodwill towards others.  Build goodwill with your customers.  Build goodwill with your employees.  Build goodwill with your vendors.  You don’t need anyone’s help to do that. And no one can ever take that away.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS  Hopefully you got that this post was more about how to deal with an unhappy, unruly, or unreasonable customer than it was about politics.

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