It Will Happen to You Too

by Bob Poole on March 30, 2011

loose lips sink shipsI have a secret to tell you about people. They don’t always tell the truth. And, some of them will wish you the best of success while thinking of ways to overtly or covertly mess up your plans.

When you’re getting ready to start a new business or launch a new product you’ll get all excited and probably even a little scared. You’ll want to tell people all about it before it’s time and that will sometimes backfire on you. Or, people will wish you the best of success while actively working to sabotage you.

For example, when I started my first photography studio in the early 70’s in my hometown, I chose to purchase all my equipment and supplies from a local camera store instead of from one of the big professional dealers. I paid at least a 20% premium on most of the equipment but I wanted to support the community and buy locally.

About nine months later as I was moving the studio to larger and better space and I needed more equipment. I happened to be talking to another local businessperson and told them my plans. They asked if I still bought from the local store and I said, “Yes, of course.” Then he told me that I should know that the manager of the store (not the owner) was always “bad mouthing my work.” I was shocked as I was still very young and very idealistic. I thought “Why would someone do that when I am giving them more business than any other place in town?”

It doesn’t matter why he did it. The not-so-secret-secret is that people will betray your trust and support. Your banker with whom you shared information about a commercial property you are going to buy will tell someone he knows who has been looking at it and that someone will buy it out from under you. It will happen to you too.

You’ll share your idea for a new venture with someone you think of as a friend and they will tell someone who will tell someone who also thinks it is a good idea. It will often be inadvertent. People like to tell secrets. It makes them powerful or it gets them needed attention. It will happen to you too.

A motto during WW II was “Loose Lips Might Sink Ships.” It’s not a bad one to consider before you launch your ship. You wouldn’t want to see it never set sail or sink at sea. And as far as dealing with the type of person like my camera store manager take my advice and when you can verify that someone is working against your success – write them off. They’ll never ask you why you quit doing business with them. They’ll already know. It happens to them all the time.

Image compliments of Ajay Tallam

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky Blanton March 30, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Wow. I thought this just happened to ME! I agree – people are paranoid, suspicious, envious and jealous and they often race to badmouth their own friends in order to gain a feeling of power or superiority. The better, smarter and more generous you are, the more likely you are to be a victim. But – it’s their problem. Take time to learn who is safe, who is worthy of your trust, and then only trust them. Good boundaries and time will tell for most things. As far as the camera store owner – must be the profession. I’ve had the same experience at several camera stores – one guy even charged me for camera repair he never did! All I can say is don’t trust small, privately owned camera stores – go with the big boys next time. I do.

Bob Poole March 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

When I learned it was their problem and not mine then I stopped wondering what I did wrong. And, that changed everything.

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