This story was told to me by my husband Sam, who can occasionally be found breaking things on the backend of Hey Rebekah.
As a young systems analyst, Sam worked for a big shot consulting firm in a far away land. He spent countless hours at the office. It was pure luxury. Floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views of Victoria Harbor and cool grey carpeting so gritty it could exfoliate your feet.
The height of the cubicle walls was just right, forcing Sam to squeeze in an occasional half-squat when hollering at a colleague. The restrooms? Next level, complete with awkward shoulder rubbing attendants and fluffy hand towels. I see you’re thinking about that last one, I said it was awkward didn’t I?
Seagulls in formation
Most of the walls in the office were adorned with carefully curated messages from Successories. They’re like framed memes for the office, but cheesier.
Sam must have memorized every one of the inspirational quotes. Yet amongst all the cringe, it was often the words of an Austrian-American management philosopher that did resonate with him. You probably know them well too:
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Don’t race to the bottom
This was a confounding principle that took Sam some time to understand. Ironically, it finally hit home a few years later when his team was literally laughed out of a pitch by one those game-changing client opportunities.
Notwithstanding the anger they felt, they held their heads high and marked the opportunity as lost rather than chasing it further.
Walking from a mocking
Turning away from a massive, multi-year-target crushing prospect was the right thing to do. Some of Sam's colleagues didn’t agree at first and his bank account sure as $#!t didn’t like the idea either. However, it became clear to them that the prospect didn’t value their expertise or capabilities.
They wore this decision as a badge of honor and moved on.
But before the team left that day, the stubborn and petulant scrapper in Sam couldn’t help but clapback to the questioning of their fees with:
As self-employed professionals, it can be tempting to say yes to every project that comes your way. After all, bills need to be paid and the fridge needs beer.
But sometimes, saying yes to every project can lead to a never-ending cycle of regret, exhaustion, and resentment. Especially when you’ve had to devalue yourself by discounting your fees to land the gig.
Don't be afraid to say no to the opportunities that don't light your fire. Walk away from clients who don’t value your work.
Doing the right thing—even when it’s hard—will open up space for a business filled with work that you'll be proud of.
The kind that will make you feel fulfilled, at the top of your game, and keep you smiling all the way to the bank. And there are no discounts to your work necessary.
About Ambreen Dar
Ambreen designs for thrillseekers. She left the classroom behind to chase adventures in publishing, then dove into digital marketing's deep end. New tricks abound, but Ambreen's four furry fans still think she's top dog. Alongside Rebekah and Sam, Ambreen makes BRIL.LA's magic - and wouldn't have it any other way.