Everything Has a Cost; Make Sure What You Do is Worth It

I was talking to a coworker the other day about an initiative to save money on a project I am currently working on. He stated there is a cost to doing business and if the contract is written so the cost is higher than reward, you need to get out of that business. This got me to thinking about the song “Everything that Glitters is Not Gold” by the late Dan Seals, especially this part:

Everybody said you’d make it big some day
And I guess that we were only in the way
But someday I’m sure you’re gonna know the cost
’Cause for everything you win there’s something lost

We sometimes like to think there is a free lunch or that good things in life come without a price tag, but as long as you have to choose how to spend your 24 hours, you have to make trade offs. I am currently making some trade offs in being with my family to make more money, with the focus on spearheading our debt so we can live anywhere we like without the thought of having to focus on high paying jobs ever again. At the same time, I am keenly aware of a personal story of a man who traded his family for every promotion offered to him. If you choose to spend more time with your family, it will likely stop you from becoming a billionaire. Conversely, you might reach that billion dollar goal if you sacrifice your friends and family. Each person has to decide the currency they want to keep.

What makes this whole time currency tricky, is other people are determining the currency they are willing to put up for their goals. A good “salesman” is the person who can achieve their goals while helping others achieve their own goals. This leads us to:

Win-Win versus Lose-Lose

We often think of salespeople at the masters of maximizing what they want while minimizing what we get. I think a large part of this comes from dealing with particular types of salesmen (car salesmen come to mind). But this does not describe the good salesman.

One thing that good salesmen have in common is the ability to create win-win situations. Zig Ziglar stated it nicely when he said:

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want

There are a couple of important takeaways, as this relates to “everything has a cost”

  • You have value and should not sell yourself for less than your value – the next topic
  • Your value goes up when you have proper synergy, whether this is just you and the right knowledge/tools or you are in a group
  • Anyone trying to have you sell yourself for less than your value is not a good salesman (and definitely not your friend)

Not realizing your value

Let’s talk about value.

The bible states that God has granted each of us with immeasurable value. Aristotle stated that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This means so many of us undersell the value we have. When we combine in groups, this value can be even greater.

The important thing to note is the price you are willing to pay should be greater when you are getting greater value. In like manner, the price you are willing to let yourself go for should be greater when you hold greater value. Too many of us undersell ourselves.

Relating this back to “everything has a cost”, you must correctly estimate your value correctly and assert yourself to somewhere in the vicinity of that value. The dynamics, once again, go up when you are dealing with more than one person, like a group or your family.

Trade Offs and Agendas

I have a degree in Mass Communication with a specialty in film and video. In my career, I have worked with media and I have a keen understanding of how the media works. Often, for a variety of reasons, the story is already determined before the media arrives to report it. My wife finally saw this in action when my daughter Miranda was going through cancer treatment. We had a local news station show up to highlight a fundraiser for Tiffany’s Team in Training effort, focused around Miranda. The songwriter’s fundraiser raised a small portion of the total amount Tiffany had hoped, but the media reported they had met their goal. The story was already written before we were ever interviewed.

Sometimes you can steer the media in another direction, however. Below is a video about the Vanderbilt Cares for Kids event. The reporter was there to highlight the event, which focuses on all children that spend time in the hospital. In the process of interviewing Tiffany, the direction changed, and a good portion of the slot focuses on childhood cancer.

Changing the set path for a story

Turning the media is not the norm, however, unless you have a more compelling story than the one they set out to tell. It is extremely difficult if they have a competing story coming in at a greater volume. Let me put a real life example to this concept.

In September, 46 women are going to shave their heads for childhood cancer. It was a crazy idea Tiffany came up with last fall that has grown into a full blown effort. Currently, there is an effort to decide where to shave their heads and how to engage the media. One option is being on a national show.

On the surface, the show appears like a great option. Millions of people will watch the show and the mommas will be featured on stage for a short time. If everything works out, the following will be achieved:

  • Millions of people will tune into the 46 mommas site and hear the stories and awareness will be raised
  • Celebrities will be influenced to take up the banner for childhood cancer

But there is a potential it will go the other direction:

  • National media exposure will be lost to the louder message from the show
  • Celebrities will already have their own cancer focus and none will be turned to raise the banner

Of the two options, and my experience with the media on both sides of the camera, I find it more likely show will get the majority, if not all, of the national media attention. And, since the celebrities often show up for just a few minutes and then leave, and often have their own private green rooms, it is unlikely any of the mommas will get enough time with any of them to sway their opinions enough to make a difference.

The point here has nothing to do with whether the mommas should be on show, or even whether they should shave their heads before the event or not. The point is there is a value in what they are doing, and, if they are wise, they will figure out the value and determine the correct course of action.

Relating all of this back to “everything has a cost”, we have the following points:

  • Everyone has a value – we might also add, in the above example, that the whole being greater than the sum of the parts dictates even greater value
  • The value must be determined based on the dynamics of the situation at hand. This is true of events, but also true of determining the correct job one should take, how to spend Friday night, etc.
  • The value of time is then weighed against different demands.

The end game is you take the value and make sure you choose the demand that most respects your value, whatever the traded currency is.

Wrapping It Up

When we first got on television with Miranda, we felt the exposure was the important message. In the process of doing the interview and watching the story degrade, we determined that the value of correctness in the story, and started making sure the media had fact sheets. We also learned how to turn the media to what was important to our cause by making it a more compelling story. It all comes to the value we placed on getting the story out and getting it right.

For you, it could be negotiating your next job or your next raise. It could be determining which event to go to this coming Friday. Or it may even be a once in a lifetime event. No matter what it is, don’t sell yourself short.

Peace and Grace,

Twitter: @gbworld


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