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Referral Tip #31 – Phil’s Story – Chapter One – The Private Hell of the Business Professional

Referral Tip #31 – Phil’s Story – Chapter One – The Private Hell of the Business Professional Opening Scene from Stop the Saboteurs

First things first. Guess to whom I dedicated the book?


Well YOU, of course!



To my clients, thank you. I will always treasure the trust and confidence you have placed in me.

I am also deeply grateful to the Monday Morning Referral Tip readers and to Salma Burney, whose help with technology has been invaluable.


Enjoy Phil’s Story – Chapter One –
The Private Hell of the Business Professional


“I knew that we should not have met there.

The coffee shop. A public place. But he insisted. And I couldn’t tell him . . . . I had tried to give him as many private meeting options as I could: The Intelligent Office, where I rented space; my other office; his office.

“No,” he said brightly, “this is where I meet everyone. It is a central place and works well with my schedule.”

“Fine,” I acquiesced. “Let’s meet in your favourite place.”

Let’s meet in your favourite place…where you are going to go to your secret hell.

And do in public what I know that most of us, especially men, do not want to do. Cry. Cry in public. Cry in public about your business. Or lack of it. And go to that awful, ugly place where most business professionals go when things go wrong and their revenue is scarce. To their own private, gut-wrenching hell.

After three decades of working with business and sales professionals who are responsible for generating their own revenue, I knew the signs. This gentleman, let’s call him Phil, had already shared with me that he had not signed a new customer in several months. He had to borrow money from his friends to keep going and his marriage was suffering from the impact of a serious lack of funds.

Phil was under enormous stress. He was in trouble, and he knew it. He had hit rock bottom and he did not know what to do. He had embarked upon a search for resources to assist him and, after a couple of referrals from my network, he had turned to me for help. He felt powerless to change his fate and he was lost in the tiny details of misery that attend a business that is not doing well.

In order for him to receive my assistance, I knew that Phil needed to reach down into his anguish, go to his own private hell, and decide that he did not want to be there anymore. That was my job as his prospective coach. I had to help him go to that place and see if he really wanted to make all of the changes that he was going to have to make. And, yes, cry in the process of doing his personal due diligence. Unfortunately for Phil, his tears would be in public.

As our conversation unfolded, I knew that it was going to be a long journey for Phil. The world around his business was changing rapidly. ‘Sand dunes in a storm’ kind of changing. Phil had outgrown his particular area of expertise and his company name, logo and brand reflected that disconnect very obviously. Phil no longer had a solid business offer and, as a result, had lost his business compass some time ago. He just did not know it.

His year-long dearth of new clients most certainly reflected this unhappy state. On top of all of these challenges, Phil had avoided formal networking during his decades of owning a business. He despised the idea of having to market his services to new clients. Phil wanted to delegate new business development to someone else now.

And as Phil talked, he started to cry. Hard.

As is always the case, I was very touched and concerned by Phil’s pain, and his tears. I looked around the coffee shop and felt grateful for the strategic choice of seating. No one could see him and he could talk freely about his thoughts and fears. And so he did.”

Next week’s tip will be about Francesca, the corporate refugee in Stop the Saboteurs.