Who Are You Giving Your Foul Ball To?

September 8, 2014

Photo from MLB.com

Photo from MLB.com

Last night I read a discussion on Facebook that had to do with a rant about giving free consulting time. People are always asking consultants to pick their brain for a few minutes.  The bigger your network and your brand, the more you get asked to dish out free advice. This happens to me pretty often and I know that there are many people who have a much larger presence than I do. In almost all of the cases, I say yes.

One of the ways that I make a living and pay my mortgage is through coaching and strategic planning. These are services that I charge for and people do, in fact, pay for these services.  However, you never know where your next big opportunity will come from.  And for that reason I always say yes to a quick chat.  Are there people who have no intention or resources to ever hire me? Of course there are.  Do I sometimes end up at a lunch or on a phone call that is a time waster? Yup. It happens.

However, I find that there are times when I thought something was going to be a flop and I walked away sending a proposal or receiving an introduction.  I find value in almost every interaction that I have – even the ones that might have been a time waster.

No one can afford to give the store away. We all have businesses and we need to charge for our services.  But, in my opinion, and I KNOW that others may disagree with me, everyone is worth a few minutes of time. Some people have no idea that their business idea is a bad one or that they’re breaking some unwritten code by asking for advice. People simply don’t know what they don’t know.

Why  is it that I am happy to dole out advice? Because there were and are a lot of people who have made time for me to pick their brain for a few minutes. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of people who have listened to my ideas or just let me blab about something. Those people helped me become who I am today and helped to shape the framework for my business. People helped me and I helped others in return.  That’s how the world works from my perspective.

This morning I read the story of Ryan and Reese.  At a baseball game on Friday, Ryan caught a foul ball.  He immediately turned around and gave it to Reese, a little girl sitting behind him.  When asked why he did it he said, “I’ve seen people do it before and I thought it’s a nice thing. And it’s good to make people happy.” Damn right, Ryan. Damn right.

So I challenge you today. Whether you charge for your advice or you are just a really busy person, who can you help today without getting anything in return?

Overall, who are you giving your foul ball to?