This tale was an important lesson for me. I learned that when you want something you need to speak up or to let people know that you are interested. That’s because no one can read your mind and to give you what you want in life and in business.
I remember the day I learned this leason very well. I discovered that one of my colleagues had received a promotion.
Now, at the time I was really happy for him because he was a great colleague, and we got along well.
I was more disappointed in myself for not put my hand up for the position, and for not making my boss aware that I felt ready to move up and to take a bigger responsibilities.
So I went home depressed and told my Mother about it.
“What is wrong my son?” Mum asked.
“Well, I am very angry with myself. There was a middle management position available and I didn’t express interest to my boss and one of my colleagues got the role.” I said.
“I am sorry to hear that my dear. Is there a reason why you did not express your interest in the position? I did not hear you mention it before.” said Mum.
“I guess it’s because I’m in an important role right now. I’m pretty happy, and the company and my boss are looking after me very well. So I didn’t really tell my boss about it” I replied.
My Mother nodded and started to tell me the tale of one of our ancestors, Su Lin.
Su Lin was a reliable official and was summoned to a remote region to reform and audit the townships. Because he was so far away from the main city, his superior paid less attention to him and focused on all the others who were closer to the main city. There was no chance to get a promotion at that time as back then news traveled slowly, unlike today where we are only one phone call away.
One day Great Grand Uncle Su Lin returned to the main city to pay a visit to his superior.
Unfortutately General Fan Zhongyan was not home so Su Lin left a poem for him. In that poem there were two lines that got General Fan Zhongyan’s attention:
“A waterfront pavilion gets the moonlight first. Those flowers and trees facing the sun get the sunlight earlier.”
Mum smiled and finished her tale. “When General Fan Zhongyan returned home he read the the poem and immediately understood what your Great Grand Uncle tried to tell him” she said.
“What does this mean Mum? I don’t really understand the lines of that poem” I asked.
“A waterfront pavilion get the moonlight first” Mum repeated. “That means there’s an advantage of being in a favourable position. So those colleagues of your Great Grand Uncle Su Lin had more opportunity to get promotion as they were in a more favourable position. Your Uncle, who was in a remote and isolated town, was often overlooked. Out of sight, out of mind as they say.”
“With these two verses your Uncle reminded the General that he had forgotten about your Uncle’s dedication to his duty in an isolated town. So when the General finally met up with your uncle he wrote a recommendation letter to the court to offer a promotion for your uncle. Months later your uncle was promoted to a high position and was transferred to a main township”.
“Now can you see Vinh, sometimes we need to make a point or need to be heard. If you want that position you need to let your boss or the head office know what you want with your career path. Sometimes if you don’t speak up and people would think you are happy where you are and they will focus on others. No one will hand you what you want on a golden plate either, you need to want it, and you need to go and get it.” Mum explained.
Now let talk about how this tale can relate well with your business.
Get involved by networking – If you have a new start up business and would like to get the “Waterfront Pavilion Effect” you need to get yourself connected with your key industry networks. By building your networks you will have more opportunities to meet potential clients or create joint ventures with other potential prospects. Networking is very powerful way to grow your business. There will be opportunity for your to refer business to others and vice versa.
Visibility – To get yourself and your business noticed by others you need to be visible online and offline. The key here is the power of online marketing. There are more and more businesses that don’t even have a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence. Everything is done online. Their success is based on their online marketing strategies. We all know at least one or more business who is doing exceptionally well online. Again I would like to relate to this tale and would like to ask you this question: “What is your waterfront pavillion effect? How can you become more visible to your ideal customer?”
Consistent & Persistent – We all know what the meaning of these two words but how many of us can live up to being consistent and persistent? Easy said than done you say? With lots of dedication, and plenty of practice we all can achieve it. Think back to my Great Grand Uncle. Just because he was assigned to a remote town, his loyalty and his duty to the country was consistent. He did not give up and let everything go just because he hardly had the opportunity to shine to his General. Instead he was a very persistent man and very determined to achieve what he wanted. The only way for him to get noticed was by putting himself on the fore front and approach the General. Likewise, in business we need to have these two elements. There are times when we’re faced with hardships in life and in business, so sometimes we felt like giving up, or taking an easy way out. Just remember this, no matter how bad things are, don’t ever give up. When you throw in the towel without searching for every option and possibility, you’re selling yourself short. Explore all the options and get help where possible. Trust yourself and believe in yourself. Know that you can accomplish your goals with persistence and consistency.
Now back to my story…
After I had a good talk with Mum, the very next day I managed to have a chat with my boss to tell him I was ready for a change and a new challenge. From that conversation I had the opportunity to be promoted to a middle management position.
If you want something just ask. If you want to let someone know about your thoughts, then tell them. Do not assume you ‘ll always be disappointed.
Give it a go.
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