Have you ever had a situation where you really wanted something and you are told no—or know the answer will be no? Whether it is time off work, a raise, a sponsorship proposal, the car for the night when you were younger, we have all had those experiences. In my professional world, we see it every day. Sometimes it is internal at a property—trying to convince the ED or DD that this is a good deal for the organization, or external, such as trying to close a sponsorship. And often it is external.
I have always said you need to build a case for support. You need to document the pros and cons. Identify the risks, and also the short- and long-term benefits. I say this is necessary because you learn not only why you think something is important to have/secure, but also, if done right, you will understand the issues or concerns from the other side.
Our daughter, now 13, has been asking for an iPhone for her birthday and Christmas since she was 10—her 10th , 11th, 12th and 13th birthdays and those Christmases each year too. Her reasoning started like this: “All my friends have them, so it must be OK.” Once we settled the issue that we do not operate based on what others have or what the trend is, she understood that, to get an iPhone, would mean more than begging and crying. She learned she would need to convince us why it was so important (our thought was age 16!). For the first couple of years, it was a running joke. The iPhone always made the Christmas and birthday wish lists (along with the pet chinchilla), but everyone knew it would not happen (especially the chinchilla). By the time she had passed her twelfth birthday, she knew it was more important for her to get a phone. She asked what she needed to do. I told her she needed a “case for support.” She had to show us why it was so important from a practical viewpoint, address our concerns and issues, and have a plan for the process. So, she went to work (with help when she asked).
Ultimately, this past summer, she had her mom and I sit down in the family room. She pulled up her laptop and made her presentation. It was quite impressive. She addressed the issues of safety by having a phone, and also safety in using a phone, such as social media registration, people she does not know, password setting issues, and such. (The TELUS information available to families online is tremendous for understanding security and parental controls. Thanks Christi Cruz for the direction on this!). She addressed how she would manage these things and how we could feel more secure. She identified how much an iPhone 6 would cost and the monthly fees if she had talk and text only versus data—and how she would pay for it.
She had saved up over the 3+ years (money from birthdays, Christmases, and allowance) to buy a phone. Ultimately, she was given a used iPhone 5 by family friends for her birthday (with our approval), so this cost was minimized. For the monthly fee payment, she proposed to switch from her present $6 a week allowance (that she really did not have to do much for and only got to keep $2 of, because $2 went to her charity piggy bank and $2 went to savings) to being paid $6 an hour (of which $1 would go to charity and $1 to savings) for work she does around the house. She noted that emptying the dishwasher all the time, cleaning the cat litter daily, collecting and putting out the garbage, and vacuuming would come to about three hours per week. At the net rate of $4 cash per hour, it would be $12 per week or $48 per month, which would cover the $40 monthly fee (talk and text only) + taxes. She also proposed doing extra chores when needed, like snow shovelling in the winter, leaf raking in the fall, and so on. She is also working toward getting lifeguard certification and ice hockey officiating as two additional channels of revenue for extra spending money. She went on to note the punishment (days of losing access to the phone) for failure to have the cash to pay her fee, for exceeding set online time limits, etc., which were probably tougher than we would have imposed. And finally, she emphasised that this opportunity would allow her not only to become more responsible (financially and socially), but also would allow us to be proud of her accomplishments and level of accepted responsibility.
She wanted to get a phone. She wanted to keep the phone. So she convinced us. She now has (as of this summer) her own phone, and so far, has made us proud, demonstrating that she is pretty responsible. When you are motivated (which she was), you can make things happen.
The same goes for us in our professional worlds. Look at what you want to achieve, then build a case for support or a plan to get there. Follow the plan, live by the rules, and enjoy success.
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